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Deggy Awards Honor Overlooked TV Shows And Actors


And the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards are going to be airing this Sunday on Fox. This is a ceremony that is intended to highlight the best in television, right? But NPR TV critic Eric Deggans has seen them get it wrong often enough that he has established his own awards for the performers and shows that the Emmys should honor. He calls his awards the Deggys, and he is here to announce this year's winners. Hi there, Eric.


GREENE: So let's start with the painstaking process through which the Deggys are selected.

DEGGANS: Well, my votes are tabulated by the accounting firm of Ernst & Young. No. I watch a lot of TV...

GREENE: (Laughter) Just like the Oscars and the Emmys.

DEGGANS: Exactly. No. I watch a lot of TV - I mean, a lot of TV. And then I figure out which shows deserve recognition from the Emmy Academy and maybe won't get it because of Hollywood politics or voters not picking the right thing. And then I give them a Deggy.

GREENE: All right. Sounds rigorous enough for me...

DEGGANS: All right.

GREENE: ...So we have a few categories. Can I act as your host?

DEGGANS: Please do. That would be so awesome.

GREENE: All right. The first - who were your nominees for best TV drama?

DEGGANS: So we've got eight nominees that include FX's "Pose," HBO's "Succession" and BBC America's "Killing Eve." But the Deggy goes to...


GREENE: The Deggy goes to "Game Of Thrones." Wait. This is probably a favorite to win the Emmy, too - the Emmy and the Deggy - right?

DEGGANS: Yeah. It's the most nominated show this year with 32 nominations. Now, I know there was a lot of controversy and disappointment among fans over how the show's final season turned out, but to me, it was still the singular achievement. I mean, it brought epic filmmaking that we usually see in blockbuster movies to the TV screen. So I'm going to give it a Deggy to go with the Emmy that they're probably going to win on Sunday.

GREENE: OK. Next category. We're going to look at lead actor in a drama.

DEGGANS: OK. Now, there's six nominees. And the favorites include Bob Odenkirk from "Better Call Saul" and Kit Harington from "Game Of Thrones." But my Deggy goes to...


GREENE: All right. It is Billy Porter from "Pose" on FX. All right. What's your thinking here?

DEGGANS: Well, you know, "Pose" is a show about gay and transgender characters in the '80s and '90s. It features a lot of promising newcomers. But Porter is the anchor of the cast. He's an experienced actor. He plays this character named Pray Tell, who's a flamboyant emcee. And he takes lines that are sometimes written by people who are new to TV writing. He's performing with people who are new to TV acting, and he makes them believable and compelling. He's the MVP for a groundbreaking show, so he's going to get a Deggy from me.

GREENE: All right. And a really competitive category - let's go to best actress in a comedy.

DEGGANS: Yeah. So we've got last year's winner, Rachel Brosnahan from Amazon's "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel." And we've got Natasha Lyonne from Netflix's buzzed-about comedy "Russian Doll." But my Deggy goes to...


GREENE: Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Catherine O'Hara. You're giving two?

DEGGANS: Yeah. It's my award. I can do whatever I want (laughter). So people will - may know that Catherine O'Hara plays this once-wealthy matriarch learning to live modestly in a small town on the pop TV show - I have to spell it out. It's "S-C-H-I-T-T-S Creek" (ph), OK.

GREENE: Love the show.

DEGGANS: (Laughter) I don't want to say a profanity on the radio.

GREENE: Understood.

DEGGANS: But it's a show that critics and fans love. It didn't seem to have much visibility until it got a bunch of Emmy nominations this year.

And Julia Louis-Dreyfus has been amazing. She's playing this dysfunctional politician, Selina Meyer, on HBO's "Veep." She's won this award seven times before. I can't imagine she won't pull it off again. But I wanted to give Catherine O'Hara a little Deggy attention, too.


GREENE: All right. The Emmys are this Sunday. But the Deggys, you heard them here today from our TV critic, Eric Deggans.

Eric, thanks so much.

DEGGANS: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Eric Deggans is NPR's first full-time TV critic.