2018 Bobby James Awards | Television

Favorite Television Character
“Sabrina Spellman” | Kiernan Shipka

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With 20% of the vote, you’ve selected Kiernan Shipka’s “Sabrina,” of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, as the most bewitching television character of 2018.


Animated Series
The Dragon Prince

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From the series creators of Avatar: The Last Airbender came The Dragon Prince, an animated series that was as well-written and suspenseful as it was joyful for all ages. We follow protagonists Callum (Jack De Sena), Rayla (Paula Burrows), and Ezran (Sasha Rojen) on a quest to return the last dragon egg.

The series’ mystical appeal is blended with strong feminist themes and equitable representation and endorsements of humanity. Even the villains are appealingly flawed – and then there’s the one animate character that took the internet by storm, Gren (Adrian Petriw). Don’t believe me on that last part? Look it up.


Cinematography
GLOW Adrian Peng Correia

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Netflix’s GLOW is a visual feast. The lighting on “Bash” (Chris Lowell) at the announce table, the artistic shots of in-ring action and captures of Kia Stevens and Betty Gilpin, and the overall tinge of neon is a cohesive wonder. It transports viewers back to the 80s, when the real Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling wish they had cinematography this exquisite.


Score for a Television Series, Limited Series, or Movie
The Haunting of Hill House The Newton Brothers

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The Newton Brothers created a score that captured every moment of The Haunting of Hill House. The movements became recognizable and equally as uneasy as they were tender, becoming a character of the horror/drama in their own right. The score was a defining element in the creation of any, and all immersion the show created.


Costume Design
American Horror Story: Apocalypse Lou Eyrich, Paula Bradley

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Series regular Lou Eyrich joined Paula Bradley to create memorable looks for the renowned Coven, the anti-Christ, and those trapped in the Murder House. American Horror Story notably outfitted Kathy Bates, Sarah Paulson, and Cody Fern this season with some of television’s most memorable looks.


Art Direction
The Americans | Tim Goodmanson

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Goodmanson (and Jeanette Kim for one episode in the final season) oversaw the art that was the final season of FX’s The Americans. The series, which previously seemed dangerous and sexy suddenly felt chilled and thrilling. The darker coldness and muted icy palette foreshadowed the end that was, one of television’s most completely told and fulfilling, albeit tragic moments.


The Daenerys Award | Sarah Paulson

daenerys award - sarah paulson

Sarah Paulson’s roles on television have been expansive and incredibly empowered. Her profile has risen through collaboration with Ryan Murphy. In 2018, Paulson gave a new profile in courage (“Ms. Wilhemina Venable”), while reprising one of her greatest feminist roles (“Cordelia Fox”). More significantly, however, Paulson earned her credits to become a registered member of the Director’s Guild of America (DGA) and assumed the reigns on American Horror Story‘s “Return to Murder House” episode (Seas. 8, Ep. 6).


Promotional Art for a Television Series, Limited Series, or Movie
The Americans

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The Americans has had a knack for creating timeless art that will age alongside the series. It’s sexy and cool, with vivid colors that represent the era of the Cold War. The posters are as stylish as the show, and always manage to generate and match excitement.


Favorite Television Series, Limited Series or Movie
American Horror Story: Apocalypse

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With 25% of the total vote, American Horror Story: Apocalypse was selected as your favorite television series, limited series or movie. In its eighth season, AHS edged out The Americans and This Is Us, which tied for second.


Lead Actor in a Voice Over Role
James Callis as “Alucard”| Castlevania

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In its sophomore season, “Alucard,” son of Dracula, embarks on an emotional arc that ultimately endears a once cautious character. Callis’ vocal provides the depth, and evokes the empathy necessary to catapult “Alucard” to the lead role.


Lead Actress in a Voice-Over Role
Paula Burrows as “Rayla”| The Dragon Prince

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The youngest of the Moonshadow elf assassins, Rayla is an uncertain heroine that comes into her own by the end of the first season of The Dragon Prince. Actress Paula Burrows’ accent endears Rayla to fans, and makes all of her mishaps seem entirely worthwhile and lovable.


Reality Competition
Ellen’s Game of Games

Ellen's Game of Games- Season 1

Ellen’s foray into the game show world was a smash hit. Imagine playing trivia where one wrong answer could sent you plummeting thirty feet into a giant ball pit at a moment’s notice. DeGeneres is hilarious as is, but watching her contestants meet their untimely ends is the best part.


Talk Show
The Daily Show with Trevor Noah

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Trevor Noah is another late night talk show host with a conscience (like Jimmy Kimmel). He’s continuously engaging, his clips trend into viral territory, and his messaging is delivered in such a comedic way, it’s difficult not to watch. The Daily Show with Trevor Noah is a humorous beacon of late night light.


Documentary Series
Crikey! It’s the Irwins

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The family of “The Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin premiered Crikey! It’s the Irwins on Animal Planet. The series follows Terri, Bindi, and Robert Irwin on their quest to fulfill Steve’s mission: To bring people closer to animals. Their adventures are over 1,200 animals at the Australia Zoo – and it’s clear to see why the charismatic Irwins are back.


Supporting Actress in a Television Series
Betty Gilpin as “Debbie ‘Liberty Bell’ Eagan”| GLOW

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Fans of professional wrestling may appreciate the work Betty Gilpin does as “Liberty Bell.” Non-fans will appreciate the character work. She’s the ultimate “face” of the company, in a traditional professional wrestling sense. She’s the proud and true American charmer, who battles with “foreign” adversaries. Gilpin for all her effort balances the flamboyance of being an over-the-top blonde with the nuanced hardships of being a newly single mother and liberated woman in the 1980s.


Supporting Actor in a Television Series
Noah Emmerich as “Stan Beeman” | The Americans

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For six years, Noah Emmerich committed to the role of FBI Agent Stan Beeman in The Americans. Set to the height of the Cold War, The Americans presented Emmerich as a meticulous, yet ultimately flawed agent in a role he consistently delivered for. He’s an integral part of the story involving the Jennings family, and his performance always seemed heartfelt and genuine.


Reality Television Personality
Trevor Noah

Trevor Noah

Trevor Noah wasn’t only one of television’s best comedians, he was a voice of importance with respect to human rights. He always delivered his messages sternly, padding each story with engaging humor. He broke through the usual chatter of broadcast late night hosts and became a frequent face across social media platforms.


Guest Star in a Television/Limited Series
Jessica Lange as “Constance Langdon” | American Horror Story: Apocalypse

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She’s baaaaaaack! Jessica Lange returned to the American Horror Story franchise in one of her most celebrated roles, as “Constance Langdon” of season one’s Murder House. As the season progressed, it became obvious that both in life and death, Constance was a force to be reckoned with; Lange provided the empowering courage to stand tall against even the Antichrist himself.


Supporting Actor in a Voice-Over Role
Adrian Petriw as “Gren” | The Dragon Prince

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“Gren” became the surprise sensation from The Dragon Prince – in large part to three factors: Character design (he’s a lieutenant and sign language interpreter), animation, and voice. Petriw’s minimal, yet effective vocals do what they’re intended to – and that’s to convey senses of loyalty and earnestness to the character.


Supporting Actress in a Voice-Over Role
Alejandra Reynoso as “Sypha Belnades” | Castlevania

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“Sypha” appeared mid-way through season one and assumed a more assertive role. Her accented vocal made her an alluring voice in a world ravaged by betrayal, Catholic oppression, vampires, demons, and death. Reynoso brings an innocence to the role the adds an unexpected layer of vulnerability to a believable capable woman.


Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Television Movie
Kathy Bates as “Ms. Miriam Mead” | American Horror Story: Apocalypse

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Kathy Bates returned for another season of American Horror Story. In Apocalypse, she portrayed “Ms. Miriam Mead,” a devious and cruel follower of Satan and the Antichrist. In the role, Bates rivals some of her most dubious characters, like “Madam Delphine LaLaurie” from Coven and “Annie Wilkes” of Misery. Bates delivers an unnerving, stoic, and in the finale, evil character.


Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Television Movie
James Marsden as “Teddy Flood” | Westworld

support ltd - james marsden

If you’ve seen that moment near the end of Season 2, you know the monologue Marsden gave, and the realization of his character, that earned him this spot. “Teddy Long” has been on a journey, but nothing quite compares to the revelation that he’s not human, or the fallout. Marsden became, I’d dare say, a legitimate western figure who presents masculine sorrow in a classic, borderline contemporary way.


Leading Actress in a Limited Series or Television Movie
Laura Dern as “Jennifer” | The Tale

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The Tale is one woman’s journey to recount her experience with sexual assault as a child. As “Jennifer,” Laura Dern delivered an extraordinary, deeply affecting, and intimate performance. Her transformation, grief, and willingness to confront the past equates to a bold, brave, and unforgettable screen capture.


Leading Actor in a Limited Series or Television Movie
Cody Fern as “Michael Langdon” | American Horror Story: Apocalypse

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The eighth installment of American Horror Story brought back elements of real and campy horror. It delivered shock and thrill, preyed on fear, and provided darkly memorable characters. For his role, Cody Fern as the Antichrist “Michael Langdon,” delivered one of the most memorable AHS villains in the anthology. “Michael” tormented the Coven, asserted his dominance, and possessed the charm and allure to entice viewers. His performance in that respect brought up memories of Interview with the Vampire.


Lead Actor in a Television Series
Matthew Rhys as “Phillip Jennings” | The Americans

lead actor - matthew rhys

“Phillip Jennings” should be a household name after six seasons. Unfortunately, he’s not – but he will be an enduring name to an artistic masterpiece that is The Americans. Matthew Rhys played a convincing and conflicted Russian operative embedded in America. The painful, seasons long arc we witness from Rhys is a masterclass in minimalism and a compassion-evoking pull toward an enemy of the state.


Lead Actress in a Television Series
Keri Russell as “Elizabeth Jennings” | The Americans

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For a third year (2014, 2016, 2018), Keri Russell earns recognition as “Elizabeth Jennings.” She’s a cold-hearted killer that ultimately finds her allegiance to her motherland, Russia, tested. The price she pays is bittersweet, deserved but not less tragic by any means. Russell delivered in a role that challenged her to be a chameleon, and ultimately, the viewer is left wondering what could become of “Elizabeth.”


Directing for Television
Chris Long | The Americans

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Chris Long faced a monumental task – to premiere and finale The Americans. Long needed to strike the right tone and to hook the viewer for the final season – then, in the final two episodes (“Jennings, Elizabeth” and “START”), he needed to deliver the end. Long did just that. He provided a well-received premiere and two of the highest-rated episodes in the series’ history. Better, he struck the perfect tone, and lingered just long enough in every single moment.


Television Series Comedy
GLOW

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A great comedy eventually provides emotional connection. In that space, a comedy may begin to thrive on a deeper, connected level beyond its bits and one-liners. As loud, and as gaudy and neon as Netflix’s GLOW is, its heart grows in season two. There are some deeply personal revelations related to “Bash” (Chris Lowell) and a strengthening of the bond between “Ruth” (Alison Brie) and “Debbie” (Betty Gilpin). The jokes feel more inside, but the fans have grown with the show, and they understand – this is much more than professional wrestling, it’s camaraderie.

Fun-fact: This marks a comedy’s first repeat win of this category since Ugly Betty in 2008, 2009. 


Directing for a Limited Series or Television Movie
Jennifer Fox The Tale

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The Tale is unforgettable. It’s dark, harrowing, and frightening. It’s also a timely feature in the era of “#MeToo.”

As much as the story is about the victimization of “Jennifer” (Laura Dern) and the recollection of the horrors, Fox never presents the feature in that light. She puts an empowering spin on the story, and brilliantly captures one woman’s visceral search for truth. What she also manages to do, however, is create a deep sense of unease and disgust with the depictions of “Bill” (Jason Ritter) and “Mrs. G” (Elizabeth Debicki). What Fox gives you is stomach-churning, but restrained enough to be palatable for necessary viewing – and that’s a fine line to walk.


Limited Series or Television Movie
The Tale

directing - the tale

The Tale is necessary. “Jennifer’s” journey is worthwhile, but the premise, the depiction, the story  – it’s all only necessary once. Once is enough – it’s that unforgettable. Through this feature, we are confronted with the pain of being a survivor of sexual abuse. We are confronted with the harshness of that torment, the shielding of self, and the cost of the discovery. We are also confronted with the power of the truth, and the empowerment of overcoming the horror. Laura Dern is exceptional. Jennifer Fox delivered. The result is breathtaking.


Television Series Drama
The Americans 

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The Americans have ended their run. Showrunners claimed the series was designed specifically for six seasons, and six mesmerizing seasons they delivered. This is one drama that built an arc, crafted a perfect ending, and provided many thrills along the way. Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell are an essential on-screen pair, and the work of their supporting cast was never less than deserving. The final season presented the intrigue and espionage the show was known for. It delivered the brilliant artistic elements, and most importantly it carried emotional gravitas.


The Icon Awards

Bea Arthur (1922-2009) | Bea Arthur was a World War II veteran, Broadway and Television actress, a humanitarian and animal rights activist. She was primarily known for roles as “Maude Findlay” (portrayed for 143 episodes from 1971-1978, All In the Family/Maude), “Dorothy Zbornak” (portrayed for 180 episodes from 1985-1992, Golden Girls), and “Vera Charles” (Mame, 1974). She earned 2 Emmy Awards and 9 Golden Globe nominations, in addition to a Tony Award (1966) and induction into the Television Hall of Fame (2008). Her legacy includes championing women’s rights, and The Bea Arthur Residence (est. 2017), a refuge for at-risk, homeless LGBT youth.

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The Golden Girls (1985-1992) | The Golden Girls, starring Bea Arthur (“Dorothy Zbornak”), Betty White (“Rose Nylund”), Estelle Getty (“Sophia Petrillo”), and the luscious Rue McClanahan (“Blanche Devereaux”) was a symbol of feminism, and a series far ahead of its time.

The Golden Girls confronted attitudes of ageism, menopause, sexual liberty, sexual harassment and assault, homosexuality and same-sex marriage, the HIV/AIDS crisis, drug addiction, humanity, female empowerment, suicide, antisemitism, interracial couples, and so much more.

Through the lens of comedy, Dorothy, Blanche, Rose, and Sophia tested the bonds of friendship and proved to the world that love comes in all forms, and at the end of the day, “Thank you for being a friend.”

icon - the golden girls

Captain Planet and the Planeteers (1990-1996) | Five teenagers from around the globe came together to battle for Earth. By their powers combined (Earth, Fire, Wind, Water, Heart) they summoned “Captain Planet” (David Coburn). Captain Planet was an early inspiration of mine. I was drawn to his defense of nature, and his never-ending, but unyielding battles with truly dark “Eco-Villains” and their representations (greed, scum, smog, uncontrolled technology, scientific experimentation, nuclear power, poaching, waste, environmental destruction).

The series combined vocal talents of Whoopi Goldberg, Jeff Goldblum, Martin Sheen, Ed Asner, Jim Cummings, James Coburn, and Sting.

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