During Oscar season, one of the things that I hate is category fraud. For those of you who are unfamiliar, it is when a studio positions an actor for an awards campaign that doesn't really fit the size of the part. It would be as if they campaigned Daniel Day-Lewis for Best Supporting Actor for Lincoln last year. I was browsing one of my favorite sites when I saw the above For Your Consideration banner for A&E's Bates Motel. Something is a liiiiiittle off...
There are several reasons why category fraud happens. Sometimes an actor has more than one shot to land a nomination so they look the other way during the campaigning. A performance that is of a considerable side might be tossed into a supporting category in an attempt to get the actor two nominations Back in 2008, Kate Winslet was receiving raves for performances in both The Reader and Revolutionary Road.
Winslet was the lead in both films, but relegated to a Best Supporting Actress campaign for her work as a Nazi in The Reader. Her performance in Revolutionary Road might be my favorite from her, though. She received Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe nominations for both films, respectively, and she went on to win both Globes that year. It was Winslet fever, and my temperature was skyrocketing! When the Oscar nominations came out that year, Winslet was nominated for only one -- Best Actress in a Leading Role for The Reader. The film also went on to receive a surprising Best Picture nomination. In that case, the adament campaigning didn't work. People obviously thought her work was better in The Reader, and didn't give in. Revolutionary Road was too much of a downer for them, I suspect.
Sometimes a newcomer gains traction for their performance in a film, but even though they are the protagonist, they are relegated to Supporting Actor/Actress status. Tom Hollander, the lead from last year's The Impossible, gained some buzz for carrying the tsunami drama, but some felt that he wouldn't be able to compete in such a strong category. Thompson on Hollywood's Anne Thompson has sometimes expressed her thoughts that newer talents should be put in the supporting categories.
That brings me to the campaigning for Bates. Freddie Highmore should NOT be positioned for a Supporting Actor Emmy. It's just mindless bitching, I know, but I think this shouldn't be an issue. They want to secure him a nomination for his work as a young Norman Bates, and I can see why. Highmore is fantastic in the A&E drama. Paired with Vera Farmiga, they make such a strong couple (is it weird to call them that...). Highmore might not be able to land a nomination in the drama category, especially up against Emmy heavyweights Jon Hamm, Bryan Cranston, and Michael C. Hall. The Emmys don't really welcome change all that much either. Perhaps Highmore will do better in Supporting Actor, but I just think it's stupid.