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SciFriday: Making Portal Awards Choices Is Very Hard

The Nominating Committee is now hard at work on this year’s ballot

When I was putting together the idea of having a reader-influenced award for genre shows, movies and actors to make up for the lack of attention from the Emmys, I never thought that I’d still be knee-deep in the Portal Awards more than a dozen years later.

Despite the tens of thousands of votes we receive each year for the Airlock Alpha Portal Awards, I still get asked from time to time why we continue to do it. It’s a lot of work, not just by me, but by our columnist Ed Left as well as a volunteer committee consisting of both staff from our sites and readers like you.

Ed actually works on the nomination list months in advance, and then our committee has just mere weeks to choose their favorites from that, and put together a ballot that will not only excite you into voting once per day for 30 days over the summer, but make you proud of the shows and movies you love.

Not much has changed from when we first did the awards in 1999 and today in 2012. The Emmys still ignore genre programs for the most part, and while we do have some other great awards out there like the Hugo and the Saturns, it’s nice to know that there are many people who enjoy the Portal Awards each year, and like to be a part of it.

However, I have found the hardest work not to be from organizing the event — it’s from putting my ballot together. Every member of the nominating committee has a chance to choose their favorites in all 13 categories, and rank them. We then weight those ballots based on how their list is ranked, and when we put all those lists together, the top five in each category gets placed on the ballot just for you.

This year was no easier for my ballot. Because I count votes from the nominating committee, I usually share my choices ahead of everyone else, and I share them with you as well. We set up our committee to welcome all kinds of genre fans, many who watch different shows and have different movie likes from others, so that we can get a good cross-section of choices on the ballot to represent all our readers.

We know that no one can really watch every show and see every movie out there, and some people’s choices are going to lean more to what they have seen than what they haven’t seen. So for every show I don’t watch, I know there is at least someone on the committee that not only watches it, but loves it.

It’s a system that has worked for us for more than a decade, and we hope it continues to work. And being totally upfront about how we do the nominating process also goes a long way as well.

This year, the committee is choosing nominees from 40 television shows and 51 movies (as well as all the actors and episodes in between) that have aired between June 1, 2011 and May 31, 2012. We are talking about hundreds of actors to choose from, as well as nearly 525 episodes. Yeah, that’s a lot of television.

Before I share with you my personal nominating list, let me make clear that I am just one small member of a full committee. Everyone on that committee is submitting ballots, and while I hope my choices influence them a little bit, the fact is that the final ballot that comes out of the committee is usually quite a bit different from what you see here.

And you can submit your suggestions to the committee! Just look at our categories, think about what you think should be considered by the nominating committee, and then e-mail it to me at I guarantee you I will share your thoughts with the committee, and they will most definitely take your suggestions under consideration.

So if you want to see more “Supernatural,” or more “Haven,” or more really anything, then simply share it with me, and I will make sure that I, in turn, share it with the committee. We have done this almost every single year we’ve done the Portal Awards, and it’s a tradition I am most proud of.

Remember, we will release a final ballot from the whole committee early next month. And then you can start voting once a day for 30 days beginning June 25.

Who will win this year? Who will be disappointed? And will you be happy that you did your part by suggesting nominees and then voting later on? Don’t go through the rest of the year with regret, participate today.

Oh, and one last thing … these are not ranked. These are in alphabetical order, so you won’t know which ones I chose to be my top choices and which ones I didn’t. These are my personal choices, and it will be up to the committee as a whole to choose this year’s nominees — so we’ll have to wait until the full committee is done deliberating.

BEST ACTOR/Television
Peter Dinklage, “Game of Thrones” (HBO)
Colin Ferguson, “Eureka” (Syfy)
Zachary Levi, “Chuck” (NBC)
Eddie McClintock, “Warehouse 13” (Syfy)
Dylan McDermott, “American Horror Story” (FX)
Matt Smith, “Doctor Who” (BBC)

Connie Britton, “American Horror Story” (FX)
Karen Gillan, “Doctor Who” (BBC)
Lena Headey, “Game of Thrones” (HBO)
Joanne Kelly, “Warehouse 13” (Syfy)
Anna Paquin, “True Blood” (HBO)
Anna Silk, “Lost Girl” (Syfy)
Amanda Tapping, “Sanctuary” (Syfy)
Anna Torv, “Fringe” (Fox)

Robert Carlyle, “Once Upon a Time” (ABC)
Colin Cunningham, “Falling Skies” (TNT)
Arthur Darvill, “Doctor Who” (BBC)
Silas Weir Mitchell, “Grimm” (NBC)
John Noble, “Fringe” (Fox)
Bill Pullman, “Torchwood” (Starz)
Saul Rubinek, “Warehouse 13” (Syfy)

Azita Ghanizada, “Alphas” (Syfy)
Ginnifer Goodwin, “Once Upon a Time” (ABC)
Jessica Lange, “American Horror Story” (FX)
Lana Parrilla, “Once Upon a Time” (ABC)
Allison Scagliotti, “Warehouse 13” (Syfy)
Maisie Williams, “Game of Thrones” (HBO)

An Apple Red as Blood, “Once Upon a Time” (ABC)
Brave New World, “Fringe” (Fox)
Emily Lake, “Warehouse 13” (Syfy)
The Ghost of Harrenhal, “Game of Thrones” (HBO)
A Good Man Goes to War, “Doctor Who” (BBC)
Open House, “American Horror Story” (FX)
Piggy, Piggy, “American Horror Story” (FX)

James Corden, “Closing Time,” Doctor Who (BBC)
Alex Kingston, “Let’s Kill Hitler,” Doctor Who (BBC)
Jaime Murray, “Emily Lake,” Warehouse 13 (Syfy)
Leonard Nimoy, “Brave New World,” Fringe (Fox)
Zachary Quinto, “Open House,” American Horror Story (FX)
Eric Stonestreet, “Piggy, Piggy,” American Horror Story (FX)

BEST SERIES/Television
American Horror Story (FX)
Being Human-U.S. (Syfy)
Doctor Who (BBC)
Eureka (Syfy)
Fringe (Fox)
Game of Thrones (HBO)
Once Upon a Time (ABC)
Warehouse 13 (Syfy)

Taissa Farmiga, “American Horror Story” (FX)
Jack Gleeson, “Game of Thrones” (HBO)
Connor Jessup, “Falling Skies” (TNT)
David Mazouz, “Touch” (Fox)
Trevor Jackson, “Eureka” (Syfy)
Amandla Stenberg, “The Hunger Games” (Lionsgate)
Maisie Williams, “Game of Thrones” (HBO)

The Avengers (Disney/Marvel)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 (Warner Bros.)
The Hunger Games (Lionsgate)
Paranormal Activity 3 (Paramount)
Rise of the Planet of the Apes (Twentieth Century Fox)
Super 8 (Paramount)
X-Men: First Class (Twentieth Century Fox/Marvel)

Joel Courtney, “Super 8” (Paramount)
Robert Downey Jr., “The Avengers” (Disney/Marvel)
Rupert Grint, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2” (Warner Bros.)
Woody Harrelson, “The Hunger Games” (Lionsgate)
Daniel Radcliffe, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2” (Warner Bros.)
Mark Ruffalo, “The Avengers” (Disney/Marvel)
Andy Serkis, “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” (Twentieth Century Fox)

January Jones, “X-Men: First Class” (Twentieth Century Fox/Marvel)
Jennifer Lawrence, “The Hunger Games” (Lionsgate)
Jennifer Lawrence, “X-Men: First Class” (Twentieth Century Fox/Marvel)
Chloe Grace Moretz, “Hugo” (Paramount)
Amandla Stenberg, “The Hunger Games” (Lionsgate)
Emma Watson, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2” (Warner Bros.)

Tom Baker
Gene L. Coon
DeForest Kelley
George R.R. Martin
Steven Moffat
William Shatner
Elisabeth Sladen

Dark Shadows
Earth: Final Conflict
Twin Peaks
The X-Files

What do you think? Do you agree? Disagree? Have questions why I chose some episodes (like “Piggy, Piggy” from “American Horror Story”?)

Comment below!

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Could they be a Rut-ro! Shaggy
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