Emmy Awards Announce Addition of “Best Crisis Actor” Category

Photo by WEBN-TV Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Photo by WEBN-TV Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Crisis actors have been fighting for over a decade to get a category for their work added to The Oscars, but it was the Television Academy this week that showed its branch is more open minded when it comes to updating its awards ceremony to reflect the current landscape of entertainment.

The Television Academy announced Friday that the Emmys are expanding to include a “Best Crisis Actor” category. TV Academy chairman and CEO Bruce Rosenbloom tells National Report, “It’s time to acknowledge the incredible work crisis actors are doing. They bring some of the most heart-stopping performances to the screen, sometimes while events are still playing out on live television. It’s time they are recognized and rewarded for their contributions to the industry.”

Crisis actors are professional actors used by government agencies and/or the mainstream media to deceive the public with portrayals of trauma and human suffering. Specifically, they act as victims or witnesses in staged mass shootings or hoax terrorist attacks (i.e. ‘False Flags’).

Crisis actor on set

Crisis actor on set

While many in the industry still believe crisis actors are one dimensional and undeserving of their own award, many are just now starting to appreciate the challenges they face on set.

How can the crisis actor take action in the imagined world that will move the storyline in an unforeseen direction? How can he or she make critical decisions that explore different options without giving up the narrative that is necessary to deliver a compelling experience? Those questions and more will ultimately decide who is nominated for this year’s prestigious new award.

Veteran crisis actor, Xavier Daniels, says while it would be an honor to win the first ever Best Crisis Actor Award, it’s not what motivates him. “I want the people hiring me for a gig, be it the government or just some local gun shop looking to boost sales, to know I won’t let them down. I will never break character like some of these hacks, and they can feel safe knowing I’m in the role.”

Makayla Williams, a newbie to the scene, says most crisis actors never make it past the audition phase. “You have to really dedicate yourself for this kind of performance art,” said Williams. “Sometimes to get into character I will have my boyfriend beat the hell out of me, so when I go live on TV my adrenaline is still pumping. Hopefully it helps give the viewers at home a real sense of authenticity.”

Jimmy Kimmel returns to host the 68th Primetime Emmy Awards airing live on Sunday, September 18th on ABC.

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