Awards season is officially here, and the Star Trek franchise is accumulating quite a few nominations. However, it’s also been notably absent from some nomination lists. Many of the smaller award shows, which often specialize in honoring media that typically get snubbed at larger awards shows, have nominated Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Picard and Star Trek: Lower Decks. The larger award shows have not.
Here are all the awards Star Trek has been nominated for so far, and some details about which award shows snubbed the franchise.
NAACP Image Awards
The NAACP Image Awards honors media that tells the stories of Black people, Indigenous people, and people of color. The awards ceremony focuses on television shows, movies, and literary works that are often snubbed by other awards organizations.
The first NAACP Image Awards ceremony was held in 1967, which happened to be a year after Star Trek: The Original Series (TOS) premiered. In fact, TOS was one of the first shows honored at the inaugural awards ceremony.
This year, two Star Trek series have earned a spot on the 2021 NAACP Image Awards nominations list.
Lower Decks snagged two nominations, one for Oustanding Animated Series, and one for Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance. Dawnn Lewis, who played Captain Carol Freeman on the show, was nominated for her performance.
Picard director Hanelle Culpepper was nominated in the Oustanding Directing in a Drama Series category. She directed the series premiere of the show, “Remembrances.”
Star Trek: Discovery, the most diverse Star Trek show currently on the air, was absent from the nominations list.
Star Trek has earned some nominations from the NAACP Image Awards in the past. Avery Brooks was nominated for Best Actor in a Television Drama in 1996 and 1997, though he didn’t win either time. In 1997, Alfre Woodard was also nominated for the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture award for her role in Star Trek: First Contact. She didn’t win either.
This year’s nominations are the first for a Star Trek series since 1997.
GLAAD Media Awards
The GLAAD Media Awards honor shows that bring the stories of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans* and queer people to the big and small screens. Like the NAACP Image Awards, the GLAAD Media Awards often recognizes media that are overlooked by the big award shows.
This year, Star Trek: Discovery was nominated in the Oustanding Drama Series category. With two gay main characters, two trans* secondary characters, and a lesbian secondary character, it’s not hard to see why the show got the nod this year. Discovery has been nominated for the Oustanding Drama Series award at the GLAAD Media Awards twice before, in 2018 and 2020. So far, it hasn’t taken home any wins.
No other Star Trek shows or movies have been nominated for a GLAAD Media Award.
Snubbed by the Golden Globes Again
On Wednesday, the Golden Globes released their annual list of nominees. None of the Star Trek series that aired last year were included on the list. In fact, none of the Star Trek television shows have ever been nominated for a Golden Globe award.
Star Trek: The Motion Picture was nominated for a technical award in 1980, but did not win. That’s the only Golden Globe nomination the franchise has ever gotten.
Why do the Big Award Shows Snub ‘Star Trek’?
The Golden Globes and the Primetime Emmys are the biggest awards shows that recognize excellence in television shows. The Emmys have been more generous with its nominations for Star Trek than the Golden Globes. However, the nominations have still been few and the wins have been fewer.
Though Star Trek has been around in some form for over 55 years, the franchise has only been nominated for a Primetime Emmy 157 times. Though that may seem like a huge number of nominations, when compared to other shows, it’s not at all. Game of Thrones, which was only on the air for 8 years, has been nominated for 165 awards. Star Trek shows and movies have won only 33 Emmys. For comparison, Games of Thrones has won 59 Emmys.
Though the franchises are different in many ways, Game of Thrones and Star Trek are both genre shows with cult-like followings. Yet, Game of Thrones has received more nominations and wins.
Not only does Star Trek receive fewer nominations and wins than other shows, but it also gets excluded from nominations in the major categories. All of the Emmys Star Trek has won have been for technical work like sound, costumes, makeup, hair, and special effects.
Star Trek shows have been nominated for Outstanding Dramatic Series just three times and have never won the category. Leonard Nimoy was nominated twice for Best Supporting Actor but never won. None of the actresses on Star Trek shows have ever been nominated for an Emmy. None of the Star Trek shows were ever nominated for writing or directing awards. The franchise as a whole has been honored with Governor’s Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions to media.
Discovery actor Doug Jones spoke to Indiewire in 2019 about why he thinks science fiction actors so often get snubbed at awards shows. He theorized that the actors in science fiction movies and shows are often under so many prosthetics and so much makeup that it’s hard for people to remember that there are actors bringing the creatures to life. He pointed out that the makeup artists who create those creatures are often honored, but the actors who bring them to life are not.
Another explanation for why a wildly popular franchise like Star Trek often gets snubbed is that the awards shows aren’t set up for series like these to win. As Vox laid out in a 2014 feature about the Emmys, the nomination process is incredibly difficult. Everything from which category a show gets submitted for to which network it’s on can impact whether or not it gets nominated. Additionally, audience numbers make a huge difference in whether or not that show is likely to get nominated or win.
When shows are submitted in competitive categories, like Outstanding Dramatic Series, which is the category that fits almost all science fiction shows, they’re less likely to get nominated or win. These shows are up against all the other, more traditional dramas on television, which decreases the chances of nabbing a nomination or award. Science fiction shows also tend to have devoted but small audiences. This makes it even harder for these shows to compete against the big network dramas. The network the shows run on matters as well. Many science fiction series run on smaller networks, which impacts their potential audience size. So basically, science fiction shows like Star Trek have the odds stacked against them when it comes to award show nominations and wins.
In recognition of this phenomenon, the Critic’s Choice Awards launched the Critics Choice Super Awards specifically to honor genre shows like Star Trek. At their inaugural ceremony this year, Star Trek took home two awards.