When the Television Critics Association* announced its latest award winners, it included this note: “Rounding out the network’s big night was an Individual Achievement In Drama Award for Carrie Coon, who made TCA awards history by being recognized for two separate performances. Coon was recognized for her standout roles as the tech-challenged police chief Gloria Burgle on FX’s twisting crime caper FARGO and playing the emotionally resilient Nora Durst on HBO’s spiritually-rich drama series THE LEFTOVERS.”

I bring this up not only because Carrie Coon** is from Copley, or that she’s a terrific actress, which she is. You should pay attention cause the award underscored how all acting awards should be determined – by the body of work in the awards period, not just by a single role.

TCA began giving out awards more than 30 years ago, and added acting honors in 1997; it kept its categories tight but its net wide, giving separate awards for comedy and drama but including all genders in each, and making no distinction between lead and supporting performances. Still, the awards were given for work in a single program, not for two or more, as was the case with Carrie.

I wish more awards took that approach. Here’s my arguing for it in 2012, re the Oscars, Ryan Gosling and others:

Gosling …  had a big triple play in 2011, with “The Ides of March,” “Drive” (due on video Jan. 31) and “Crazy, Stupid, Love,” which is already on video. But as Entertainment Weekly noted last fall, if two roles are in the same category, an actor can be nominated only for one of them. (Actors can, and have been, nominated in both lead and supporting categories in the same year.) …

I offer a two-part suggestion. First, as was the case with the original Academy Awards, let actors be nominated for more than one performance — make it a true best-acting prize, and honor a strong body of work in a year. And, as part of that, get rid of the supporting categories with the understanding that an actor with several marvelous performances, whether lead or supporting, could be eligible for that accumulated work.

Thus (George) Clooney, considered a lock for a lead-actor nomination for “The Descendants,” could also be considered for his supporting role in “The Ides of March.” Brad Pitt would be considered for “Moneyball” and “The Tree of Life” … And, as my colleague Clint O’Connor has observed, Jessica Chastain could come into the Oscar race with four performances: “Tree of Life,” “The Debt,” “The Help” and “Take Shelter.”

Now, the awards givers have their reasons for splitting categories. They want to draw a distinction between lead and supporting work. But, to be cynical, if they have more categories, they have more ways to flatter their colleagues with nominations and awards – and more reasons for them to show up at the awards ceremony, thus encouraging the actors’ fans to watch the awards telecast. (The Golden Globes, with their splitting of movies into comedy and drama categories, are especially excessive in their kissing up to the stars.)

But honoring an actor (or writer, or director) for a year that includes three fine piece of work makes more sense than saying, “Well, that one was pretty good but we don’t really care about the other two.” And nominating the same actor as a supporting player and then a lead player doesn't really solve the problem; why not just say this actor was great across the board?***

Which is why I am glad that my old colleagues in TCA decided to say Carrie deserved her award because she was extraordinary in two roles. And I wish other organizations would take the hint.

*Consumer advisory: I am a former officer in the organization but am no longer a member and don’t vote on the awards.

**Consumer advisory two: In my Beacon Journal years, I interviewed Carrie and moderated a talk with Carrie and her husband, Tracy Letts, at the College of Mount Union in 2015. That was very cool.

***In a perfect world, there would just be one screen award based on work in movies AND television. But the Chamber of Commerce Theory comes into play with that; the movie industry wants to be treated as special, as does the TV industry.