'Breaking Bad's' Betsy Brandt Reveals 5 Reasons She Loves the TCA Awards (Guest Column)

AP Images; AMC

Without these kudos voted on by TV Critics, the actress writes, the AMC drama series might never have cooked up a best drama Emmy.

This story first appeared in the July 25 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

In 2008, a year before we earned our first Emmy nom for best drama, Breaking Bad received its first Television Critics Association nomination (for outstanding new program). Our awards-show streak may have ended there were it not for the consistent love foisted on us by critics. Since then, we earned nine more TCA noms and three wins, but those aren't the only reasons why I adore this event (set for July 19 in L.A.).

Comfort rules

Don't get me wrong. I love wearing gorgeous gowns and borrowed bling. But on at least one night a year, I don't fret about what I'm wearing because the TCAs aren't televised. (Bless you for this, TCA.)

It's a rare no-BS industry event

The awards feel like a company picnic you'd actually want to attend. There are only a few execs and publicists present. It's actors, writers, producers and critics communing in an intimate environment, helped of course by plenty of free booze.

Did I mention it's not telecast?

When Tom Hanks delivered his hilarious acceptance speech for The Pacific in 2010, we were treated to a glorious storm of expletives. Also, the hosts -- who in the recent past have included my co-star and dear friend Bryan Cranston -- not only can let loose, they can acknowledge when some of their material isn't working. I distinctly remember one of Bryan's Kardashian jokes falling flat in the room, and no one cared. I mean, he's Bryan Cranston!

No one leaves with bad news

Because only the winners attend the show, there's never any awkwardness in going to the TCAs. We don't have to dig deep and feign indifference when our show isn't called. (We really do care when we don't win, just so you know.)

Yep, critics really do matter

Critics help people find shows to fall in love with. If they hadn't written glowing reviews about Bad, we likely wouldn't have an Emmy for best drama series on our résumés. And for that, TCA, we are eternally grateful.

Actress Betsy Brandt played Marie Schrader on AMC's Breaking Bad and now can be seen on season two of Showtime's Masters of Sex and ABC's forthcoming drama Members Only.