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Five Oscar fillies (humbly) leap into the Emmy derby: Holly Hunter, Glenn Close, Sally Field, Mary McDonnell and Minnie Driver

July 10, 2008 |  9:01 pm

Goodbye, silver screen. Hello, boob tube. The fact that lots of film stars suddenly think it's smart to develop a TV career is dramatically evidenced in the Emmy race for best drama actress. Half of the top 10 vote-getters Emmy are past Oscar nominees, if not winners.

Leading the pack is five-time Academy Award also-ran Glenn Close, who is devilishly good as a barracuda of a barrister on the new series "Damages." Three years ago, Close was a nominee in this category for her one-season stint on "The Shield." Although she lost that race to Patricia Arquette, Close has one Emmy to show Sally_field_oscar_emmyfor her six nods as lead actress in a miniseries or movie (for 1995's "Serving in Silence"). And now Close, who picked up a Golden Globe in January, is apparently far ahead of Arquette, whose show is flagging even with the addition of Oscar winner Angelica Huston.

While Glenn Close lost all five of her Oscar races, Sally Field won both of her best actress bids ("Norma Rae," 1979, and "Places in the Heart," 1984). Following her start in silly 1960s sitcoms ("Gidget," "The Flying Nun"), Field gained the respect of her TV brethren with an Emmy-winning performance in "Sybil" in 1976. When her movie career stalled in the mid-1990s, Field came back to television, starring in, and exec-producing, the miniseries "A Woman of Independent Means" in 1995.

Although Glenn Close beat her for the Emmy that year, Field would win her second one in 2001 for her guest turn as the bipolar mother of Maura Tierney on "ER." When her first drama series, "The Court," was canceled after only three episodes in 2002, Field felt done with TV and turned her attention to the stage. That is, until the summer of 2006 when the producers of "Brothers & Sisters" came calling, asking her to replace Tony Award winner Betty Buckley as the matriarch of this dysfunctional family. As Nora Walker, Field ruled the roost and feathered her nest with her third Emmy last year, delivering yet another (ahem) memorable acceptance speech, which got bleeped from the U.S. telecast, of course.

Both of those 61-year-old gals clash with 50-year-old Oscar champ Holly Hunter ("The Piano"), who was so kudos-hot in 1993 that she scored an additional bid for supporting actress ("The Firm"). In 2003, she was back in the supporting racetrack for "Thirteen." None of those was her best career performance, though — that was in "Broadcast News" (best actress nomination, 1987), which earned her best-actress laurels from the New York and L.A. film critics in addition to the National Board of Review, all of which rewarded her role in "The Piano" as well. Hunter has scored six Golden Globe noms, including in the TV race last January for "Saving Grace." She won two Emmys in TV movie category: "The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom" (1993) and "Roe vs. Wade" (1989).


Minnie Driver ("The Riches") was nominated in the supporting slot at the Oscars for "Good Will Hunting" in 1997. Having reaped an Emmy nom in this category last year for this same role, it's a good bet that she'll be back.

It's been a long time since Mary McDonnell ("Battlestar Galactica") was in the Oscar derby, but she ran two races there and at the Golden Globes too: best actress ("Passion Fish," 1992) and supporting ("Dances With Wolves," 1990). She was nommed for an Emmy in 2002 for a guest turn on "E.R."

(Photo: AMPAS)

The comments to this entry are closed.


As usual, Tom, your assessments are biased and inane. Your comments about Close losing to Arquette (who deserved that Emmy, btw) are ridiculous and closed-minded. You obviously have an unusual hatred of Arquette, as you make these kind of slams against her every year when her name is tossed into the Emmy ring. Your arrogance in thinking that she doesn't deserve to be there just shows how little you really do know about acting, and your snobbish attitude just proves that it's a good thing you're not an Emmy voter. If that were the case, a lot of truly deserving people (like Arquette and Weber, for instance) would never even be considered for an Emmy. And as the previous commenter stated, Medium is doing very well, thank you very much, even improving its performance over last year in the ratings, and creatively, it's better than it's ever been. Maybe you should try watching some of these shows that you criticize so you'll know what you're talking about.

Hunter was a double Oscar Nominee in 1993 for The Firm and The Piano. She won Best Actress that year, not 1992.

Also, she tied for the LA Film Critics Best Actress Award in 1987 for Broadcast News with Sally Kirkland for Anna.

Medium isn't flagging in the ratings, it has proved a consistent performer for NBC and will be back for a full 5th Season.

Angelica Huston was a guest star for several episodes this past season.

Arquette and Weber are two of the best actors on TV who bring real life into their portrayals of real people.

While the acting isn't overly dramatic or over the top it is too good to be overlooked.



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