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Emmy predix: William Shatner or Zeljko Ivanek to win supporting actor race?

September 4, 2008 | 12:53 pm

In Emmy's supporting-acting categories, judges view one sample episode of each contender that is edited down to eliminate scenes that do not feature the nominee. Our Emmy guru Chris "Boomer" Beachum has now viewed all submissions in the drama-actor contest and Robert "Rob L" Licuria ( has seen nearly all, so they're ready to do their predix battle.


1. William Shatner, "Boston Legal" ("Mad About You")
2. Michael Emerson, "Lost" ("The Shape of Things to Come")
3. Zeljko Ivanek, "Damages" ("I Hate These People")
4. Ted Danson, "Damages" ("Jesus, Mary and Joe Cocker")
5. John Slattery, "Mad Men" ("Long Weekend")

BOOMER'S COMMENTARY: This is a really, really tight race between William Shatner and Michael Emerson. Both have showcase episodes built around their characters and seize the opportunity with excellent performances. In addition to some nice action scenes, Emerson gets two powerful scenes in his episode (witnessing the murder of his daughter and then a revenge showdown with his nemesis at the end). Shatner is as ham-bone as ever in his episode, but he gets some terrific courtroom scenes that are both comedic and dramatic, plus this is probably his best submission yet in terms of screen time, plot and range.

I am giving the slight edge to Shatner since his episode seems to be a little more accessible to non-viewers of the show and has the viewer pulling for him at the end.

As for the others, Ivanek gave a career-enhancing performance over the course of the season but has zero range in this particular episode with his low-key, depressed character.  Danson was also incredibly villainous over the entire season but was barely even in this episode. Slattery brilliantly plays a real cad, but I just can't believe the voters will choose him after seeing his character ride a young woman like a horse.  His final scene in the hospital is a real winner, though.

1. Zeljko Ivanek, "Damages" ("I Hate These People")
2. Michael Emerson, "Lost" ("The Shape of Things to Come")
3. Ted Danson, "Damages" ("Jesus, Mary and Joe Cocker")
4. William Shatner, "Boston Legal" ("Mad About You")
5. John Slattery, "Mad Men" ("Long Weekend")


ROB'S COMMENTARY: I don't buy that William Shatner is the front-runner in this category. I think that maybe Denny Crane's time in the Emmy spotlight might be over.

This is really a race between Ivanek and Emerson. The safe bet would be Emerson, who is dynamite in his chosen episode submission (remember when it aired — it seemed like the whole world was buzzing about his performance and his Emmy prospects). But I keep going back to Ivanek, who really broke through after years and years of character roles in various TV shows as the sad and complex Ray Fiske character. His scenes with Peter Facinelli and Glenn Close are beautifully rendered, subtle and ultimately heartbreaking. He is a definite shot in this race.