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Inside track: Emmy race for best TV movie

July 4, 2009 |  6:22 pm

All pundits presume "Grey Gardens" is a shoo-in to win best TV movie at the Emmys, and it probably is. It reaped rapturous acclaim from TV critics and stars a double Oscar champ (Jessica Lange), plus Drew Barrymore, in a biopic based upon real people (Jackie Kennedy's kooky relatives). Oh, yeah, it helps that it was aired by HBO, the network that's won this category 13 out of the last 15 years. Sixteen years ago, it tied itself with two victories in the one race ("Barbarians at the Gate," "Stalin")!

Grey gardens drew barrymore jessica lange

But watch out for another HBO film, "Into the Storm." The pay channel's previous biopic about Winston Churchill battling Nazis, "A Gathering Storm," won this Emmy battle in 2002, as did lots of other biopics about WWII figures: "Warm Springs" (2005), "Truman" (1996) and "Stalin" (1993). Another WWII drama is keenly in the running too, "Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler," starring Anna Paquin as a Pole rescuing Jews during the Holocaust, but it was telecast by CBS last year, not HBO.

HBO's "Taking Chance" has a good chance of a nomination because it deals with America's current war. Kevin Bacon stars as a real-life Marine who escorts the body of a fallen comrade back to America from Iraq.

The focus of Lifetime's "Prayers for Bobby" — a gay teen shamed into suicide — has special resonance among California voters in the shadow of the state's shame over passage of Proposition 8.

Watch out for two stealth entries here: drama series competing with long-form episodes – Fox TV's "24" (Emmy winner, best drama series 2006) and PBS' "Wallander" (BAFTA winner, best drama series, 2009). 

BEST TV MOVIE
(Front-runners)
"Accidental Friendship"
"The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler"
"Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story"
"Grey Gardens"
"Into the Storm"
"Jesse Stone: Thin Ice"
"My Zinc Bed"
"Prayers for Bobby"
"Taking Chance"
"24 Redemption"
"Wallander: One Step Beyond"

(Possible)
"A Number"
"America"
"Coco Chanel"
"Front of the Class"
"The Librarian: The Curse of the Judas Chalice"
"Living Proof"
"Loving Leah"
"A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa"
"Natalee Holloway"
"Pedro"
"Sybil"

(Long Shots)
"The Christmas Choir"
"Flirting with Forty"
"Little Girl Lost: The Delimar Vera Story"
"Merry Christmas, Drake and Josh"
"The Most Wonderful Time of the Year"
"My Fake Fiance"
"An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving"
"Safe Harbor"
"Sex and Lies in Sin City: The Ted Binion Scandal"
"Special Delivery"
"The Two Mr. Kissels"
"Will You Marry Me"

Photo: HBO

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