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Emmy prediction: Glenn Close is a shoo-in to win again for 'Damages'

September 12, 2009 |  3:44 pm

The Emmy race for best drama actress isn't a contest at all, according to our gurus Chris "Boomer" Beachum and Robert "Rob L" Licuria (AwardsHeaven.net). After viewing the sample episodes submitted to Emmy judges by all nominees, both of our tough pundits say that last year's champ, Glenn Close ("Damages"), will easily triumph again.

Also check out Rob's and Boomer's in-depth critiques of these categories: best comedy series, lead comedy actor, lead comedy actress, supporting comedy actor, supporting comedy actress, guest comedy actor, guest comedy actress, comedy writing, comedy directing, best lead drama actorlead drama actresslead actor in movie/mini and lead actress in a movie/mini. See Boomer, Rob and I battle over  which shows may win best comedy series in our video slugfest here. See a chart of predix by top journalists here. Read more predix in our forums.

Glenn close damages

BEST DRAMA ACTRESS: ROB'S PREDIX
1.  Glenn Close, "Damages" ("Trust Me")
2.  Kyra Sedgwick, "The Closer" ("Cherry Bomb")
3.  Mariska Hargitay, "Law & Order: SVU" ("PTSD")
4.  Elisabeth Moss, "Mad Men" ("Meditations in an Emergency")
5.  Holly Hunter, "Saving Grace" ("Have a Seat Earl")
6.  Sally Field, "Brothers and Sisters" ("A Father Dreams")

ROB'S COMMENTARY: This category was difficult for me to pin down because it seems to be a forgone conclusion that Glenn Close — in one of the best roles on TV, and as one of the most heralded and respected actors in any medium — is the shoo-in to win.

And then I re-watched the finale of "Damages," which was ever so slightly disappointing for me, and that's saying something, seeing as I am a manic fan of the show and its cast. As far as I'm concerned, Rose Byrne is the star of the show in this episode, and Glenn Close, excellent as usual, doesn't blow my socks off like she normally does. However, that might not really mean much, as she is poised to repeat her win from last year unless one of three possible contenders surprises us all.

Firstly, I think it is safe to say that Sally Field and Holly Hunter are probably not in the running. In the episode she submitted to Emmy judges, Sally Field just isn't given very much to do, and it lacks the impact needed to overcome Glenn Close. Holly Hunter, on the other hand, clearly throws herself into this role with such obvious passion, she plays all kinds of crazy and is given plenty to do. It's just that I personally find the show a bit trying to sit through, and not at all appealing enough to warrant an Emmy win. Again, which is saying something, seeing as I think Holly Hunter is such an amazing actor.

Elisabeth Moss is barely in the "Mad Men" season finale. It might have been a better bet to compete as a supporting actress. However, when she is on screen, the quality of the material she is given is so good, and she plays this character so note perfect, that anything is possible. Re-watching the scene where Peggy opens up to Pete is absolute gold. But, again, I don't think it is enough to get her over the line.

Then we have an uncanny similarity — two female cops dealing with similar rape/homicide crimes against young women. Kyra Sedgwick chose by far the best episode of last season for her character, as did Mariska Hargitay. The full range of emotions and impact are on show in both episodes, and as a casual viewer, you can't help but be drawn to each of them as you cheer for them to solve their case and apprehend the offender. In differentiating between the two, I found Sedgwick to have the edge, mainly because of the quality of the writing she is given, and the few slightly more comedic moments where her character hams it up to get information out of a witness. Given that Hargitay is a previous winner and Sedgwick is overdue, perhaps this might also tip the scales in her favor. It must also be said that I am really not a big fan of the "Law & Order" franchise, so for me to be so invested in this episode must say something for the quality on display in that episode too.

At the end of the day, can anyone really win this category over the dynamite of Glenn Close? Probably not.

BEST DRAMA ACTRESS: BOOMER'S PREDIX
1.  Glenn Close, "Damages" ("Trust Me")
2.  Kyra Sedgwick, "The Closer" ("Cherry Bomb")
3.  Elisabeth Moss, "Mad Men" ("Meditations in an Emergency")
4.  Holly Hunter, "Saving Grace" ("Have a Seat Earl")
5.  Mariska Hargitay, "Law & Order: SVU" ("PTSD")
6.  Sally Field, "Brothers and Sisters" ("A Father Dreams")

BOOMER'S COMMENTARY: I thought this category would be tougher to predict this year, but it really isn't. The other ladies can only dream to have a role and series as well-written and complex as "Damages." Glenn Close gives an amazing performance in the season finale, offering rich layers of a woman both in control and fearful of what is going to happen next. Just her facial expressions alone are a joy to behold. 

Kyra Sedgwick has an outside shot at winning, but this episode does not give her the emotional scenes of previous submissions. It winds up being a fairly typical procedural episode that can't possibly hold up to the kind of work Close gets to do.

My single favorite scene of all these submissions is Elisabeth Moss' confession near the end of her episode. It is perfectly played by her and has lots of underlying emotions just under the surface. Emmy voters don't often go for underplayed and calmer performances, though, and her screen time is limited within the episode.

I have never understood the attraction of voting for Holly Hunter (except for the fact that they love to nominate Oscar winners and nominees), but she has her typically frantic, scenery-chewing moments in an immensely bland series.

As for Mariska Hargitay and Sally Field, I think their episode choices are the worst they have made so far.  I would be very surprised if either of them won this time.

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Comments

Thank God we don't have the problem of nominees lacking talent! ALL of these women are in the "great" category, (and I am not a generous reviewer). Come on, Glenn Close? Kyra Sedgwick? Holly Hunter? Good grief, they're great film actresses who now entertain and provoke us on a weekly basis. (Don't tell me that all television sucks. Just most of it). They're the proof that it doesn't.

And that's not to take away from the other women either. But I think Kyra gets it b/c she has the humor in that role and even in that dark episode. Glenn Close also picked a great episode with excellent writing. But finding humor that isn't goofy or out of place, as they succeeded in doing on The Closer, is a true gift. Sedgwick pulls it off perfectly too.

I'm a former criminal defense attorney who dealt with lots of sad ugliness in my 3 years of practicing in that field. But I have to say that job also made me laugh 3 times for every time I cried, which was a frequent occurrence. But I knew criminal defense could be sad & ugly & I expected to cry once in awhile. Laughing often, and hard, was a wonderful surprise. Kyra's character and her writers "get it" the best.

All the women are fine actresses and mostly, the writing is great. So I'm somewhat fine with whatever happens. But I love the show "The Closer" the most and do find the humor in almost every episode to be realistic; as I practiced criminal law years ago. Yes it depressed us all, but I also remember laughing a hell of a lot and I think that dark humor is realistic and Kyra plays it perfectly. For that reason, I'm giving her the edge.

Much as I admire Glenn Close's work on "Damages", I am rooting for Mariska Hargitay to win her 2nd Emmy for "L&VSVU". It's harder to play a good guy then a villain, and to keep her character professional yet honest in facing the monsters speaks volumes for Hargitay's work. What is an ongoing shame is the lack of recognition for the outstanding procedurals "NCIS" and "CSI". Millions of people don't tune in to those shows just to see the case get solved-they invest in the characters and plots and to ignore the William Petersen's and Mark Harmons and most unjustly, David McCallum, is just laughable.

Glenn Close is top notch and Damages is a competently executed series but does not rise to the level of Mad Men. Elisabeth Moss will benefit from the "aura" of Mad Men. She not only gave the superlatve performance of all the nominees, her character has arguably the most prominant arc on a superlative show.

Glenn Close is wonderful as Patty Hewes, I'll be very happy if she wins another Emmy for her marvellous performance.
Who do you think is the frontrunner in the Best Supporting Actor category? Could William Hurt win the Emmy for his role in "Damages" as well? I hope so...


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