Among all of the "Lost" cliffhangers to be (hopefully) answered in Sunday's finale, one was beyond the control of producers -- would the 150-minute episode qualify for Emmy consideration? On Wednesday, the TV academy announced that the board of governors had approved an exception to the rule restricting entry of extended episodes to just twice the normal length of the show.
Thus, this super-sized episode of "Lost" -- a one-time winner as best drama series (2006) -- can now be submitted in all categories at the Emmy Awards, though whether it will count as two or three of the six episodes submitted for overall production is unknown.
We do know that performers do well with the Emmys when showcased in an extra-long episode. Previous Emmy champs Helen Hunt ("Mad About You"), Michael J. Fox ("Spin City"), Eric McCormack ("Will & Grace") and Jennifer Aniston ("Friends") all won with double-length episodes.
And we know that Terry O'Quinn (winner, supporting actor in a drama, 2007) is returning to the derby this year. His role as the demonic "Man in Black" during this final season of "Lost" has been so prominent that he could certainly opt to jump up to the lead race. However, O'Quinn told our forums moderator Chris "Boomer" Beachum last month that he's staying in the supporting category because "all roles are supporting … whatever one calls them." "Lost" stars Matthew Fox and Evangeline Lilly might disagree with their castaway cast mate, though neither has ever been nominated at the Emmy Awards in the lead races.
Four supporting actors on "Lost" have reaped nominations at the Emmys. O'Quinn won on the second of his two nods in 2007 and then bowed out of the competition. He and Naveen Andrews had lost in 2005 to William Shatner ("Boston Legal"). Michael Emerson lost to O'Quinn in 2007 and Zeljko Ivanek ("Damages") in 2008 before winning last year. Henry Ian Cusick scored a guest nod in the second season -- which he lost to Christian Clemenson ("Boston Legal") -- before joining the show as a regular.
The board of governors approved an exception to paragraph 8 of the judging panels section of the rules: "The length of an episode submitted for individual achievement may exceed, by as much as double, the standard running time of the series episodes. If the episode airs in two parts, both parts may be selected as long as they do not cumulatively exceed twice the standard running time of the series episodes."
The series finale of "Sex and the City" ran afoul of this rule in 2004. It was in two parts and although the first half was the standard 30 minutes, the second was 45 minutes long. As the combined effort ran for 75 minutes, it could not contend at the Emmy Awards as a single episode. However, Sarah Jessica Parker still managed to win her first Emmy, after five consecutive losses, for just the second half of this finale.
Photo: "Lost" cast members (left to right) Daniel Dae Kim, Evangeline Lilly, Jeff Fahey, Yunjin Kim, Emilie de Ravin, Jorge Garcia and Matthew Fox. Credit: ABC