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Tom O'Neil has the inside track on Oscars, Emmys, Grammys and all the award shows.

Category: AmyPoehler

Who is Emmy front-runner: Toni Collette, Edie Falco or Tina Fey?

May 17, 2010 |  9:47 am
Toni Collette Edie Falco Tina Fey

Our Emmy gurus Robert "Rob L" Licuria (Awards Heaven) and Chris "Boomer" Beachum strongly disagree when handicapping the race for best comedy actress. Boomer says 2008 winner Tina Fey ("30 Rock") is out front to nab the prize again. Rob bets on Edie Falco ("Nurse Jackie"), who won best drama actress for "The Sopranos" in 1999, 2001 and 2003. Both sages agree that last year's champ, Toni Collette ("United States of Tara"), is a serious threat.

Also see their predictions for these races: best drama series, lead drama actor, best drama actress, best supporting drama actor, best supporting drama actress, best comedy series, best comedy actor, best supporting comedy actor. Nominations will be unveiled on July 8, awards bestowed on Aug. 29.

1. Edie Falco ("Nurse Jackie")
2. Tina Fey ("30 Rock")
3. Toni Collette ("United States of Tara")
4. Lea Michele ("Glee")
5. Mary Louise Parker ("Weeds")
6. Courteney Cox ("Cougar Town")

Alternates: Sarah Silverman ("The Sarah Silverman Program"), Amy Poehler ("Parks and Recreation")

ROB'S COMMENTARY: Again, I am confident we'll see the three Showtime actresses battle it out with Emmy darling Fey, as well as the star of the hottest show on broadcast TV – i.e. "Glee" –  (Michele). Cox is the outside shot, and the best chance for voters to correct a very egregious wrong from years past, when she was continually snubbed for her work on "Friends" while the rest of that cast was recognized at least once.

Outside shots such as Silverman, Poehler and even Kaley Cuoco ("The Big Bang Theory") could easily receive a nod here too.

1. Tina Fey ("30 Rock")
2. Toni Collette ("United States of Tara")
3. Edie Falco ("Nurse Jackie")
4. Lea Michele ("Glee")
5. Julia Louis-Dreyfus ("New Adventures of Old Christine")
6. Amy Poehler ("Parks and Recreation")

Alternates -- Mary-Louise Parker ("Weeds"), Courteney Cox ("Cougar Town")

BOOMER'S COMMENTARY: It is going to be a mighty tough battle between Fey, Collette and Falco for the actual Emmy win, so all three women are safe for nominations. None of the other women on my predictions are safe, though, and I can make cases for and against all of them.

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Inside track: Emmy race for best TV comedy actress

April 25, 2009 | 11:14 am

Here's a snapshot of what we see on the Derby track right now.

* = Top 10 semifinalist in 2008

** = Nominee in 2008

Tina Fey Emmy Award 30 Rock


Christina Applegate, "Samantha Who?" **
Toni Collette, "United States of Tara"
Marcia Cross, "Desperate Housewives" *
America Ferrera, "Ugly Betty" **
Tina Fey, "30 Rock" ** (WINNER IN 2008)
Teri Hatcher, "Desperate Housewives"
Felicity Huffman, "Desperate Housewives" *
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "New Adventures of Old Christine" **
Eva Longoria-Parker, "Desperate Housewives" *
Mary-Louise Parker, "Weeds" **
Amy Poehler, "Parks and Recreation"
Nicollette Sheridan, "Desperate Housewives"
Sarah Silverman, "The Sarah Silverman Program" *

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Are Amy Poehler and Tina Fey secretly channeling Valerie Harper and Mary Tyler Moore?

April 10, 2009 |  3:43 pm

Are you among the viewers who felt, like some TV critics, that the pilot episode of "Parks and Recreation" didn't live up to its promise? Relax. Give these proven geniuses a break. "Parks and Recreation" is by the same wizards who gave us "The Office" (Greg Daniels and Mike Schur) and "Saturday Night Live" (the white-hot Amy Poehler) — who need a little time to tinker with the gears of their Porsche. TV series with this potential payoff don't come around very often. It's worth hanging in there to see where this baby goes — and how fast it takes off. I have a hunch it will.

Let's assume it does and then let's assume Amy Poehler gets nominated for best comedy actress this year at the Emmys. There's a very good chance that could happen considering that the contenders will be chosen by a popular ballot and the number of nominees per category will be expanded this year to six or seven from the usual five.

Amy poehler Tina fey

If Poehler gets nominated, that means Emmy nuts like you and me can look forward to a fascinating clawfest: Poehler, the scrappy rookie, taking on heavyweight champ Tina Fey (lead actress winner, "30 Rock," 2008), who also happens to be her best friend. The two former costars are now appearing in their own TV series, slugging it out for the gold. Remind you of any parallels?

In 1975, Valerie Harper split with her former costar, Mary Tyler Moore, to launch her own spin-off sitcom "Rhoda." At the next Emmys, the onetime best pals squared off in the same kind of dishy bout. Everyone assumed that Moore — the Lucille Ball of her day — would clobber Harper. If anyone could topple the TV queen, it might be Jean Stapleton ("All in the Family"), but not Harper. Harper portrayed Rhoda as a gum-snapping wisecracker. Her character didn't have the emotional depth of Mary Richards, say, or Edith Bunker, right?

But on Emmy night all jaws— including Harper's — dropped when she pulled an Eve Harrington and nabbed the gold prize. At the podium, Harper acknowledged Moore gratefully and gleefully. The L.A. Times noted that she also "felt compelled to thank everyone profusely," including her analyst.

But Moore ended up getting a royal consolation prize at the end of the Emmy ceremony. When the last envelope of the night was opened, it revealed that the winner of best comedy series was "The Mary Tyler Moore Show." The news was trumpeted by Lucille Ball in a scene that is remembered today as one of those goose-bump times in Emmy history. When Moore arrived on stage and took the golden statuette from Ball's hand — looking wonderstruck, taking in the grand context of the scene — we saw comedy's scepter and crown being passed from one generation to another. Hail, hail TV's queens!

One more got hailed last year when "30 Rock" won best comedy series for a second time in a row and Tina Fey was handed the prize by Mary Tyler Moore and Betty White (see video below). Click HERE to KEEP READING!

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Critics fail to find fun in 'Parks and Recreation'

April 9, 2009 | 11:15 am

The new comedy series "Parks and Recreation" premieres tonight on NBC sandwiched between two episodes of "The Office." While such a time slot might seem to make for a sure-fire hit, this new laffer -- created by "Office" execs Greg Daniels and Mike Schur -- is said to pale in comparison with that Emmy winner. Most of the critics cut this new show little slack, bemoaning the mockumentary format and chiding the premise for wasting the talents of "Saturday Night Live" alum Amy Poehler

Amy Poehler Parks and Recreation NBC Emmy Awards Amy Poehler spent seven years on that late-night sketch show. Following a rejigging of Emmy rules, Poehler  was the first cast member to land a nod as a supporting performer in a comedy series. She lost that race last season to Jean Smart of "Samantha Who?" While she performed a variety of roles to perfection on "SNL," on "Parks and Recreation" Poehler plays just one part -- Leslie Knope, an ambitious local politico.

Maureen Ryan of the Chicago Tribune notes that, "Though NBC is trying to make it clear that 'Parks' is not an 'Office' spin-off, Leslie is a lot like Dunder Mifflin's Michael Scott: She's a clueless, would-be do-gooder without much self-awareness. It's unfortunate that Leslie fails to display even a smidgen of the steely intelligence and suppressed ferocity that made Poehler's impression of Hillary Clinton so hilarious. Still, like all politicians, Leslie wants more turf — in her case, literally. But in the pilot episode, the character's combination of neediness and ambition doesn't quite gel. Is the world really ready for a dorkier version of Tracy Flick, the relentless striver from 'Election'?"

David Zurawik
of the Baltimore Sun thought, "The problem with the pilot is in tone. Self-important and silly but optimistic and sweet is a hard mark to hit week after week. If anyone can do it, Poehler would be my candidate. But if she and the producers miss by just a little in the first few weeks, it is going to be hard to find the kind of mass audience needed for success on network TV." And, he adds, "There is also the question of how funny the foibles of government are going to seem to millions of viewers when so many of us realize how desperately dependent we are on government to try and pull us out of the nosedive in which this nation finds itself."

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Gold Derby's official racetrack odds: Who will win the Emmys

September 19, 2008 | 10:50 am

OK, you've seen who all of the experts predict will win the Emmys (CLICK HERE), including me, but you haven't yet seen my careful breakdown of all contenders in each top category. Below: Gold Derby's racetrack odds. Please note: they're issued for entertainment purposes only and should not be used for gambling. Missing are the two reality races, but soon I'll add those odds too. Right now I haven't finished watching all of the episodes each nominee submitted to Emmy judges as samples of their best work.


My evaluations rely heavily on episode submissions. For example, note that I think "Saturday Night Live" is a real threat to "The Daily Show," which has won best variety series five years in a row. Granted, "SNL" hasn't won since 1993 and I still put "Daily Show" out front, but "SNL" submitted the same blockbuster episode that's likely to pay off with a win for Amy Poehler as best supporting actress: Tina Fey's return as host. Jon Stewart's episode is fantastic too — it's 20 minutes of ranting against the White House (of course) followed by a brief, fun chat with Judd Apatow.

But I don't think, like many of my peers, that Tina Fey will win best comedy actress. Three of her opponents submitted episodes that involved some element of split personality and that usually pays off with a victory. (Never again wonder how Lindsay Wagner won best drama actress for "The Bionic Woman" in 1977 — that's when she suddenly discovered her evil twin, remember?) In this year's derby, America Ferrera goes bonkers when sprayed with a poisoned perfume, Christina Applegate goes psycho when she hears the song "We've Got the Beat" on the radio and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, pumped up on testosterone, threatens to kick the "sorry, tanned, bleach-blonde, Botoxed" butts of rival school moms. The reason I give the best odds to Ferrera is because she stars in a one-hour program. The longest shows usually win — as Ferrera proved last year.

To see a full list of all episode submissions, CLICK HERE. Click through the subsequent pages of that forum to read the predix of our posters based upon what they think of those episodes. If you're curious to see what episodes were entered at past Emmy derbies, CLICK HERE. Remember: actors submit one sample episode; ditto for contenders for best variety and reality series. Nominees for best comedy and drama submit six that are paired off into three groupings that are randomly submitted to voters. Actors vote on actors, writers on writers, everybody gets to vote in the program categories. Roughly 250 to 300 voters volunteer to judge submissions in the races for best comedy and drama series. The typical acting category has about 50 to 75 judges.

"Mad Men" - 5/4
"Damages" - 7/5
"Lost" - 8/1
"House" - 9/1
"Dexter" - 10/1
"Boston Legal" - 50/1

"30 Rock" - 1/3
"The Office" - 8/5
"Entourage" - 20/1
"Curb Your Enthusiasm" - 30/1
"Two and a Half Men" - 40/1

Bryan Cranston, "Breaking Bad" - 2/1
James Spader, "Boston Legal" - 11/5
Jon Hamm, "Mad Men" - 13/5
Hugh Laurie, "House" - 8/1
Michael C. Hall, "Dexter" - 8/1
Gabriel Byrne, "In Treatment" - 35/1
(NOTE: I changed this prediction from James Spader to Bryan Cranston on Sept. 19.)

Glenn Close, "Damages" - 2/1
Mariska Hargitay, "Law and Order: S.V.U." - 3/1
Sally Field, "Brothers and Sisters" - 7/2
Holly Hunter, "Saving Grace" - 4/1
Kyra Sedgwick, "The Closer" - 9/2

Alec Baldwin, "30 Rock" - Even
Steve Carell, "The Office" - 5/2
Lee Pace, "Pushing Daisies" - 7/2
Tony Shalhoub, "Monk" - 6/1
Charlie Sheen, "Two and a Half Men" - 50/1

America Ferrera, "Ugly Betty" - 2/1
Christina Applegate, "Samantha Who?" - 7/3
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "New Adventures of Old Christine" - 5/2
Tina Fey, "30 Rock" - 3/1
Mary-Louise Parker, "Weeds" - 50/1

"John Adams" - 1/2
"Cranford" - 7/5
"Tin Man" - 30/1
"The Andromeda Strain" - 40/1

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PODCAST: Amy Poehler says her Emmy battle is 'a dog fight'

August 11, 2008 |  1:47 pm

In our podcast chat, Amy Poehler makes this promise about her race to win the Emmy for best supporting comedy actress: "There's going to be lots of drama!"

The "Saturday Night Live" star admits things could even get physical: "There may be some last-minute injuries. There might be some Nancy Kerrigan, Tonya Harding thing coming your way. You never know . . . . Maybe I'll reject the award on behalf of someone. I'll think of something controversial. It's better to burn out than fade away, right?" CLICK HERE to Download the MP3 File and Hear Our Chat. Note: You may need to hold down your computer's control key while clicking.


Amy Poehler may be tiny (5 feet, 2 inches), angelic-looking and very pregnant (she's due a month after the Emmys), but she's already proved to be a big, tough contender. When Emmy rules changed this year and stars of variety shows were moved over to compete in the categories for comedy acting, only Poehler made it among the cast of "Saturday Night Live."

And she has an excellent chance of winning. Emmy judges evaluate just one sample episode entered by each nominee and Amy Poehler submitted a doozy — the one in which Tina Fey returns as host. While other nominees up for supporting actress in a comedy will have, typically, about 10 minutes of face time, Poehler has a good half-hour of various roles showcasing her diverse talents as an actress.

"I probably rocked about 10 different looks in that episode and probably burned through a lot of wigs," she recalls. "Purely by wig count, I've got a good chance."

Amy Poehler describes that "Saturday Night Live" episode as "a perfect storm" because it included her reunion with Tina Fey and included "lots of characters" (including Hillary Clinton) and "some topical political stuff."

Lucky for Poehler, Emmy odds also look good for her husband Will Arnett, who is nominated in the guest categories as Alec Baldwin's rival corporate titan on "30 Rock."

The Emmys may become a family affair in another way. Since she's pregnant, what if her water breaks that night?

"It's just like 'SNL,'" she says quite cavalierly. "It's going to be very live and I have to say that I'm used to live TV, so it'll keep things nice and dangerous."

She'll certainly be cutting her schedule dangerously close that weekend. She has to appear on "Saturday Night Live" the night before the Emmys. To make sure she gets out to the award ceremony on time and safely, NBC execs have offered her and Will the use of a corporate jet.

"I don't think they'll let this pregnant lady fly commercial!" she says.




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