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

Category: Big Love

Gold Derby nuggets: IDA nominees announced | Lesley Manville: Lead or supporting? | 'Driving Miss Daisy' debuts on Broadway

October 28, 2010 |  2:38 pm

• Nominees for the International Documentary Assn. Awards were announced Wednesday. Contending for the top prize of best feature documentary are: "Exit Through the Gift Shop," "The Oath," "Steam of Life," "Sweetgrass" and "Waste Land." In making the announcement, IDA executive director Michael Lumpkin said, "This has been another banner year for documentary films, and that is reflected in our list of nominees. Entries to the awards increased by nearly 20% this year, and the quality of the films vying for recognition is unprecedented." The awards will be handed out in a Dec. 3 ceremony at the Directors Guild Theater in Los Angeles, hosted by documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock. IDA

• And Peter Knegt wonders whether the feature documentary "Waiting for Superman" can make it into this year's best picture race. INDIE WIRE

• As S.T. Van Airsdale notes: "All is mostly calm as the second month of Movieline's Oscar Index commences; mostly, that is, unless you're at the top of three of the four acting categories and/or trying to get your embattled African-American ensemble drama through stolid barriers of critical mass. Otherwise, it's just hunches, gossip and word-of-mouth business as usual." MOVIELINE

• Following Tuesday's release of the satirical "Mr. Men" illustrated book comes news of another tome spun from the gold that is "Mad Men." As David Itzkoff reports: "The Grove Press imprint of Grove/Atlantic Inc. said it would release 'Sterling’s Gold: The Wit & Wisdom of an Ad Man,' a memoir the publisher attributes to the 'advertising pioneer and visionary Roger Sterling Jr.'" ARTSBEAT

Lesley ManvilleBrad Brevet conducts a fascinating online round-table debate about whether "Another Year" player Lesley Manville should go lead or supporting. As per Brad: "I've had her listed as a Supporting Actress contender since seeing the film back in May at Cannes only to learn today that's just not the way it is ... at least not right now. Before going any further with my predictions I felt it was finally time to get a clear answer from Sony Classics and find out exactly how they were going to promote Manville's 'Another Year' performance. For the record, I was the only one that had her listed for Best Supporting Actor among Oscar pundits and as it turns out, I was the only one that was wrong. In a phone call this morning with Sony Classics co-president Michael Barker I was told Sony Classics is currently pushing her as a lead actress. The argument is she has the largest amount of screen time in the film and Barker has said he's asked around and lead is the general consensus based on whom he's spoken with. However, it seems as if the door is far from closed." ROPE OF SILICON

Jeff Wells is "vaguely bummed out" about the news that James Cameron is to direct back-to-back sequels to 2009 best picture nominee "Avatar." As he explains" "It's a downer because it's basically a corporate cash-grab move. (Rothman and Gianopulos: 'They'll pay to see this again ... twice! Revenues! Hah-hah-hah!') Because it's a creatively lazy enterprise for Cameron as it'll be no great feat to come up with a prequel and a sequel. Because 'Avatar' was a great four-course meal, and I'm not feeling a need to go there again. Because the ending of Avatar was perfect (i.e., the opening of the transformed Jake Sully's eyes), and I'm thinking 'leave it there.' And because a guy like Cameron committing to a two-movie, four-year rehash project that is primarily about making money (i.e., certainly on 20th Century Fox's end) is a kind of capitulation to the golden-calf mentality." HOLLYWOOD ELSEWHERE

• Nominees Marc Anthony, Aida Cuevas, Jenni Rivera, Gilberto Santa Rosa Aleks Syntek, and Johnny Ventura will perform at the 11th annual Latin Grammy Awards, which are to air on Univision live from Las Vegas on Nov. 11. LATIN GRAMMYS

• The first rialto production of "Driving Miss Daisy" opened this week to strong reviews for stars Vanessa Redgrave and James Earl Jones, prompting David Ng to ask, "How will Tony organizers treat 'Miss Daisy'?" As he explains: "According to recent Tony rules, a production can qualify as a 'revival' if the committee deems the work a 'classic' or part of 'the popular or historical repertoire,' which is to say that it's a subjective call." CULTURE MONSTER

• College students will get another chance to cover the Oscars as the academy and MTVU announced the return of a contest to pick three roving correspondents. Entrants have until Dec. 6 to submit an audition tape with voting on the top-10 being held online from Jan. 10 to Jan. 28. Three finalists will be flown to town to cover lead-up events, with the winner getting a spot on the red carpet. AMPAS

• The upcoming fifth season of "Big Love" will be the last, as per the announcement Thursday by paycaster HBO. The series about polygamy contended for best drama series at the 2009 Emmys and likewise at the Golden Globes for the last three years.

• To qualify in the animated feature film category for the upcoming Oscars, entry forms and supporting materials are due at the academy by 5 p.m. PDT on Nov. 1. The deadline to submit accompanying film prints is Nov. 12. AMPAS

Photo: Lesley Manville in "Another Year." Credit: Focus Features

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Emmy predix: Lily Tomlin will win best guest drama actress for 'Damages'

July 26, 2010 |  8:24 am

Our Emmy experts Chris "Boomer" Beachum and Robert "Rob L" Licuria ( agree that Lily Tomlin will win her first performance Emmy for her guest turn as a mean mama on the drama series "Damages." In 1996, Tomlin contended in this same category for "Homicide: Life on the Street" losing to Amanda Plummer for "The Outer Limits." This versatile talent -- who earned her first Emmy nomination in 1972 for her character roles on "Laugh-In" -- won three writing Emmys in the 1970s as well as one for her special "Lily: Sold Out" in 1981.

Among the other actresses in contention are two Oscar winners -- Sissy Spacek ("Coal Miner's Daughter") for "Big Love" and Shirley Jones ("Elmer Gantry") for "The Cleaner" -- as well as Emmy champ Mary Kay Place for her recurring role on "Big Love." After losing lead actress in a movie or miniseries four times and supporting once, Ann-Margret is looking for her first Emmy win for a turn on "Law & Order: SVU." Rounding out the roster is Elizabeth Mitchell, who picked up her first Emmy nom for reprising her regular role on "Lost."

1. Lily Tomlin, "Damages" ("Your Secrets Are Safe")
2. Sissy Spacek, "Big Love" ("End of Days")
3. Ann-Margret, "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" ("Bedtime")
4. Mary Kay Place, "Big Love" ("The Mighty & the Strong")
5. Shirley Jones, "The Cleaner" ("Does Everybody Have a Drink?")
6. Elizabeth Mitchell, "Lost" ("The End, Parts 1 & 2")

ROB'S COMMENTARY: This category was difficult to judge. Not one of the six episodes I viewed really knocked my socks off. I would love nothing more than to say that Elizabeth Mitchell will win this Emmy. Beloved by fans of the show for a few seasons now, I suspect this nomination is more about honoring her for that rather than for her two or three main scenes in the "Lost" finale. She just isn't given enough to do, and, if we are basing opinions on episodes alone, then she is at a real disadvantage.

Same goes for Shirley Jones, who is given much more to do (a drunk, a worried mother, a cabaret performer), but, frankly, the quality of the writing lets her down. I can't imagine a win for her here. Mary Kay Place has been excellent on "Big Love" over the years, so her inclusion in this category was a welcome surprise for me. She essentially has two great scenes to work with, but I still have the feeling that it will not be enough to get her over the line.

Ann-Margret on the other hand is just way over the top, almost ridiculous in her episode, and yet she is given much more to do (i.e. screen time) and even though her performance may be seen as a little too hammy, this hasn't stopped voters from rewarding "SVU" guest actresses before (hello, Cynthia Nixon). Plus, it's Ann-Margret, and that might just count for something.

The reality is the two front-runners in this category are the two biggest names (not a surprise, as the guest acting categories have always been a celebrity prize). Sissy Spacek has an outstanding opening scene with Bill Paxton and third scene in the Paxton family home. She also gets to say the best line of the category, comparing Bill Henrickson to a piñata: "Every time I give you a whack, more goodies fall out."

Lily Tomlin was absolutely brilliant in her run as the Tobin matriarch in "Damages" and, if she was able to include a few scenes from later episodes, she would be the shoo-in front-runner. That she has chosen the season premiere disadvantages her slightly, as she is given three main scenes in which she plays it cool,  unlike later in the season when everything appears to unravel for her character. That being said, the extended interview scene with Glenn Close and Martin Short is fantastic and memorable, and I think may be enough to get her over the line.

1. Lily Tomlin, "Damages" ("Your Secrets Are Safe")
2. Sissy Spacek, "Big Love" ("End of Days")
3. Mary Kay Place, "Big Love" ("The Mighty & the Strong")
4. Shirley Jones, "The Cleaner" ("Does Everybody Have a Drink?")
5. Ann-Margret, "Law & Order: SVU" ("Bedtime")
6. Elizabeth Mitchell, "Lost" ("The End")

BOOMER'S COMMENTARY: This category appears to be a three-way battle between Lily Tomlin, Sissy Spacek and Mary Kay Place, but nobody knocks it out of the park to take command of the race. I am predicting Tomlin to win based on her past Emmy success and the fact that she plays against type with a dramatic role. She is very good in basically two scenes (one with Glenn Close and one with Campbell Scott) and is actually mesmerizing through her time on screen.

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My fearless, 100% accurate Emmy nominations predictions

July 6, 2010 | 11:35 am
Emmy Awards 12

Here's who I predict will score bids when Emmy Awards nominations are unveiled Thursday morning:

"Breaking Bad"
"Mad Men"
"The Good Wife"

ALTERNATES: "Big Love," "Friday Night Lights," "House M.D.," "Sons of Anarchy," "Treme"

"The Big Bang Theory"
"Curb Your Enthusiasm"
"Family Guy"
"Modern Family"
"30 Rock"

ALTERNATES: "Community," "How I Met Your Mother," "Entourage," "Nurse Jackie," "The Office," "Parks and Recreation," "Weeds"

Simon Baker ("The Mentalist")
Bryan Cranston ("Breaking Bad")
Michael C. Hall ("Dexter")
Jon Hamm ("Mad Men")
Hugh Laurie ("House")
Timothy Olyphant ("Justified")

ALTERNATES: Matt Bomer ("White Collar"), Kyle Chandler ("Friday Night Lights"), Matthew Fox ("Lost"), Peter Krause ("Parenthood"), Denis Leary ("Rescue Me"), Bill Paxton ("Big Love"), Wendell Pierce ("Treme"), Kiefer Sutherland ("24")

Glenn Close ("Damages")
Mariska Hargitay ("Law & Order: SVU")
January Jones ("Mad Men")
Julianna Margulies, "The Good Wife")
Katey Sagal ("Sons of Anarchy")
Kyra Sedgwick ("The Closer")

ALTERNATES: Sally Field ("Brothers and Sisters"), Anna Gunn ("Breaking Bad"), Holly Hunter ("Saving Grace"), Melissa Leo ("Treme"), Anna Paquin ("True Blood")

Steve Carell ("The Office")
Alec Baldwin ("30 Rock")
Larry David ("Curb Your Enthusiasm")
Matthew Morrison ("Glee")
Jim Parsons ("The Big Bang Theory")
Tony Shalhoub ("Monk")

ALTERNATES: David Duchovny ("Californication"), Joel McHale ("Community"), Thomas Jane ("Hung"), Charlie Sheen ("Two and a Half Men")

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Inside track on Emmys: Drama actresses

June 18, 2010 |  1:37 pm
Glenn close damages Julianna Margulies the good wife

Connie Britton, "Friday Night Lights"
Glenn Close, "Damages"
Sally Field, "Brothers & Sisters"
Lauren Graham, "Parenthood"
Anna Gunn, "Breaking Bad"
Mariska Hargitay, "Law & Order: SVU"
Holly Hunter, Saving Grace
January Jones, "Mad Men"
Melissa Leo, "Treme"
Julianna Margulies, "The Good Wife"
Anna Paquin, "True Blood"
Katey Sagal, "Sons of Anarchy"
Kyra Sedgwick, "The Closer"
Jeanne Tripplehorn, "Big Love"

SPOTLIGHT: "The Good Wife" star Julianna Margulies is a good bet to reign. Not only did she win a Golden Globe and a SAG Award earlier this year, but she was an Emmy fave during her heyday as nurse Carol Hathaway on "ER." Margulies was nominated six times (four in lead, twice in supporting), winning the supporting trophy in 1995.

Patricia Arquette, "Medium"
Regina King, "Southland"
Evangeline Lilly, "Lost"
Mary McCormack, "In Plain Sight"
Ellen Pompeo, "Grey's Anatomy"
Jada Pinkett Smith, "Hawthorne"
Kate Walsh, "Private Practice"

(Long shots)
Kim Delaney, "Army Wives"
Emily Deschanel, "Bones"
Marg Helgenberger, "CSI"
Anna Torv, "Fringe"

Khandi Alexander, "Treme"
Christine Baranski, "The Good Wife"
Rose Byrne, "Damages"
Calista Flockhart, "Brothers & Sisters"
Sharon Gless, "Burn Notice"
Rachel Griffiths, "Brothers & Sisters"
Christina Hendricks, "Mad Men"
Elisabeth Moss, "Mad Men"
Sandra Oh, "Grey's Anatomy"
S. Epatha Merkerson, "Law & Order"
Chloe Sevigny, "Big Love"
Chandra Wilson, "Grey's Anatomy"

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Emmy race for best drama series: 'Mad Men,' 'Dexter,' 'Lost' and ... ?

June 15, 2010 |  6:47 am

Sure, "Lost" may have lost its way after winning the Emmy Award for best drama series for its first season in 2005, but many fans believe it ended well. Now, can it reclaim this category? Two-time winner "Mad Men" is undefeated here. "Dexter," "Big Love," "Breaking Bad" and "Damages" are overdue to win, and there are some scrappy rookies, including "Sons of Anarchy," "Treme" and "The Good Wife," rapping at the door.

Mad Men Emmys

Six nominees are projected for this category, but there were seven last year due to statistical closeness between the sixth- and seventh-placed vote-getters.

* = nominee last year

"Big Love" *
"Breaking Bad" *
"Damages" *
"Dexter" *
"The Good Wife"
"House" *
"Lost" *
"Mad Men" *
"Sons of Anarchy"


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Gold Derby nuggets: Megan Mullally exits stage left | Chloe Sevigny: No love for 'Big Love' | Simon Cowell Int'l Emmy honoree

March 25, 2010 |  5:38 pm

Lips Together • Two-time Emmy champ Megan Mullally ("Will & Grace") is the talk of the rialto, but for all the wrong reasons. On Tuesday, she dropped out of the first Broadway staging of the Terrence McNally play "Lips Together, Teeth Apart" midway through rehearsals "because of frustration with the inexperience of a co-star, the comedian Patton Oswalt whom she tried to have replaced, according to four people familiar with her departure." Todd Haimes, artistic director of the producing Roundabout Theater, noted that Mullally was "in breach of her contract" and postponed the production until later in the year. One name that comes to mind as a replacement for Mullally is Julie White, who won the best actress Tony three years ago for her riotous turn in the play "The Little Dog Laughed." NEW YORK TIMES

• While this year's Tony Awards voters won't include the journos who cover theater, next year's will allow some of these scribes back into the fold. The Tonys -- which were unique among the major awards by allowing the fourth estate to take part in the determination of winners -- caused an uproar when it was decided to exclude the first night press list this season. As a compromise, members of the New York Drama Critics' Circle will be extended voting privileges for Broadway's top honor next season.

Julie Taymor -- who won a Tony in 1998 for her staging of "The Lion King" -- will be feted by the New Dramatists on May 18 with a lifetime achievement award. Presenting the prize will be Dame Helen Mirren, who stars in Taymor's upcoming film adaptation of "The Tempest." Next up for the visionary director is the long-delayed legit tuner "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" now set to come to Broadway next season rather than this one.

Chloe SevignyChloe Sevigny sure knows how to talk up the series that won her a Golden Globe in January. Asked about the recently wrapped season of "Big Love," she said, "It was awful this season, as far as I’m concerned. I’m not allowed to say that! [Gasps.] It was very telenovela. I feel like it kind of got away from itself. The whole political campaign seemed to me very far-fetched. I mean, I love the show, I love my character, I love the writing, but I felt like they were really pushing it this last season. And with nine episodes, I think they were just squishing too much in." AV CLUB

• With socko ratings for Monday's second season premieres, Showtime already has renewed both "Nurse Jackie" and "United States of Tara." Expect the stars of these shows -- three-time Emmy winner Edie Falco and defending champ Toni Collette -- to do battle at this year's Emmys.

• The awards calendar continues to get updated. Along with Thursday's announcement from AMPAS that the Oscars will be handed out  Feb. 27, comes news from the Producers Guild that its kudos will be awarded on Saturday, Jan. 22.

• Two-time Tony champ Patti LuPone is set to host the 55th annual edition of the Drama Desk Awards on Sunday, May 23. Nominations for these kudos will be announced May 3.

International EmmySimon Cowell has yet to win an Emmy for "American Idol" but he is to be feted by the International Emmys with the Founders' Award. Cowell will pick up the prize at the 38th annual awardsfest Nov. 22 in Gotham. In making the announcement international academy president Bruce Paisner said, "Simon Cowell is an entrepreneur and performer in equal measure. He has built an international empire and in so doing has changed the face of television around the world." Cowell -- who will be leaving "Idol" this year to produce the upcoming American version of "The X Factor" -- said, "I'm delighted. I've been very lucky to be able to make shows that I love." Last year's recipient was another Brit, Sir David Frost.

• Recent Oscar nominee Carey Mulligan ("An Education") could be playing Eliza Doolittle, another ingenue made over by an older man, in the long-rumored remake of 1964's best picture champ "My Fair Lady." Oscar-winning adapter Emma Thompson ("Sense and Sensibility") -- who is working on the script for director John Madden ("Shakespeare in Love") -- let this news slip Wednesday and adds she would love to see her good pal Hugh Grant in the role of the curmudgeonly Henry Higgins. BBC


Why will the Emmys be telecast in August instead of September?

Robert Culp never cracked Emmy's secret code

Do early awards foretell Emmy luck for 'Glee'?

Tony Awards battle for best musical: 'American Idiot' vs. 'Fela'?

Gold Derby nuggets: Honors for Stephen Sondheim and Matt Damon | Good debut for 'Breaking Bad'

Can Rosie O'Donnell grab her old Emmy crown from Ellen DeGeneres?

Upcoming Emmy diva smackdown: 'Nurse Jackie' vs. 'United States of Tara'

Emmy predix for best drama series: 'Breaking Bad,' 'Damages,' 'Dexter,' 'Mad Men' and ...?

Top Photo: "Lips Together, Teeth Apart" poster. Credit: Roundabout Theater Company

Middle Photo: Chloe Sevigny at the 2010 Golden Globes. Credit: HFPA

Bottom Photo: International Emmy Award. Credit: IATAS

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Emmy predix for best drama series: 'Breaking Bad,' 'Damages,' 'Dexter,' 'Mad Men' and ...?

March 22, 2010 | 10:45 am

Last year, the Emmys expanded the list of nominees for best comedy and drama series to six or seven contenders. Six were planned, but one more could be accommodated if the seventh-ranked contender was extremely close in the vote tally. Thus both categories ended up with seven nominees.

The next batch of nominees won't be unveiled until mid-July, but our fearless experts Robert "Rob L" Licuria ( and Chris "Boomer" Beachum are already sticking out thin, trembling necks. Last week, they forecasted the comedy lineup. Below, they get serious and tackle drama.

Playing conservative, they plan for six nominees in the category. Boomer and Rob agree on four drama series: "Breaking Bad," "Damages," "Dexter" and "Mad Men." Then Boomer opts for "The Good Wife" and "Lost" as his other two predix; Rob chooses "House M.D." and "Big Love." Read their explanations below.

Emmys Big Love Mad Men Breaking Bad Dexter TV news

"Breaking Bad"
"The Good Wife"
"Mad Men"

"Big Love"
"The Mentalist"
"True Blood"
BOOMER'S COMMENTARY: All seven drama series contenders return from last season, but the Emmy category is set up to most likely have only six nominees.  Right off the bat, one of those shows is squeezed out due to math. Two-time winner "Mad Men" should not only be the favorite again, but I don't think any other program has come close to the overall quality of its most recent season (it would be easy right now to say it will deservedly win the category again).

This season of "Dexter" was its most acclaimed yet, so it should be back in this race easily. The final season of "Lost" is as good as expected and should claim a slot in this category. Following those three shows, I can make a case for and against all of the returning nominees from last year. After a slow start but a much better job in recent weeks, I can certainly see "Damages" back in this category. The latest season of "Breaking Bad" hasn't even aired yet, but previews and early buzz indicated it will be as good as ever. It would certainly not be a surprise if "House" continued its run as a perennial nominee in this category, but many have complained about the quality of the current season. The same can be said of "Big Love."

I think the other remaining slot will go to the best new drama with both outstanding reviews and amazing ratings -- "The Good Wife."  Its star, Julianna Margulies, has already won the Golden Globe and SAG Award, so she should be the favorite to win her category.

Two other HBO series ("True Blood" and David Simon's "Treme") could figure prominently in this race, so several of these shows aren't completely safe.

"Big Love"
"Breaking Bad"
"Mad Men"

"The Good Wife"
"True Blood"

ROB'S COMMENTARY: When deciding on which shows are out in front for Emmy's top drama series category this early in the game, I look at past nominees, buzz and ratings, and the choices made by the two primary "Emmy precursors": the Golden Globe Awards and the SAG Awards.

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Emmy experts predict 'Mad Men' will win best drama series again

September 18, 2009 |  9:22 pm

"Mad Men's" top victory last year was historic. Never before in Emmy history had a basic cable show won best series, either drama or comedy. Was it a fluke? Or are TV academy voters still crazy about "Mad Men" now? Our Emmy gurus/ forum moderators Chris "Boomer" Beachum and Robert "Rob L" Licuria ( believe it will prevail easily and explain why below. Also read their expanded, insightful views on 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.

Watch our video smackdowns covering these races: best drama actorlead drama actress and best comedy series.

Mad Men Emmy Awards news predictions

(Ranked by likelihood to win)
1.  "Mad Men"
2.  "Lost"
3.  "Breaking Bad"
4.  "House"
5.  "Damages"
6.  "Dexter"
7.  "Big Love"

BOOMER'S COMMENTARY: This category really doesn't need a ton of discussion. I think "Mad Men" is so far out in front that nothing can possibly catch it.  The show completely dominated the writing category and has a very good shot at winning directing as well.

Personally, I thought "Lost" and "Mad Men" were virtually tied in terms of quality this past season (and degree of difficulty in their complex structures). However, that very hard-to-follow structure of "Lost" makes it almost impossible for non-regular viewers to even know what is happening. Having won this category before, it certainly has a slim chance at a win.

AMC also has a very devoted following for "Breaking Bad," so a win by that show is not out of the question.  I think the lack of a directing or writing nomination might signify less respect within the academy.

Of the other nominees, "House," "Damages" and "Dexter" were all in the running for this prize last year, but I don't believe they are strong contenders for an actual win.  The producers, cast and crew of "Big Love" should be very proud of this slot, because it is their only Emmy nomination this year.

(Ranked by likelihood to win)
1. "Mad Men"
2. "Breaking Bad"
3. "Big Love"
4. "Lost"
5. "Damages"
6. "Dexter"
7. "House"

ROB'S COMMENTARY: "Mad Men" is going to win this category. It seems to be an almost certainty. There really is nothing else like this show on TV, and, with the most Emmy nominations and the near-reverence that critics, fans and industry appear to have for the show, it looks unstoppable.

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Fierce Emmy drama: Which show will win best series?

July 30, 2009 |  8:00 am

"Big Love" — "Prom Queen" and "On Trial"; "Come Ye Saints" and "Fight or Flight"; "Outer Darkness" and "Sacrament"
"Breaking Bad" — "Grilled," "Peekaboo," "Better Call Saul," "4 Days Out," "Phoenix," "ABQ"
"Damages" — "I Lied, Too" and "Burn It, Shred It, I Don't Care"; "Hey! Mr. Pibb" and "London, of Course"; "Look What He Dug Up This Time" and "Trust Me"
"Dexter" — "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" and "Easy as Pie"; "About Last Night" and "Go Your Own Way"; "I Had a Dream" and "Do You Take Dexter Morgan?"
"House M.D." — "Birthmarks" and "Locked In"; "Simple Explanation" and "House Divided"; "Under My Skin" and "Both Sides Now"
"Lost" — "The Incident" (Parts 1 and 2); "The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham" and "LaFleur";  "The Variable" and "Follow the Leader"
"Mad Men" — "Flight" and "Three Sundays," "Six-Month Leave" and "A Night to Remember," "The Jet Set" and "Meditations in an Emergency"

Mad Men Breaking Bad lost

When sizing up the Emmy battle over best drama series, keep this in mind: the winner will be chosen by about 200 voters who pledge to view two sample episodes of each of the seven nominees. Producers of the nominated shows actually submit in six samples for the Emmy race, but they are divided into three pairs of episodes randomly distributed to voters.

Do all voters actually watch all of the episode samples? Probably not, but at least they must vow that they did so by signing affidavits that are returned along with their final ballots. Surprisingly, most voters actually do their Emmy homework, which is how a low-rated, critically acclaimed show such as "Mad Men" won last year, making Emmy history by becoming the first basic-cable program ever to win best series — either drama or comedy.

Granted, "Mad Men" did have the Big Buzz last year and that helped. That buzz has worn off a bit by now, but many TV critics claim "Mad Men" was even better in Season 2 than it was in Season 1, so that means it must be considered the front-runner to repeat.

But with seven contenders in this race, a winner only needs to have a small sliver of passionate support — even as low as 15%. That means all seven nominees have a shot here. "Big Love" is really a long shot, though, considering the show has no other Emmy nominations. Maybe "House M.D." too, considering it's previously lost this category three times, but keep in mind that "Law & Order" lost five times before it finally prevailed here in 1997. However, that was back in the days when winners were chosen by judging panels forced to watch sample episodes in hotel rooms instead of by academy members who say they viewed same at home. Does that matter? Maybe. The new system creates some emotional distance between viewing and voting since academy members can ink their ballots days after doing their viewing duty. That permits factors like buzz to creep in, which never really mattered during the panel days.

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Seven Emmy geniuses predict Thursday's award nominations

July 14, 2008 |  3:24 pm

Somehow I've managed to coax six suckers brilliant kudos seers to join me in predicting the Emmy nominations that will be announced this Thursday morning: Michael Ausiello (, Matt Webb Mitovich (, Marc Berman (MediaWeek), Ray Richmond (Hollywood Reporter) and our two resident Emmy gurus — our forums moderators Robert "Rob L" Licuria ( and Chris "Boomer" Beachum. To see how we fared predicting the Emmy top 10 lists, CLICK HERE! Below: how we size up the races for best drama and comedy series. To see our predix for best lead actor and actress, CLICK HERE!




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Did a photo snafu cause Emmy to snub Calista Flockhart, Ellen Pompeo and Matthew Fox?

July 13, 2008 |  5:12 pm

Were some shocking omissions from the Emmy top 10 lists due to the lack of a photo next to their names on the official eligibility lists (SEE HERE) that voters used as a reminder of contenders when checking off ballots? One of the most notable snubbees tells Gold Derby, "Yes!" and blames the TV academy.

The lists appeared online and did not include pix of these stars who got snubbed: Calista Flockhart ("Brothers & Sisters"), Matthew Fox ("Lost"), Kelsey Grammer ("Back to You"), Ellen Pompeo ("Grey's Anatomy") and Kate Walsh ("Private Practice"). flockhart, Fox and Pompeo made the Top 10 lists last year. Grammer and Walsh weren't eligible in this category.

Many other stars didn't have their photos posted when voting began, but scrambled to provide them and they were added later. The rep of one snubbed star claims the academy's request for a photo was not included on the entry form, but "buried" in supplemental material. The TV academy denies that. Whatever the case, there were lots of photos missing on the ballot and that might have affected the outcome.


On the first day of voting an academy member called me as he looked over the lists, which had lots and lots of missing pix at that early point. He harrumped in a very catty voice, "I don't see a photo of Matthew Fox! He lost my vote! Hey, what's up with Ellen Pompeo? Too lazy to bother, honey? Well, screw you — I'm voting for Jeanne Tripplehorn!" Clearly, that voter was putting on an exaggerated act for comic effect, but there was obvious truth to his tantrum. When looking over those loooooong lists, your eye obviously goes to ones with photos.

Although that didn't hurt some big-name contenders. None of these stars posted pix, but they made the top 10 runoffs: Patrick Dempsey ("Grey's Anatomy"), James Spader ("Boston Legal"), Mariska Hargitay ("Law & Order: SVU"), Charlie Sheen ("Two and a Half Men"), Holly Hunter ("Saving Grace"), and Eva Longoria ("Desperate Housewives").

A rep for one of the snubbed stars cited above insists, "There was no mention of the requirement of a photo on the two-page entry form, although that form does mention the need for contenders to submit a DVD, episode info, payments, etc. — in other words, most other key details. The photo requirement is buried on page 40 of the 69-page rules book."

When I asked the TV academy for a response, a spokesman said: "In the instructions included with the entry form: 'Performer Awards (Unless otherwise specified below, DVDs and Headshots are due at the time of entry. Please refer to the rules and procedures for specific instructions.' When the producers proofs were sent out for final ballot adjustments, entrants without headshots were noted and requests were made for the photos.



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And the Emmy nominees for best supporting drama actor will be: William Shatner, Ted Danson, Blair Underwood, Michael Emerson and . . . ?

July 12, 2008 |  2:12 pm

Below is the breakdown of the Emmy slugfest for best supporting drama actor, according to our forum moderators and special Emmy seers Chris "Boomer" Beachum and Robert "Rob L" Licuria ( — read Hollywood Reporter's profile of Rob).


Remember: Rob and Boomer mirror the actual voting process when making their predix. First, they calculate the order of the top 11 semifinalists as determined by the popular vote by the TV academy's actors' branch. Then they predict how the panel judges scored the sample episode entries. They combine these two results on a 50-50 basis, just like the accountants do, to determine the final ranking of the nominees.

For example, Rob thinks Ted Danson will come in first in the popular vote and fourth in the scores judging sample episode submissions. Add those numbers together: five. That's excellent. Lowest scores rank highest.

How Rob ranks the popular vote outcome — 1.) Ted Danson  2.) William Shatner  3.) Michael Emerson 4.) John Slattery 5.) Blair Underwood 6.) Zeljko Ivanek 7.) Naveen Andrews 8.) Christian Clemenson 9.) T.R. Knight 10.) Jake Weber 11.) Bruce Dern

Here's how Boomer thinks the pop vote went down — 1.) Ted Danson 2.) William Shatner 3.) T.R. Knight 4.) Michael Emerson 5.) John Slattery  6.) Blair Underwood 7.) Naveen Andrews 8.) Zeljko Ivanek 9.) Christian Clemenson 10.) Bruce Dern 11.) Jake Weber

My opinion:  Rob and Boomer both rank Emerson too high. Rob ranks Knight too low.

How Rob thinks the judges ranked episode entries — 1.) Blair Underwood 2.) Michael Emerson 3.) Zeljko Ivanek 4.) Ted Danson 5.) John Slattery 6.) William Shatner 7.) Naveen Andrews 8.) Christian Clemenson 9.) Jake Weber 10.) T.R. Knight 11.) Bruce Dern

Here's how Boomer ranks the judges' views of the episodes — 1.) Michael Emerson 2.) Blair Underwood 3.) Ted Danson 4.) Zeljko Ivanek 5.) John Slattery 6.) Christian Clemenson 7.) Naveen Andrews 8.) William Shatner 9.) Jake Weber 10.) Knight 11.) Bruce Dern

My opinion:  Rob and Boomer rank Shatner's eppy too low.

Please note: We list the episode titles viewed by judges.

(Top 5 = nominees)
1.) Ted Danson, "Damages" ("Jesus, Mary & Joe Cocker") — 5 points
1.) Michael Emerson, "Lost" ("The Shape of Things to Come") — 5 points
3.)  Blair Underwood, "In Treatment" ("Alex: Week 6") — 6 points
4.)  William Shatner, "Boston Legal" ("Mad About You") — 8 points
5.)  John Slattery, "Mad Men" ("Long Weekend") — 9 points
5.)  Zeljko Ivanek, "Damages" ("I Hate These People") — 9 points
7.)  Naveen Andrews, "Lost" ("The Economist") — 14 points
8.)  Christian Clemenson, "Boston Legal" ("Roe vs. Wade, The Musical") — 16 points
=9.) T.R. Knight, "Grey's Anatomy" ("Freedom") — 19 points
=9.) Jake Weber, "Medium" ("Wicked Game, Part 1") — 19 points
11.)  Bruce Dern, "Big Love" ("Good Guys & Bad Guys") — 22 points

(Top 5 = nominees)
1.)  Ted Danson, "Damages" ("Jesus, Mary & Joe Cocker") — 4 points
2.)  Michael Emerson, "Lost" ("The Shape of Things to Come") — 5 points
3.)  Blair Underwood, "In Treatment" ("Alex: Week 6") — 8 points
4.)  William Shatner, "Boston Legal" ("Mad About You") — 10 points
5.)  John Slattery, "Mad Men" ("Long Weekend") — 10 points
6.)  Zeljko Ivanek, "Damages" ("I Hate These People") — 12 points
7.)  T.R. Knight, "Grey's Anatomy" ("Freedom") — 13 points
8.)  Naveen Andrews, "Lost" ("The Economist") — 14 points
9.)  Christian Clemenson, "Boston Legal" ("Roe vs. Wade, The Musical") — 15 points
10.)  Jake Weber, "Medium" ("Wicked Game, Part 1") — 19 points
11.)  Bruce Dern, "Big Love" ("Good Guys & Bad Guys") — 21 points

Rob's commentary: I am usually loath to "predict" 6 nominees (even though many a time we end up with 6 nominees), but by my scoring, I came up with a tie for fifth place, and this category often sees ties, so who knows. Danson will get in on the strength of a strong popular vote. Although his performance in his chosen episode is quite good, it will not have blown the socks off the panel voters, so stronger episode submissions like those of Underwood, Emerson and Ivanek will see them through. Slattery is a probable contender, as is the perennial favorite Shatner. Perhaps only Naveen Andrews might sneak in if the panel voters loved his episode more than I am giving them credit for above.

(Photos: ABC, FX, HBO, AMC)




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