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

Category: Brit Awards

There's a weird Emmy outbreak of category switcheroos

May 21, 2010 |  7:32 am

There's a curious trend in category placement at the Emmys this year. Lots of female stars who were formerly competing in the supporting slot have promoted themselves — wisely or foolishly — to lead. Lots of the moves, let's just say, aren't wise and are probably being made for ego reasons. One star, Tracey Ullman ("State of the Union"), is being forced to switch due to rule changes. Others are making the move freely: Connie Britton ("Friday Night Lights"), Anna Gunn ("Breaking Bad"), Cheryl Hines ("Curb Your Enthusiasm"). Hmmm … why is only Elisabeth Moss ("Mad Men") moving in the opposite direction, humbly dropping from lead to supporting?

NOTE: There's a mistake on the HBO DVD campaign box shipped to Emmy voters. Jane Adams ("Hung") is listed in lead, but she's actually been entered in the supporting category.

I asked our resident Emmy sages Chris "Boomer" Beachum and Robert "Rob L" Licuria (AwardsHeaven) to give us their opinions:

Cheryl Hines Curb Your Enthusiasm-4

BOOMER: One interesting aspect of television is that certain actors and actresses can become more important or less important to the story line from season to season. That is why it is smart to consider switching from lead to supporting (or vice versa) based on the material. An actor or actress also has to be aware of the competition, though. I don't believe in the notion of "category fraud" for the most part. For a person on the borderline between lead and supporting, the final category decision should always be weighted toward the one that gives that person the best chance to be nominated and win.

ROB L: My general view on category switcheroos is that it's a good thing; an actor's role in a series should move organically between lead, supporting and guest as the case may be from season to season. Recent examples include Julianna Margulies ("ER"), Allison Janney ("The West Wing") and Ted Danson ("Damages").

Sometimes actors do this to give other cast members a better shot, but more likely they try to slot themselves in the category that gives them the clearest path to Emmy glory.

That is why many will wonder: What was Cheryl Hines thinking? A probable nominee is now quite unlikely. I'm not so negative on Anna Gunn's and Connie Britton's chances, and Tracey Ullman being allowed to move to lead is a good thing. I applaud Elisabeth Moss. Smart move!

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Gold Derby nuggets: Brits go Lady Gaga | Oscars set set | Prince William presenting at BAFTAs

February 17, 2010 |  5:03 pm

Lady Gaga BritsLady Gaga went three for three at Tuesday's Brit Awards in London, winning international album, female and breakthrough act. Home-grown boy band JLS won best British breakthrough act and best single for "Beat Again." Dizzee Rascal, Florence and the Machine and Lily Allen also picked up prizes. "Two special categories were created to celebrate the 30th Brits ceremony -- the Spice Girls' 1997 performance of their hits 'Wannabe' and 'Who Do You Think You Are' was named the best moment in Brits history, while Oasis' '(What's the Story) Morning Glory' was named best album. Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher accepted the award, with no sign of brother Noel, and threw the statuette straight into the crowd. Robbie Williams received the honorary award for outstanding contribution to music, ending the show with a live medley of his greatest hits including 'Let Me Entertain You,' 'No Regrets' and 'Angels.'" BBC

James Cameron told Christopher John Farley, "the book version of 'Avatar' will follow the film version 'quite closely' in terms of the plot. But the novel will also include 'interior monologues' and provide details about the characters and Pandora. 'There are things you can do in books that you can’t do with films.' Cameron said he first considered writing the book when he was filming the movie. 'I told myself, if it made money, I’d write a book,' the director said. 'Avatar' has grossed more than $666 million domestically." WALL STREET JOURNAL

• Says Steve Pond, "I think the preferential system will definitely hurt 'Avatar,' but I think it’ll help 'Basterds' less than it’ll help 'The Hurt Locker.' 'Basterds' may be less divisive than 'Avatar,' but it’s not the kind of broad, consensus favorite that could challenge the frontrunners. It’s too sprawling, too audacious, too violent and too brazenly, defiantly revisionist to be an everybody’s-top-five kind of movie. Yes, 'Basterds' beat 'Locker' for the SAG ensemble award. But that prize traditionally goes to big casts, not small ones. I don’t see that translating into a decisive edge with the Academy’s actors branch, which gave the two films the exact same number of nominations: one Best Actor nod for 'Locker, one Supporting Actor plaudit for 'Basterds.' As for the other films that could sneak in via the preferential ballot, 'Up in the Air' and 'Up' may well make moves as the count goes into its later rounds, making up for a smaller number of Number One votes with lots of Twos and Threes. But they’re going to start with a significant disadvantage (particularly 'Up'), and I don’t think they’ll be able to make up ground fast enough to become real contenders." THE ODDS

Oscar Set 2010 • Steve Pond also reports, "the academy unveiled its most complicated, high-tech Oscar set ever at a Wednesday morning press conference in the lobby of the Kodak Theater, where the show’s crew now has about 14 days to mount and fine-tune the collection of rotating LED panels, turntables, film projection screens and mirrored curtains before the stars start showing up. 'We have two weeks to get it right, and the best technical people in the world,' said show co-producer Bill Mechanic after the unveiling. 'Two weeks to get all the bugs out. One of the risks of being ambitious is that you could trip. But if we don’t trip, you’re going to get one of the most dynamic shows that you’ve ever seen.' The set was designed by David Rockwell, who did the Oscars for the first time last year, although he and his firm also designed the Kodak Theater itself. Rockwell’s set for 2009’s 81st Oscar show, was, said co-producer Adam Shankman, 'one of the stars of last year’s show.'" THE ODDS

• Predicting the Oscars? There's an app for that, says the academy: "The app’s features give iPhone and iPod touch users access to a nominees list for each of the 24 categories, see trailers for the 10 Best Picture-nominated films, and predict winners in each of the categories. Users’ predictions will be saved to a database that will enable sharing with friends via social networks such as Facebook and Twitter as well as by e-mail and SMS text. 'We want to connect with movie lovers wherever they are,' said Janet Weiss, the Academy’s director of marketing. 'Our Oscar App gives fans a way to participate in all the excitement and buzz right up to and through the show.'" AMPAS

Chris Willman says, "It's considered a given that Jeff Bridges will win best actor for portraying fictional country singer Bad Blake in 'Crazy Heart' and that the same film's primary theme song, "The Weary Kind," is a shoo-in for best song. But the movie's backers aren't taking any chances, so Bridges actually sang for his supper -- or his Oscar -- at an exclusive mini-concert in Los Angeles Monday night attended by a crowd heavy on Academy members. The actor was joined in his performance by T Bone Burnett, who produced the music for 'Crazy Heart' as well as co-writing most of its songs, and alt-country favorite Ryan Bingham, who co-wrote "The Weary Kind" and has a small part in the film as a pickup musician. Also putting in cameo musical appearances at this unusual gig: Robert Duvall, Harry Dean Stanton and a seriously underrated honky-tonk pianist by the name of Elton John." CMT

Prince WilliamPrince William will bestow the BAFTA fellowship -- the equivalent of a honorary Oscar -- on Vanessa Redgrave at this Sunday's awards. There is a certain irony to this as Redgrave -- who accepted a CBE in 1967 -- is said to have turned down the honor of being made a Dame of the British Empire in 1999. William's grandmother Queen Elizabeth II would have been the one to officiate at Redgrave's induction.  DAILY MAIL

Sasha Stone does her usual thorough analysis of the BAFTAs including these observations: "In terms of Actor and Actress, it’s a tough call. But let’s say that Actress could be down to Meryl Streep versus Carey Mulligan. Streep has never won a BAFTA since the date change and has been nominated six times, including one year where she was nominated for both lead and supporting. It would be a shame if the BAFTA didn’t recognize Streep here, but you know how everyone feels about Carey Mulligan. Odds are probably on Mulligan for the win. With a teentsy potential upset with Gabby Sidibe. Actor is probably going to be either Colin Firth or Jeff Bridges. I didn’t get much of a 'Crazy Heart' vibe from the BAFTA, though, gotta say. The truth is, any of them could win it. Bridges holds steady if he is nominated. George Clooney could get a tiny bump, but not likely. The real upset here would be Jeremy Renner winning. That boy is like fire and gasoline when you get him on stage so if he gets one chance to win it might make him some competition for Bridges." AWARDS DAILY

Top photo: Lady Gaga backstage with her three Brits. Credit: Brit Awards

Middle photo: 82nd Annual Academy Awards set. Credit: AMPAS

Bottom photo: Prince William. Credit: The Prince of Wales website

RELATED POSTS

Pundits pipe in: 'Yes, "Inglourious Basterds" can pull off an Oscar upset'; 'No, "Basterds" will not win best picture'

Beware: Here comes an 'Inglourious' upset at the Oscars

Gold Derby nuggets: Oscars: No singing, lots of dancing | Oscars nominee luncheon reports | James Cameron: 'Failure is an option'

Gold Derby nuggets: 'Avatar' & 'Hurt Locker' win with guilds | Barbara Walters ends Oscars specials | Emmy champ David Canary leaving 'AMC'

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