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

Category: Denis Leary

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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Emmy rescue: Denis Leary is overdue (Part 1)

May 11, 2009 |  5:54 pm

It's time for an Emmy intervention. Denis Leary has been nominated three times for "Rescue Me" (once for writing, twice as best drama actor), which just returned for its fifth season, triumphantly according to America's TV critics, at peak Emmy time. All Leary needs, methinks, is some frank Emmy advice and clever campaign thinking. So Denis and I put our noodles together, via webcam, and cooked up some dastardly ideas. Too dastardly? Below, the first part of our chat. To see part two, click here


Inside track: Emmy race for best comedy series

Inside track: Emmy race for best drama series

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Can 'Rescue Me' be rescued at the Emmys?

April 8, 2009 |  8:14 am

"Rescue Me" had excellent Emmy prospects when it debuted in 2004. The FX series about burned-out firefighters got red-hot reviews and earned Emmy nominations for writing and directing. Then in 2006 and 2007, Denis Leary caught fire in the performance races, scoring two consecutive bids for best actor. Last year, however, the only Emmy bids it reaped were for best cinematography and guest actor (Charles Durning). Is its Emmy flame extinguished?

Nope. "Rescue Me" has rallied creatively in its fifth season. "This series is officially on fire now," declares Entertainment Weekly. USA Today says "Rescue Me" is "better than ever." It's even added more laughs! "It is now so lighthearted it occasionally borders on glib," notes the L.A. Times.

Rescue Me Denis Leary-1Denis Leary wasn't nominated for best actor last year, but he made it into the top 10 after a popular vote was conducted of the TV academy's acting branch — just as he had in 2006 and 2007. That tells us that he's still seriously in the running. There's no top 10 run-off this year, but the Emmys are increasing the number of nominees per category to six or seven from the usual five.

FX is shrewd to roll out this new season of "Rescue Me" during the final weeks of the Emmy eligibility period, which ends May 31, so it's fresh in voters' minds. The network tried the same timing — unsuccessfully — with "The Shield" in years past, after its early Emmy glory (Michael Chiklis was the first star of a basic cable series to win a top acting trophy in the TV awards' history), but that series had lost its buzz. "Rescue Me" has regained it.

It's questionable if "Rescue Me" can land a best-series bid using this voting process dependent on a popular vote. The Nielsens of this basic-cable program may not be strong enough. Although it landed in the top 10 three years ago, it failed to make the cut in 2007 and 2008.

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VOTE: Who'll win Emmys as TV's best drama actor and actress?

July 15, 2008 | 12:43 pm

Remember, we don't want to know who you want to win, but who you predict will prevail! Show us what a brilliant kudos forecaster you are! That's a dare!

Drama - actress

Emmy pundits' predix smackdown: Tom vs. Ray

July 15, 2008 | 12:35 pm

Ray Richmond of the Hollywood Reporter and I don't really hate each other, though I'm sure it might look like that when we get into our frequent slugfests over award predix. In fact, I absolutely love beating up on Ray more than any other journalist — really, and that's saying something. Here we go at it over what will be nominated for Emmys this Thursday morning and, to prove what a noble gent I am, I let Ray have the first word (so that I — ha, ha, ha — could have the last . . . well, at least until nominations come out).

RAY: "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "Family Guy," "The Office," "Pushing Daisies," "30 Rock"
TOM: "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "The Office," "Pushing Daisies," "30 Rock," "Two and a Half Men"

RAY: Yes, "Family Guy" makes the cut -- not necessarily because it deserves to, but because the TV Academy loses its marbles every once in a while. And this is that once. The only other question is whether "Pushing Daisies" gets pushed out by its ABC sister "Ugly Betty," but Betty has so dropped from the radar I'm thinking not. "Weeds"? Only if Woody Harrelson takes over the voting process from those bean counters in suits.


TOM: Obviously, Ray, you were partying with Woody when you made these Emmy predix if you really think that "Family Guy" will get in over "2.5 Men." The latter's been nominated every year that the TV academy has had these panels — that is, the last two years. The last (and ONLY) time a cartoon sneaked into this comedy lineup was "The Flintstones" MORE THAN 45 YEARS AGO — back before computers, cable TV and double Pinkberry scoops — when the Emmy counters were using real beans.

RAY & TOM: "Boston Legal," "Damages," "Grey's Anatomy," "House," "Mad Men"

RAY: "Mad Men" and "Damages" are locks. "House" probably is too. I'm thinking "Grey's" gets in over "Lost." "Boston Legal" is in because it is written that David Kelley shall always be in the running in some fashion. "The Wire"? No matter how deserving, it's probably a miracle it made it even this far.

TOM: Uh-oh. Ray and I are in total agreement here. Why does that terrify me so?

RAY: Bryan Cranston ("Breaking Bad"), Michael C. Hall ("Dexter"), Jon Hamm ("Mad Men"), Hugh Laurie ("House"), James Spader ("Boston Legal")
TOM: Michael C. Hall ("Dexter"), Jon Hamm ("Mad Men"), Hugh Laurie ("House"), Denis Leary ("Rescue Me"), James Spader ("Boston Legal")

RAY: Spader's a lock because he talks so slowly and intensely, it seems, but he ain't winning this time. Hamm's the one to beat seemingly. And the AMC momentum with "Mad Men" could — I pray — carry Cranston in. He is SO deserving. But he could get beaten out by Byrne, just because he's Gabriel Byrne. Hall deserves a nom for sure, and Laurie has deserved to win for three years running. He still does. But he won't. But if he doesn't get nominated, I say firebomb the ATAS headquarters and let's just start over.

TOM: Yeah, Hamm, Laurie and Spader are in. Ray (amazingly) is right about those, but he's wrong about Spader not winning again. Come on, Spader's NEVER LOST. He's gone three for three in this race and the reason he won repeatedly in the past was because writer/producer David E. Kelley kept penning him those grandstanding speeches he'd spew to juries at the end of each episode of "Boston Legal" that he submitted to Emmy judges. This year Spader submits his BIGGEST speech doozy ever — in which he chews out the whole U.S. Supreme Court. How can Hollywood lefties NOT vote THAT? READ MORE

As for Ray's deluded hope that Cranston will get in — well, I'd cheer that if it happened, but it won't. Cranston would have to rank in the top seven or so places in the popular vote and I think that's unlikely for a new, lowly rated, cable show about a guy toying with crystal meth and terminal cancer. Denis Leary's been nommed consistently for the past three years, surviving all wacky, radical changes in the voting process. I see no reason why he suddenly gets bumped now.

RAY & TOM: Glenn Close ("Damages"), Minnie Driver ("The Riches"), Sally Field ("Brothers & Sisters"), Holly Hunter ("Saving Grace"), Kyra Sedgwick ("The Closer")

RAY: This is probably the easiest major category to handicap. It's difficult for me to see it being anyone other than Close, Driver, Field, Hunter and Sedgwick, though Arquette or Moss could pull an upset if enough of their relatives are permitted to vote (and Moss surely would deserve it). Field could also be victimized by backlash to last year's dead-on but controversial acceptance speech ("You gagged me, you really gagged me!"). Close will win, however. End of story.

TOM: Ray and I are in agreement again. Shoot me.

RAY: Alec Baldwin ("30 Rock"), Steve Carell ("The Office"), Larry David ("Curb Your Enthusiasm"), Lee Pace ("Pushing Daisies"), Tony Shalhoub ("Monk")
TOM: Alec Baldwin ("30 Rock"), Steve Carell ("The Office"), David Duchovny ("Californication"), Lee Pace ("Pushing Daisies"), Charlie Sheen ("Two and a Half Men")

RAY: Baldwin was jobbed last year in favor of "Extras' Ricky Gervais, and everyone knows it. Probably won't happen again. He and Carell are slam dunks, as is Shalhoub. David only seems to generate greater affection for his misanthropic "Curn" role as the years pile up, so he's likely in too along with the charming Pace (who could be edged out by Emmy darling Garrett, but I don't think so).

TOM: Ray may have blundered upon a smart set of predix here and he may even out-score me because — what the heck — I feel like throwing some Emmy dice. Betting against Shalhoub to return may be foolish. He's been nommed for the last five years, winning three times (2003, 2005, 2006), but his episode entry this year is a bit weak ("Mr. Monk and the Naked Man"), which will bring down his typical judges' score. And I think his popular-vote score will be down, too, because he's old news. Sure, Duchovny's old Emmy news too — he used to be nommed routinely for "The X-Files," so we know that voters love him — and now his comeback in new series "Californication" is sexy.


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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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Emmy slugfest: Jon Hamm, Hugh Laurie and James Spader battle over best drama actor

July 8, 2008 | 10:17 pm

Can poor Hugh Laurie ("House") finally win the Emmy, please? He reaped two Golden Globes (2006, 2007), but both times he was nommed for TV's top prize, he got skunked by James Spader ("Boston Legal"). Well, doesn't everybody? Spader's never lost — he's three for three in this category.

Part of the reason that Spader never loses is because producer/writer David E. Kelley usually gives him one of those great, grandstanding courtroom speeches near the end of the episode. They're hard to beat. This year James Spader may have his greatest ever. He stands before the U.S. Supreme Court justices, roaring, "Who are you people? You've transformed this court from being a governmental branch devoted to civil rights and liberties into protector of discrimination, guardian of government, a slave to monied interests and big business and today, hallelujah, you seek to slay a mentally disabled man!" Noticing that Justice Clarence Thomas isn't paying attention, Spader shouts, "Put down that magazine!"


Now how can Hollywood lefties not vote for that, eh?

Well, it looks like Hugh Laurie might tempt voters with what some "House" fanatics say is his greatest perf yet. In the episode he gave to Emmy judges, "House's Head," he battles temporary amnesia while struggling to recall which fellow passenger he diagnosed with a life-threatening medical problem just prior to a bus crash. The season finale is poignant, hilarious, mysterious, packed with drama and full of flashy acting scenes like when House goes all Rambo.

James Spader's and Hugh Laurie's nearest rival may be Jon Hamm. Everybody's gone crazy over "Mad Men" this year and Emmy voters adore hailing new stars. Hamm submitted a perfect episode to voters too. In "The Wheel," hotsy-totsy advertising exec Don Draper (Hamm) suddenly redeems himself for being a sly alley cat when we see him give a slide show to Kodak. The new, round slide projector is tentatively called "The Wheel, " but he wants the manufacturer to give it a new name that "takes us to a place where we ache to go," he says, tearing up, voice cracking as he shows off old, happy photos of him and his wife. "It's not called 'the wheel.' It's called 'the carousel.' It lets us travel the way a child travels, around and around and back home again — to a place where we know we are loved."

Yikes! There are lots of great perfs in this category this year. You and I have only looked at three so far and haven't even considered the other seven yet. What to think? I asked our forum moderators and special Emmy seers Chris "Boomer" Beachum and Robert "Rob L" Licuria ( — read Hollywood Reporter's profile of Rob HERE).

While making their forecasts, Rob and Boomer track the voting process exactly. First, they predict the Top 10 semifinalists after members of the TV academy's actors' branch were polled in a popular vote. Then they predict how judges will rank the sample episode entries. Then they combine both scores on a 50-50 basis, just like the accountants do, to determine nominees.

For example, Rob gave Hugh a No. 1 on the popular vote and No. 2 on the list of judges' scores. Combining the numbers, total score is three. Remember: Lowest score equals best score.

How Rob ranks the popular vote outcome — 1.) Hugh Laurie 2.) Jon Hamm 3.) James Spader 4.) Denis Leary 5.) Patrick Dempsey 6.) Michael C. Hall 7.) Gabriel Byrne 8.) Bryan Cranston 9.) Eddie Izzard 10.) Kyle Chandler

Here's how Boomer thinks the pop vote went down — 1.) Hugh Laurie 2.) Jon Hamm 3.) Michael C. Hall 4.) James Spader 5.) Patrick Dempsey 6.) Gabriel Byrne 7.) Kyle Chandler 8.) Denis Leary 9.) Bryan Cranston 10.) Eddie Izzard

How Rob thinks the judges ranked episode entries — 1.) James Spader 2.) Hugh Laurie 3.) Bryan Cranston 4.) Michael C. Hall 5.) Gabriel Byrne 6.) Jon Hamm 7.) Kyle Chandler 8.) Eddie Izzard 9.) Denis Leary 10.) Dempsey

Here's how Boomer ranks the judges' views of the episodes — 1.) James Spader 2.) Hugh Laurie 3.) Jon Hamm 4.) Gabriel Byrne 5.) Bryan Cranston 6.) Michael C. Hall 7.) Kyle Chandler 8.) Denis Leary 9.) Eddie Izzard 10.) Patrick Dempsey

(Top five = nominees)
1.) Hugh Laurie, "House" ("House's Head") — 3 points
2.) James Spader, "Boston Legal" ("The Court Supreme") — 3 points
2.) Jon Hamm, "Mad Men" ("The Wheel") — 8 points
4.) Michael C. Hall, "Dexter" ("There's Something About Harry") — 10 points
5.) Bryan Cranston, "Breaking Bad" ("Pilot") — 11 points
6.) Gabriel Byrne, "In Treatment" ("Paul and Gina: Week 4") — 12 points
7.) Denis Leary, "Rescue Me" ("Babyface") — 13 points
8.) Patrick Dempsey, "Grey's Anatomy" ("Freedom") — 15 points
9.) Kyle Chandler, "Friday Night Lights" ("Last Day of Summer") — 17 points
9.) Eddie Izzard, "The Riches" ("Last Temptation of Wayne") — 17 points


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FX Emmy campaign for 'Damages,' 'Rescue Me' and 'The Riches' – literally thinking outside the box

May 16, 2008 |  8:11 am

If TV academy members momentarily forget the promo slogan of FX when they get the network's Emmy DVD mailer this week, they may think it means something else. "There Is No Box" seems quite ironic considering that the mailer, for the first time ever, doesn't come in a box. Just like most other channels, FX is going green, nixing the big bulky packaging that usually encases screeners. The two DVDs are affixed to the inside front cover of 5.5-by-8-inch brochure sent to all 14,000 ATAS members.

Disc One contains the pilot of "Damages," which has been submitted as the sample episode Emmy judges will evaluate if the show and/or Glenn Close make the top 10 runoffs for best drama series and lead actress. (Ted Danson submitted the second episode, "Jesus, Mary and Joe Crocker" in the supporting-actor contest.) It also includes "Rescue Me's" and Denis Leary's sample episode "Babyface" plus "Nip/Tuck's" "Carly Summers." Disc Two contains "The Riches" episode "Slums of Bayou Hills," "Dirt" episode "Welcome to Normal" and two segments of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" ("Mac Is a Serial Killer," "Sweet Dee's Dating a Retarded Person").

Two weeks ago FX sent a separate DVD mailer containing discs of the full first season of "Damages" to the 4,600 members of four academy branches: actors, writers, directors, producers. That's to remind them of the critically hailed show that ran for 13 episodes last year from July to October. In order to get Emmy voters hooked on the serialized thriller back then, FX launched the earliest campaign in Emmy history by sending five episodes to the full academy membership in September. Serialized thrillers have done surprisingly well at the Emmys in recent years, with victories as best drama series by "24," "Lost" and "The Sopranos."






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