The Envelope Logo

Gold Derby

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

Category: James Spader

Experts predict Tony Award nominations

April 29, 2010 |  9:57 am

There's a lot of drama surrounding the Tony Award nominations, which will be unveiled Tuesday. Take, for example, the battle over best musical. The pundits cited below are split over eight contenders to take those four category slots. "American Idiot" is the favorite to win, but an upset is possible. The biggest drama of all is over best drama — there's no clear front-runner.

We've recruited predix from a team of savvy prognosticators: Melissa Bernardo (Entertainment Weekly), Martin Denton (NYTheatre), Thom Geier (Entertainment Weekly), Andy Humm (Gay City News, Gay USA), Kenneth Jones (Playbill.com), Brian Lipton (Theater Mania), Patrick Pacheco (L.A. Times, NY1), Paul Sheehan (TheEnvelope.com), David Sheward (Back Stage), Matt Windman (amNY) and me.

American Idiot Broadway Tonys Tony Awards nominations news 2

BEST PLAY
"A Behanding in Spokane" — Geier, Humm
"Enron" — Bernardo, Denton, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward
"In the Next Room or the Vibrator Play" — Humm, Windman
"Next Fall" — Bernardo, Denton, Geier, Jones, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman
"Race" — Denton, Jones, O'Neil, Sheward
"Red" — Bernardo, Denton, Geier, Humm, Jones, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman
"Time Stands Still" — Bernardo, Denton, Geier, Humm, Jones, Lipton, Pacheco, Sheehan, Windman

BEST MUSICAL
"The Addams Family" — Jones, Sheward
"American Idiot" — Bernardo, Denton, Geier, Humm, Jones, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman
"Come Fly Away" — Bernardo, Geier, Windman
"Everyday Rapture" — Lipton, Pacheco
"Fela!" — Bernardo, Denton, Geier, Humm, Jones, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman
"Memphis" — Denton, Geier, Jones, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman
"Million Dollar Quartet" — Bernardo, Denton, Humm, Sheehan
"Sondheim on Sondheim" — O'Neil, Humm

BEST REVIVAL OF A PLAY
"A View from the Bridge" — Bernardo, Denton, Geier, Humm, Jones, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman
"Collected Stories" -- Humm
"Fences" — Bernardo, Denton, Geier, Humm, Jones, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman
"Hamlet" — Bernardo, Humm
"Lend Me a Tenor" — Bernardo, Denton, Geier, Jones, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman
"The Royal Family" — Denton, Geier, Jones, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman

BEST REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL
"A Little Night Music" — Bernardo, Denton, Geier, Humm, Jones, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman
"Finian’s Rainbow" — Bernardo, Denton, Geier, Humm, Jones, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman
"La Cage Aux Folles" — Bernardo, Denton, Geier,Humm,  Jones, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman
"Ragtime" — Bernardo, Humm
"Promises, Promises" — Denton, Geier, Jones, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman

BEST ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
John Gallagher Jr., "American Idiot" — Denton, Geier, Humm, Jones, O'Neil, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman
Kelsey Grammer, "La Cage aux Folles" — Denton, Jones
Sean Hayes, "Promises, Promises" — Bernardo, Geier, Lipton, Pacheco, Sheehan, Windman
Douglas Hodge, "La Cage Aux Folles" — Bernardo, Denton, Geier, Humm, Jones, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman
Chad Kimball, "Memphis" — Bernardo, Humm, Jones, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman
Nathan Lane, "The Addams Family" — Bernardo, Denton, Geier, Humm, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheward
Sahr Nguajah, "Fela!" — Bernardo, Denton, Geier, Humm, Jones, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman

BEST ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL
Kate Baldwin, "Finian’s Rainbow" — Denton, Geier, Humm, Jones, Lipton, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman
Kristin Chenoweth, "Promises, Promises" — Bernardo, Humm, O'Neil
Montego Glover, "Memphis" — Bernardo, Denton, Geier, Humm, Jones, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman
Bebe Neuwirth, "The Addams Family" — Geier, Humm, Jones, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheward, Windman
Christine Noll, "Ragtime" -- Bernardo, Denton
Sherie Rene Scott, "Everyday Rapture" — Bernardo, Denton, Geier, Jones, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman
Catherine Zeta-Jones, "A Little Night Music" — Bernardo, Denton, Geier, Humm, Jones, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman

Continue reading »

I'm switching my Emmy prediction to Bryan Cranston!

September 19, 2008 |  6:57 pm

Yes — yikes — this means I am shimmying out onto a thin, shaky predix limb, I know, but little Emmy birdies tell me that we pundits have made a big mistake underestimating Bryan Cranston ("Breaking Bad") in the race for best drama actor.

Up until recently, I was with my Envelope comrades resting on usually sturdy oak for James Spader ("Boston Legal"). After all, Spader has never lost — he's gone three for three at Emmys past, including last year, and now he gives his most dynamic performance yet in the sample episode he submitted to Emmy judges. "The Court Supreme" is Spader's performance supreme, granted — he's never been better or given a longer or more dramatic courtroom speech than he does chewing out the whole U.S. Supreme Court. Read more about his Emmy chances and history, CLICK HERE.

But I have a hunch that Emmy voters are just as sick of seeing him win as we pundits are, especially after his ungrateful, snarky acceptance speech last year when he claimed his latest statuette with a shrug, saying, "I still have no idea who votes for these things. Or how you even secure a ballot. Uh . . . but thank you."

The battle over best drama actor is a truly dramatic smackdown involving formidable heavyweights. Jon Hamm ("Mad Men") and Hugh Laurie ("House, M.D.") have real shots to win, and maybe even Michael C. Hall ("Dexter") too. Perhaps I'm making a big mistake pooh-poohing the prospects of Gabriel Byrne ("In Treatment"). After all, he's an esteemed star of artsy indie films, which appeals to those notorious snobs in the TV academy, and he delivers a pretentious-as-heck talkathon with Dianne Wiest in his episode submission, but it doesn't contain the emotional fireworks we spy elsewhere in this race.

Bryan_cranston_breaking_bad_emmy2

Frame for frame, moment for moment, Cranston delivers the most intense, theatrical performance of all contenders as a science teacher who wigs out and becomes a crystal meth chef upon hearing the news that he's dying of cancer. The episode has a huge "ick" factor. Watching this good father, husband and teacher team up with drug dealers who will sell their poison to innocents is cringe-inducing, especially since he does it sweating, scowling and romping around in his underpants in the desert. But he does it to whip up a quick fortune to leave his family before he croaks, so his motive isn't selfish.

Just look at the YouTube video below. It's the first scene of the pilot episode, which is what he submitted to Emmy judges. He's talking into a video camera, telling his family how much he loves them and why he's doing such terrible things. If that doesn't wow Emmy voters, what will?

Cranston's episode has all three elements that are key to impressing judges: It has wide emotional range, impact (not just one big money scene, but a treasure-packed hour of them) and — most important of all — empathy. That's crucial. Portraying a powerfully empathetic character is how Particia Arquette ("Medium") and Felicity Huffman ("Desperate Housewives") pulled off recent upsets in the lead-actress races. It's impossible not to feel the terror, dread, sadness and doom Cranston's character experiences as he chooses to step into hell before life's end. Read the full episode description HERE.

But Cranston also has a few other pluses. Even though his character allies himself with a thug, he knocks off worse devils in the pilot to "Breaking Bad." The final fight scene is a heart-stopping shockeroo, and it redeems him a bit too. But the other secret ingredient this episode contains is its theme of substance abuse — one that often triggers big award wins in rehab-happy Hollywood. Candice Bergen won many of her five Emmys for episodes dealing with Murphy Brown's alcoholism. Ditto for Dennis Franz ("NYPD Blue"), even Kirstie Alley ("Cheers"). Just last year Helen Mirren claimed another Emmy as best actress in a TV film as a police detective battling the bottle.

Lastly, Cranston, personally speaking, is endearing and beloved across Hollywood. It's easy to see why in this video chat I had with him and his "Breaking Bad" costar Anna Gunn last weekend on the red carpet outside the Creative Arts Emmys. Watch his reaction when I tell him that he's got a real chance to win. Over the past few weeks I've been hearing more and more positive buzz for his Emmy hopes from inside industry sources, so I'm starting to take his chances seriously. And so should you. With six nominees in this category, a contender, theoretically, may need only 17% of the vote to win.

What I say in this video to Gunn and Cranston is hard to hear because I'm holding the camera several feet away from them while they hold the mike close to themselves. At first I ask them for their reaction to the amazing breakthrough that basic-cable TV shows by AMC ("Mad Men," "Breaking Bad") have had at the Emmys this year. Later in the video I ask Bryan to tell us what his reaction was when he heard that he was nominated for best lead drama actor. Then I inform him that some serious Emmy gurus (like Michael Ausiello of Entertainment Weekly) are picking him to win. Then I ask him if he'll attend this Sunday's ceremony with a prepared acceptance speech — just in case he does win.

Hey, I can't let Ausiello be the only guru to claim this longshot among the pundits in our Emmy pool, can I? (See all predix HERE.) So now I'm (nervously) stepping off of the James Spader bandwagon to pick Cranston for the win too. Below are my revised racetrack odds for this category. To see the full list of racetrack odds, CLICK HERE

BEST DRAMA ACTOR
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

(AMC, L.A. Times)


Experts predict the Emmys: 'Mad Men,' '30 Rock' and Glenn Close are heavy faves

September 19, 2008 | 10:54 am

Gold Derby recruited two teams of experts to predict who'll win the Primetime Emmy Awards on Sept. 21 and discovered surprising consensus. Heavy favorites: "Mad Men" for best drama series, last year's champ "30 Rock" to repeat as best comedy, "John Adams" as best miniseries and "Damages" star Glenn Close as best drama actress.

But the two teams differ drastically in a few races and that's probably because of how I organized the teams. Team TV Journos comprises notable writers who cover the TV beat and pay close attention to the Emmys. How_i_met_your_mother_entourage_tv_Team The Envelope is composed largely of award nuts like me who pay special attention to past voting patterns and the sample episodes submitted to Emmy judges by the nominees.

It's interesting to note that one member of Team TV Journos really does too — that's John Kubicek, who once won a Gold Derby amateur prediction Emmy contest when he was known as poster "Tommy Castro" in our forums, but now I am banishing him (sorry, John!) to the journo team since he's a writer for BuddyTV.com. While Tommy Castro still posts in our message boards, the only forum posters I'm including on Team The Envelope are our Emmy-savvy moderators. Call it a perk of leadership.

TEAM TV JOURNOS: Michael Ausiello (Entertainment Weekly), Aaron Barnhart (Kansas City Star), Marc Berman (MediaWeek), Robert Bianco (USA Today), Hal Boedeker (Orlando Sentinel), Melissa Grego (Broadcasting and Cable), Richard Huff (New York Daily News), John Kubicek (BuddyTV), Lisa de Moraes (Washington Post), Kristin Dos Santos (E! OnlineCLICK HERE for expanded Emmy predix), Maggie Furlong (AOL Television), Michele Greppi (TV Week), Matt Mitovich (TVGuide.com), Ray Richmond (Hollywood Reporter), Matt Roush (TV Guide), Maureen Ryan (Chicago Tribune), Michael Starr (New York Post), David Zurawik (Baltimore Sun).

TEAM THE ENVELOPE: Chris "Boomer" Beachum (Gold Derby forums), Elena Howe (The Envelope), Joseph A. Kapsch (Latimes Entertainment), Robert Licuria (AwardsHeaven.net, Gold Derby forums), Tom O'Neil (Gold Derby, TheEnvelope), Andrew Pickett (Gold Derby forums)

BEST DRAMA SERIES
"Boston Legal"
"Damages" — Beachum
"Dexter" — Huff
"House"
"Lost" — Barnhart, Dos Santos, Greppi
"Mad Men" — Ausiello, Berman, Bianco, Boedeker, de Moraes, Grego, Furlong, Kubicek, Mitovich, Richmond, Roush, Ryan, Starr, ZurawikHowe, Kapsch, Licuria, O'Neil, Pickett

BEST COMEDY SERIES
"Curb Your Enthusiasm" — Boedeker, Pickett
"Entourage"
"The Office"
"30 Rock" — Ausiello, Barnhart, Berman, Bianco, de Moraes, Dos Santos, Grego, Furlong, Huff, Kubicek, Mitovich, Richmond, Roush, Ryan, Starr, Zurawik, Beachum, Howe, Kapsch, Licuria, O'Neil
"Two and a Half Men" — Greppi

BEST ACTOR, DRAMA SERIES
Gabriel Byrne, "In Treatment" — Huff
Bryan Cranston, "Breaking Bad" — Ausiello, O'Neil
Michael C. Hall, "Dexter" — Dos Santos, Mitovich, Howe, Kapsch
Jon Hamm, "Mad Men" — Berman, Furlong, Roush, Starr, Zurawik
Hugh Laurie, "House" — Barnhart, Bianco, Boedeker, Grego, Greppi, Richmond, Ryan
James Spader, "Boston Legal" —de Moraes, Kubicek, Beachum, Licuria, Pickett
(NOTE: Tom O'Neil switched his vote from Spader to Cranson on Sept. 19.)

BEST ACTRESS, DRAMA SERIES
Glenn Close, "Damages" — Ausiello, Barnhart, Berman, Bianco, Boedeker, de Moraes, Furlong, Grego, Greppi, Mitovich, Richmond, Roush, Beachum, Howe, Kapsch, Licuria, O'Neil, Pickett
Sally Field, "Brothers and Sisters" — Dos Santos,
Mariska Hargitay, "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit"
Holly Hunter, "Saving Grace"
Kyra Sedgwick, "The Closer" — Huff, Kubicek, Ryan, Starr, Zurawik

BEST ACTOR, COMEDY SERIES
Alec Baldwin, "30 Rock" — Ausiello, Berman, Bianco, Boedeker, de Moraes, Dos Santos, Greppi, Huff, Kubicek, Mitovich, Richmond, Roush, Starr, Zurawik, Howe, Kapsch, Licuria, O'Neil, Pickett
Steve Carell, "The Office" — Barnhart, Grego, Ryan, Beachum
Lee Pace, "Pushing Daisies" — Furlong
Tony Shalhoub, "Monk"
Charlie Sheen, "Two and a Half Men"

BEST ACTRESS, COMEDY SERIES
Christina Applegate, "Samantha Who?" — Ausiello, Bianco, Grego, Kubicek, Mitovich, Richmond, Kapsch, Pickett
America Ferrera, "Ugly Betty" — de Moraes, O'Neil
Tina Fey, "30 Rock" — Berman, Furlong, Greppi, Huff, Ryan, Roush, Starr, Zurawik, Howe, Licuria
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "The New Adventures of Old Christine" — Boedeker, Beachum
Mary-Louise Parker, "Weeds" — Barnhart, Dos Santos

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR, DRAMA SERIES
Ted Danson, "Damages" — Ausiello, Berman, Bianco, Boedeker, de Moraes, Furlong, Greppi, Richmond, Roush, Ryan
Michael Emerson, "Lost" — Dos Santos, Kubicek, Howe
Zeljko Ivanek, "Damages" — Mitovich, Licuria
William Shatner, "Boston Legal" — Barnhart, Grego, Starr, Beachum, Kapsch, O'Neil, Pickett
John Slattery, "Mad Men" — Huff, Zurawik

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS, DRAMA SERIES
Candice Bergen, "Boston Legal" — Richmond, Licuria, Pickett
Rachel Griffiths, "Brothers and Sisters"
Sandra Oh, "Grey's Anatomy" — Furlong, Kubicek, Starr
Dianne Wiest, "In Treatment" — Berman, Greppi, Huff, Ryan, Zurawik, Howe
Chandra Wilson, "Grey's Anatomy" — Ausiello, Barnhart, Bianco, Boedeker, de Moraes, Dos Santos, Grego, Mitovich, Roush, Beachum, Kapsch, O'Neil

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR, COMEDY SERIES
Jon Cryer, "Two and a Half Men" — Greppi
Kevin Dillon, "Entourage" — Huff
Neil Patrick Harris, "How I Met Your Mother" — Bianco, Dos Santos, Furlong, Kubicek, Roush, Ryan, Starr, Howe
Jeremy Piven, "Entourage" — Ausiello, Barnhart, Boedeker, de Moraes, Grego, ZurawikBeachum, Kapsch, Licuria, O'Neil, Pickett
Rainn Wilson, "The Office" — Berman, Mitovich, Richmond

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS, COMEDY SERIES
Kristin Chenoweth, "Pushing Daisies" — Bianco, Dos Santos, Furlong, Kubicek, Starr
Amy Poehler, "Saturday Night Live" — Ausiello, Barnhart, de Moraes, Huff, Richmond, Roush, Ryan, Zurawik, Beachum, Howe, Licuria, O'Neil, Pickett
Jean Smart, "Samantha Who? — Grego, Mitovich
Holland Taylor, "Two and a Half Men" — Greppi
Vanessa Williams, "Ugly Betty" — Berman, Boedeker, Kapsch

BEST REALITY HOST
Tom Bergeron, 'Dancing With The Stars' — Berman, Bianco, Boedeker, de Moraes, Greppi, Roush, Zurawik
Heidi Klum, 'Project Runway' — Grego, Furlong, Ryan, Beachum
Howie Mandel, 'Deal Or No Deal' — Ausiello, Richmond
Jeff Probst, 'Survivor' — Huff, Mitovich, Licuria
Ryan Seacrest, 'American Idol' — Barnhart, Kubicek, Dos Santos, Starr, Howe, Kapsch, Pickett

BEST REALITY-COMPETITION PROGRAM
"The Amazing Race" — Ausiello, Barnhart, Bianco, Berman, Boedeker, de Moraes, Huff, Kubicek, Mitovich, Roush, Starr, Beachum, Licuria, O'Neil, Pickett
"American Idol" — Dos Santos, Grego, Zurawik, Howe, Kapsch
"Dancing with the Stars" — Richmond
"Project Runway" — Furlong, Greppi, Ryan
"Top Chef"

BEST VARIETY, MUSIC OR COMEDY SERIES
"The Colbert Report"
"The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" — Ausiello, Barnhart, Berman, Bianco, Boedeker, de Moraes, Dos Santos, Furlong, Grego, Greppi, Kubicek, Mitovich, Richmond, Roush, Ryan, Starr, Zurawik, Beachum, Howe, Kapsch, O'Neil, Pickett
"Late Show With David Letterman" — Huff
"Real Time With Bill Maher"
"Saturday Night Live" — Licuria

BEST MADE-FOR-TV MOVIE
"Bernard and Doris" — Greppi
"Extras: The Extra Special Series Finale" — Ausiello, Berman, Furlong, Starr, Beachum, Kapsch
"The Memory Keeper's Daughter"
"A Raisin in the Sun" — Barnhart, Bianco, Dos Santos, Grego, Richmond, Ryan, Zurawik, Pickett
"Recount" — Boedeker, de Moraes, Huff, Kubicek, Mitovich, Roush, Howe, Licura, O'Neil

Continue reading »

PODCAST: What a drama! Boomer and I dish the Emmy race for best actor

September 17, 2008 | 11:38 am

The biggest dramas at the Emmys this year are in the races for drama series and lead actor. Chris "Boomer" Beachum and I cover the series race in a separate podcast chat here at Gold Derby, but now we want elaborate on the post below (click HERE) by discussing this James Spader biz in depth. Boomer and I agree that the undefeated star of "Boston Legal" is out front to win his fourth Emmy but disagree over who's in second place. Boomer says Hugh Laurie ("House"). I say . . . naw, I ain't gonna tell ya. Better that you tune in for the full, fun chat. CLICK HERE to Download the MP3 File and Listen. (Note: You may need to hold down your computer's control key while clicking.)


Emmy predix: Why James Spader will win his fourth Emmy

September 16, 2008 | 10:20 pm

Expect to hear a lot of groans this Sunday night when "Boston Legal" star James Spader — who's gone undefeated at the Emmys in the past — wins best drama actor for a fourth time.

Yes, brace yourself for one of those bizarre Emmy moments to repeat again. I and Gold Derby 's two other Emmy experts — our forum moderators Robert "Rob L" Licuria (Awardsheaven.net) and Chris "Boomer" Beachum — all predict Spader will pull off another jaw-dropper. Rob's and Boomer's expanded predix, rankings and analysis are below, but, first, let me offer my own explanation.

Remember how Emmy voting works: Nominees pick a sample episode of their best work and submit it to about 50 to 70 judges, all fellow actors, who watch the DVD screeners at home and rank the contenders.

James_spader_emmys_2007_3

Spader keeps winning because "Boston Legal" producer David E. Kelley — a whiz at snagging Emmys and a former lawyer in real life — usually gives Spader one of those big, showboating courtroom speeches at the end of his Emmy episode that wins over judge and jury. Including Emmy judges.

This year Spader gives his hottest firebrand speech ever. He gets to argue a case before the U.S. Supreme Court and he uses the occasion to scorch justices for being lackeys of the conservative White House, at one point chastising Clarence Thomas for not paying attention to him as he rants: "Put down that magazine!"

"Who are you people?" Spader roars. "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!"

How can Hollywood lefties resist voting for that?

If Spader actually manages to lose, it's hard to say who'll beat him. All competing episode submissions are superb and, with six nominees in this race, all a contender needs to win, theoretically, is 17% of the vote.

Both Boomer and Rob believe that Hugh Laurie is in second place and that's possible. In the "House's Head" episode of "House" he gives a big flashy turn as 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. I think this episode has a drawback, though. Normally, House is a cranky character — in an appealing way. Here he's downright nasty, a bully. Some voters inevitably will be turned off.

Drama_actor_2

Personally, I would put Jon Hamm ("Mad Men") in second place. His Emmy episode, "The Wheel," isn't, well, as ham-fisted or emotionally flashy as Hugh Laurie's. In fact, Hamm is rather laid back through most of it, but he gets a big crying scene — voters are often suckers for that.

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 while advising the company on what to call its new, round slide projector. He makes his pitch while showing them slides of himself with wife and kids during happier days years ago. Seeing these images again makes Draper cry in the dark while he urges the execs to change the name of "The Wheel" to something else 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."

A similar parallel can be drawn to Michael C. Hall's performance — which is also quite passive except for a big grand finale. In Hall's case, the emotional contrast is even more interesting. What makes his acting so seductive is its smoldering volcanic fire. Serial killers don't like to draw attention to themselves so he's always holding back, drawing us near. Very powerful, especially at the end of this "Dexter" episode, "There's Something About Harry," in which he discovers that his father committed suicide when he learned that his son was a murderer. Dexter screams, "I killed my father!" It's the episode where Dexter keeps his nemesis, James Doakes, locked up in a cage out in the Everglades and it's so taut and gripping that it could definitely bring Hall the Emmy.

But Hall not only needs to get by Spader, Laurie and Hamm, but Bryan Cranston and Gabriel Byrne too. I agree with Rob and Boomer that Byrne's turn is just too talky and pretentious. He's out. But Cranston really does have hope here. I think Boomer makes a big mistake ranking him last. In the pilot episode of "Breaking Bad," Cranston is riveting as a science teacher who resorts to making crystal meth to earn a quick fortune when he learns that he's dying of cancer. Cranston has a real chance to win too. Only Byrne is out of this race, methinks.

But let's check in with what Rob and Boomer think. First, Rob.

BEST DRAMA ACTOR: ROB'S RANKING
1. James Spader, "Boston Legal" ("The Court Surpreme")
2. Hugh Laurie, "House M.D." ("House's Head")
3. Bryan Cranston, "Breaking Bad" ("Pilot")
4. Michael C. Hall, "Dexter" ("There's Something About Harry")
5. Jon Hamm, "Mad Men" ("The Wheel")
6. Gabriel Byrne, "In Treatment" ("Paul and Gina: Week 4")

ROB'S COMMENTARY: The actors I have in third to sixth place should really all be tied for third place. I can't separate them really — they're all that good — and are all in with a shot in this years number-one killer category.

Gabriel Byrne is touching and vulnerable in an episode where the camera is almost entirely focused on him. Bryan Cranston OWNS this character in the pilot of "Breaking Bad," and is so perfect that he is the spoiler. Michael C. Hall is really captivating in his episode, and has lots of buzz to go with it. So does Jon Hamm, the Golden Globe winner from earlier this year, who has the best scene of the category in the "Carousel" presentation towards the end of his episode. Hugh Laurie is wonderful in "House's Head," and everybody knows that he is way overdue for some Emmy recognition.

KEEP READING - CLICK HERE!

Continue reading »

Lead actor in a drama series: By the numbers

July 17, 2008 | 11:59 am

Even with six men in the race for lead actor in a drama series, their award track record pales in comparison to their female counterparts. Among these half dozen contenders, they have just nine Emmy nominations before today with only three wins –- and all of those belong to James Spader, who has never lost an Emmy race for "Boston Legal" and its predecessor "The Practice." (The women have 28 previous Emmy nominations and 7 wins.)

Among those Spader bested in 2005 and 2007 was Hugh Laurie for "House." While this is Michael C. Hall's first nomination for "Dexter," he was a 2002 lead actor nominee for "Six Feet Under." And though this nod for "Breaking Bad" is Bryan Cranston's first drama bid, he was a three-time supporting nominee for the laffer "Malcolm in the Middle" (2002, 2003, 2006). New to the Emmys are Gabriel Byrne ("In Treatment") and Jon Hamm ("Mad Men").

While the women have 3 Oscars and 11 Oscar nominations among them, the men have none. The women have 3 Golden Globes for 13 movie nods as well as 4 Globes to show for 18 TV noms. The men have no movie Globe nominations and 3 TV Globes out of 8 nods. Laurie won 2 of his 3 Golden Globe bids for "House" and was bested this year by first-time Globe nominee Hamm for "Mad Men." Hall has lost both his Globe bids for "Dexter" (2007, 2008). Cranston lost his single Globe nom for "Malcolm in the Middle" in 2003 and Spader lost his only nod for "Boston Legal" in 2005.


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).

BEST COMEDY SERIES
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.

Ray_vs_tom_emmy_slugfest

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.

BEST DRAMA SERIES
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?

BEST DRAMA ACTOR
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.

BEST DRAMA ACTRESS
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.

BEST COMEDY ACTOR
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.

KEEP READING - CLICK HERE!

Continue reading »

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 (EW.com), Matt Webb Mitovich (TVGuide.com), Marc Berman (MediaWeek), Ray Richmond (Hollywood Reporter) and our two resident Emmy gurus — our forums moderators Robert "Rob L" Licuria (AwardsHeaven.net) 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!

Drama_series_1

Comedy_series

KEEP READING - CLICK HERE TO SEE OUR PREDIX FOR BEST ACTOR AND ACTRESS IN DRAMA AND COMEDY SERIES!

Continue reading »

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.

Matthew_fox_ellen_pomeo_calista_flo

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.

KEEP READING - CLICK HERE!

Emmy_ballot_2

Continue reading »

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!"

Hugh_laurie_jon_hamm_james_spader

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 (AwardsHeaven.net — 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

BEST DRAMA ACTOR: ROB'S PREDIX
(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

KEEP READING - CLICK HERE!

Continue reading »

Will this TV scene score James Spader a fourth Emmy?

July 8, 2008 |  6:22 pm

Ever wonder how James Spader keeps pulling off upsets in the Emmy race for drama-series actor? He's won three times (2004, 2005, 2007), including last year, and, in fact, he has never lost. The James_spader_emmy probable reason: On "Boston Legal," producer-writer David E. Kelley keeps scripting him big, grandstanding speeches he delivers with a fiery preacher's bravado to courtroom juries at the conclusions of the sample episodes that Spader submits to Emmy judges. If he makes the top 10 run-off again this year, which seems likely, he'll probably submit this week's episode titled "The Court Supreme." Check out its grand finale on this YouTube clip dug up by AwardsDaily.com. (Thanks, Sasha!)

Be prepared to suspend disbelief big time. This scene is preposterous, but it's fun to think that an attorney might really stand before the U.S. Supreme Court, raging, "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!" At one point he yells at distracted Justice Clarence Thomas, "Put down that magazine!"

(Photo: ATAS)


'Breaking Bad' star Bryan Cranston breaks into the Emmy list of Top 10 semifinalists for best drama actor

July 2, 2008 |  4:02 am

Despite getting rave reviews from TV critics, Bryan Cranston routinely got snubbed by TV academy voters while starring opposite seven-time nominee Jane Kaczmarek on "Malcolm in the Middle." But now Cranston's finally gotten his big Emmy break at Bryan_cranston_breaking_bad last: He's made it onto the list of Top 10 semifinalists for best drama actor for portraying a different kind of wigged-out father on "Breaking Bad." His inclusion in the Top 10 rundown is a nice shockeroo, considering his show is a low-rated new cable series on AMC, which has only done well recently at the Emmys.

Below is a full list of contenders, which is unofficial because the TV academy ridiculously refuses to disclose the actors' lists while it nonetheless publicly reveals the Top 10 contenders for best drama and comedy series. However, Gold Derby has obtained this info from a reliable source. Cited with each entry is the title of the sample episodes that judges evaluate before returning ballots that are due by July 10. At that point accountants will combine judges' scores on a 50/50 basis with results of the original popular vote to determine the nominees to be unveiled on July 17.

TOP 10 SEMIFINALISTS: BEST DRAMA ACTOR
Gabriel Byrne, "In Treatment" ("Paul and Gina: Week 4")
Kyle Chandler, "Friday Night Lights" ("Last Day of Summer")
Bryan Cranston, "Breaking Bad" ("Pilot")
Patrick Dempsey, "Grey's Anatomy" ("Freedom, Parts 1 & 2")
Michael C. Hall, "Dexter" ("There's Something About Harry")
Jon Hamm, "Mad Men" ("The Wheel")
Eddie Izzard, "The Riches" ("Last Temptation of Wayne")
Hugh Laurie, "House" ("House's Head")
Denis Leary, "Rescue Me" ("Babyface")
James Spader, "Boston Legal" ("The Court Supreme")

Seven entries are repeats from last year's Top 10: Chandler, Dempsey, Hall, Izzard, Laurie, Leary and Spader. Missing from last year's lineup: Matthew Fox, who represents yet one more star of "Lost" snubbed in other Top 10 runoffs. So far only supporting stars Michael Emerson and Naveen Andrews have been on an acting list.

Other notable omissions: Bill Paxton ("Big Love"), Rob Lowe ("Brothers and Sisters"), Peter Krause ("Dirty Sexy Money"), Christopher Meloni ("Law and Order: Special Victims"), Jonathan Rhys Meyers ("The Tudors"), Anthony LaPaglia ("Without a Trace").

Photo: AMC


Connect

Advertisement

In Case You Missed It...

Stay Connected:


About the Blogger


Pop & Hiss



Categories


Archives
 



In Case You Missed It...