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

Category: Law & Order

Gold Derby nuggets: Uh oh! Kanye West returning to VMAs | Emmy bits and bites | 'Avatar' adds love scene for re-release

August 12, 2010 |  1:42 pm

Kanye West Taylor Swift Beyonce MTV VMAKanye West will be back onstage at this year's MTV VMAs, which air live from Los Angeles on Sept. 12. This time around he will be welcomed as a performer. Last year, he set tongues wagging when he interrupted Taylor Swift as she accepted the best female video award to say that Beyonce should have won. Both West and Swift are nominees this year — he for his collaboration with Drake, Li'l Wayne and Eminem on the "Forever" hip-hop music video and she for best female video for "Fifteen." In making the announcement, MTV said West will "be making his triumphant return to the VMAs" and noted  "Kanye has appeared at every VMA show since 2004, winning Best Male Video in 2005 (for 'Jesus Walks'), and Best Special Effects in 2008 ('Good Life')." West has a new album out in the fall and just debuted a new single with Beyonce called "See It Now." MTV

• Kanye should be happy to hear that Katie Hasty — who handicaps eight of the top races at the upcoming MTV VMAs — thinks that "Telephone" by Lady Gaga and featuring Beyonce will win video of the year: "It's rare to not only feature two of the biggest global pop stars into one video, but for them to interact as they do, in the non-stop wacky format that they do. While I personally find the clip to be one, long hot mess, I doubt any of  its shortcomings will keep folks from voting on it." HIT FIX

Steve Pond details the details of the upcoming Creative Arts portion of the Primetime Emmys, including this tidbit that, "the teams presenting awards will include Jane Lynch and Ryan Murphy (“Glee”), John Lithgow and Clyde Phillips (“Dexter”), Christina Hendricks and Matthew Weiner (“Mad Men'), Elizabeth Mitchell and Damon Lindelhof (“Lost”) and Rico Rodriguez and Steve Levitan (“Modern Family”)." As Steve notes, these kudos, "will hand out awards in more than 70 categories. The show will take place at the Nokia Theater on Saturday, August 21, and an edited version will air as a two-hour special on E! Entertainment Television on Friday, August 27."  THE WRAP

Primetime Emmy Poster • Current Emmy nominee and reigning drama supporting actor champ Michael Emerson talks about his time on "Lost" including the 12-minute epilogue that will feature on the final season DVD boxed set. He told Whitney Matheson, "I really like it. I was delighted when I found out I had one of the primary roles in it. I think I was as excited to shoot that as I was to shoot the finale of the series." As for his Emmy hopes: "You never know. But there are so many good actors in that category that haven't yet been given the award. It just seems like they should spread it around." USA TODAY

Supporting drama actress contender Christina Hendricks ("Mad Men") chats with Ray Richmond about, among other things, landing her first Emmy nomination: "It’s pretty awesome. It was amazing enough just to be on this show the past couple of years when it won. That’s been incredible. But this is even better. Matt [Matthew Weiner] gave my character Joan a lot of really amazing material this past season. That’s why I got the Emmy nomination. You won’t hear me complaining." DEADLINE

• Not surprisingly, Hollywood rewards all things young, including TV series as Randee Dawn discovers when considering the Emmy nominees for top drama. "A show should be young and complicated if it wants a berth in the top six. The eldest in this year's drama series lineup, 'Lost,' is also the only show that won't be back next year, and it's hardly old at six seasons. Not one of the other nominated drama series ('Mad Men,' 'Breaking Bad,' 'Dexter,' 'True Blood' and 'The Good Wife') has more than four seasons under its belt." HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

• Eight nominees from seven countries are competing for the news and current affairs awards to be handed out by the International Emmys in New York on Sept. 27. Contending for the current affairs Emmy are: "Dispatches" (United Kingdom),  "Enquete" (Radio Canada), "Telenoche" (Argentina) and "Tuesday Report" (Hong Kong). Up for the news prize are Al Jazeera English (Qatar), Sky News (United Kingdom), RT Channel (Russia) and TV Globo (Brazil) CBC

Avatar Sam Worthington Zoe Saldana • Had the original version of "Avatar" included the love scene in the nine minutes added for the upcoming re-release, would that have swayed Oscar voters? When asked about what audiences can expect Aug. 27, writer-director James Cameron said, "It's been restored, every last frame of it. Seriously," adding that the scene in question won't break any records — it lasts all of about 20 seconds. "I would say, just so that we correctly manage people's expectations," he explained carefully, "it does not change our rating at all. I would call it more of an alien foreplay scene. It's not like they're ripping their clothes off and going at it." MTV

• Oscar and Tony champ Marcia Gay Harden could well be contending again next year for that Emmy she needs to complete the acting triple crown. As William Keck reports, "Harden who received a 2007 Emmy Award nomination for her guest appearance as Federal Agent Dana Lewis on NBC's 'Law & Order: SVU'  is making a return visit to mean Manhattan streets. Last seen in the eighth season premiere, Dana will return in the eighth episode of the upcoming 12th season." TV GUIDE

Upper photo: Kanye West and Taylor Swift at the 2009 MTV VMAs. Credit: MTV.

Middle photo: Emmy Awards poster. Credit: NBC

Lower photo: "Avatar" promotion still. Credit: Fox.

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Gold Derby nuggets: Hugh Laurie sings the blues | 'Mad Men' all dolled up | Al Pacino back to Broadway

July 26, 2010 |  1:24 pm

House Laurie piano • If any actor has a right to sing the blues, it is Hugh Laurie, who hasn't had any luck with the Emmys despite four previous nominations for playing the cantankerous title character in "House, M.D." Although he's contending again this year in the lead actor race, our early predictions rank him as an also-ran again. On Monday, Warner Music announced a record deal with the erudite Englishman for an album of New Orleans-style songs. The disc will be produced by two-time Grammy champ Joe Henry. In a statement, Laurie said, "I am drunk with excitement at this opportunity. I know the history of actors making music is a checkered one, but I promise no one will get hurt." Laurie, who plays a variety of musical instruments, has been the keyboardist for the charity group Band From TV for the last several years and tickled the ivories on the last album from Meat Loaf as well. USA TODAY

• Three-time Tony nominee Alfred Molina is switching coasts to join the cast of "Law & Order: L.A." in the fall. Mike Ausiello delivers this news, noting "Molina is the second major 'LOLA' hire. As I reported earlier this month, Skeet Ulrich has been tapped to play one of the two lead detectives. In a statement, show exec Dick Wolf said, 'I am thrilled that Fred is "LOLA's" Deputy DA. He joins a remarkable list of some of America’s greatest character actors like Sam Waterston, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeff Goldblum, Steven Hill, Dianne Wiest, and Michael Moriarty as stars of 'Law & Order'-branded series.' "

• The versatile Molina also appears in the fourth film from theater visionary Julie Taymor -- a reimagining of Shakespeare's "The Tempest" -- which will close the 67th edition of the Venice film fest on Sept. 11. The picture stars Oscar champ Helen Mirren ("The Queen") as Prospera, a gender-bending take on the character of Prospero, a sorcerer marooned on an island with his daughter. The film features another Oscar winner -- Chris Cooper ("Adaptation") -- as well as Russell Brand, Alan Cumming, Djimon Hounsou, David Strathairn and Ben Whishaw. LA BIENNALE

Sir Elton John and Lee Hall -- who penned the Tony-winning musical adaptation of "Billy Elliot" -- are reteaming to turn the George Orwell classic novel "Animal Farm" into a tuner. Baz Bamigboye chatted with Hall, who revealed, "I'm deep into it, writing songs for pigs and other four-legged friends" but admitted proper work on the show would not begin till after the summer. "Having worked with him on 'Billy Elliot,' I know that Elton likes to have the lyrics done and have them in front of him, so I'll work on a batch before I give him anything to look at. I would think it's going to take about two years before it's all ready to go." DAILY MAIL

Mad Men Barbies • Four of the Emmy-nominated cast members of "Mad Men" have been immortalized by Mattel as collectible dolls that retail for $74.95 each. "The collection features suave ad men Don Draper (Jon Hamm) and Roger Sterling (John Slattery) complete with cufflinks. The Draper doll features a painted 5 o'clock shadow [that] adds to his good looks, as does his dreamy gaze. Draper's turmoil-ridden wife, Betty (January Jones), wears a traditionally saccharine floral A-line dress with a shiny gray bow, while flame-haired beauty Joan Holloway (Christina Hendricks) wears a figure-hugging dress, stockings and pointy black heels." And, as this report notes, "even though Mattel cites the Holloway doll's 'curvy silhouette,' the mini-Joan takes on Barbie's traditionally slim figure." FOX NEWS

• At a Comic-Con panel, Emmy nominee Michael C. Hall previewed the upcoming fifth season of "Dexter." For the actor, his character of a serial killer under suspicion in his wife's death is now "motivated by a desire to make amends for that even if he doesn't consciously know it. He needs to make things right, even if it feels impossible." And, as per producer Chip Johannessen, "We want to process this huge event, which is almost like a second origin story. This is something he brought on himself. We don't continue the facts of Season 4 for very long, but the set of events that he brought upon himself very much permeate Season 5." TV GUIDE

• The gang from "Glee" was also at Comic-Con, where, as per this report by Denise Martin, show creator Ryan Murphy "hit Chris Colfer with the news that he may soon get to do 'The Time Warp,' the classic song-and-dance routine from 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show.' " And, Denise adds, "the Britney Spears episode may be a little dream-like, even if it isn't exactly a dream for one star. And get ready for more Madonna." TV GUIDE

Al Pacino MerchantAl Pacino will be back on Broadway this fall headlining a transfer of the summer hit "The Merchant of Venice," which has been playing in repertory as part of the Public Theater's season in Central Park. Pacino, who first came to fame as a stage actor, headlined a 1979 rialto revival of "Richard III" that was met with mixed reviews. His last appearance on Broadway was in a staged reading of the Oscar Wilde play "Salome" in 2003. He is in contention at the upcoming Emmy Awards for his performance in the telefilm "You Don't Know Jack." Pacino is one of only 18 actors to have achieved the triple crown, winning an Oscar for "Scent of a Woman," an Emmy for "Angels in America" and two Tony Awards, for "Does a Tiger Wear a Necktie?" and "The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel." NEW YORK TIMES

• The 1988 Oscar-nominated Spanish film "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown" is being turned into a Broadway musical this fall and will feature a slew of award-winning talent including a pair of Tony champs -- Patti LuPone ("Evita," "Gypsy") and Brian Stokes Mitchell ("Kiss Me, Kate") -- as well as multiple nominees Sherie Rene Scott and Danny Burnstein. Tony winner Bartlett Sher ("South Pacific") directs, and Tony nominees David Yazbek and Jeffrey Lane are collaborating once again on the score, as they did with "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels," with Lane also adapting Pedro Almodóvar's screenplay for the stage. PLAYBILL

• A trio of Oscar-winning actors -- Goldie Hawn ("Cactus Flower"), Julia Roberts ("Erin Brockovich") and Forest Whitaker ("The Last King of Scotland") -- are among those on-screen talents working behind the scenes on documentaries scheduled to debut on Oprah Winfrey's new TV network next year. As per the press release, Roberts will present "Extraordinary Moms," about "brilliant and awe-inspiring women who share a powerful connection: the love they have for their children combined with a fierce desire to protect the future of all children"; Hawn will narrate "Search for Happiness," which "examines the age-old quest that has motivated civilization and technological progress"; and Whitaker will do likewise with "One Last Shot," which "takes viewers inside Louisiana’s maximum security prison at Angola, where the average sentence is more than 90 years." TV BY THE NUMBERS

Photos, from top: Hugh Laurie in "House, M.D." Credit: Fox. "Mad Men" collectible dolls. Credit: Mattel, Inc. Al Pacino in "The Merchant of Venice." Credit: Public Theater

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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 (Awardsheaven.net) 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."

Lily Tomlin Damages Emmys GUEST DRAMA ACTRESS: ROB'S PREDIX
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.

Lily Tomlin Laugh In GUEST DRAMA ACTRESS: BOOMER'S PREDIX
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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Drama series lead acting races: By the numbers

July 9, 2010 | 10:22 am

Glenn Close Bryan Cranston Emmy Awards Before this year, the six women competing for lead actress in a drama series at the Emmy Awards had tallied up an impressive 26 nominations among them, with five wins. Returning nominees Glenn Close ("Damages") and Mariska Hargitay ("Law & Order: SVU") are two of the three most recent winners in this category; the other, Sally Field ("Brothers & Sisters"), was dropped from the race after three bids.

Reigning champ Close won this award for each of the first two seasons of the FX legal drama. She took home her first Emmy Award (out of eight performance nods) for headlining the 1995 telefilm "Serving in Silence." This year marks Hargitay's seventh consecutive nomination for "Law & Order: SVU," with her win coming in 2006.

Julianna Margulies -- who contends for the freshman hit "The Good Wife" -- was nominated for all six of the seasons she was on "ER." She won the supporting award for the first year of that ratings smash in 1994, then contended again in that category the following year before moving up, albeit unsuccessfully, to the lead race for four years.

All three of these women have won Golden Globes for their Emmy-nominated roles -- Hargitay and Close on the first of their two nods in 2004 and 2007, respectively, and Margulies at the most recent ceremony.

Although Kyra Sedgwick has yet to prevail at the Emmys despite four previous nominations for "The Closer," she did win on the second of her five consecutive Golden Globe nods in 2006. While this is the first Emmy recognition for January Jones ("Mad Men"), she did contend in the lead race at the last two Golden Globes. This is the first Emmy nomination for Connie Britton ("Friday Night Lights").

The men in the lead actor drama series race have 17 previous performance nominations but only two wins. Both of those were for reigning champ Bryan Cranston for the first two seasons of "Breaking Bad." Before these victories, Cranston was a three-time also ran in the supporting actor comedy series race for "Malcolm in the Middle" (2002, 2003, 2006).

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Case closed: 'Law & Order' canceled on brink of setting TV record

May 14, 2010 | 12:39 pm

Law-and-Order-Cancellation-Season-20 NBC canceled "Law & Order" Friday after two decades on the air. When the procedural drama signs off May 24, it will be tied with "Gunsmoke" as prime-time's longest-running drama series. Olympic gold medalist Lindsay Vonn is one of the show's last guest stars. The ski champ features in the series finale as a key witness in a terrorism case.

Two of the three "Law & Order" spinoffs -- "SVU" and "Criminal Intent" -- were renewed for seasons 12 and 10 respectively; "Trial by Jury" lasted just 13 episodes in 2005. And a new "Law & Order" series set in Los Angeles is scheduled to debut on NBC next season.

The original "Law & Order" debuted on NBC in September 1990. Although the series was a solid ratings performer for most of its run, it failed to win over the Emmys very often, taking home just six awards for its 52 nominations so far.

Beginning with the second season, it earned 11 consecutive Emmy Award nominations for best drama series, winning the award only once, in 1997. Elaine Stritch won the guest actress Emmy in 1993 and the series has won four technical awards -- sound editing (1992) and cinematography (1993, 1997, 1998).

Over the years, "Law & Order" starred three different lead actor contenders -- Michael Moriarty (1991-1994), Sam Waterston (1997, 1999, 2000) and Jerry Orbach (2000) -- but none of them made it to the winner's circle. Neither did either of the two supporting actor nominees -- Steven Hill (1998, 1999) and Benjamin Bratt (1999).

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