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

Category: The Mentalist

I declare Emmy war on Mike Ausiello

July 7, 2010 | 11:08 am

Entertainment Weekly's Mike Ausiello really knows his Emmy stuff. I shouldn't pick on him, but, hey, we're all killing time waiting for nominations to be announced Thursday morning. We're in need of interim entertainment. Mike just issued his predictions — like a tempting target. Mike and I are good pals, so I'm sure he won't mind me taking aim with nuclear weapons of mass destruction.


"Breaking Bad" — Mike, Tom
"Damages" — Tom
"Dexter" — Mike, Tom
"Mad Men" — Mike, Tom
"The Good Wife" — Mike, Tom
"Lost" — Mike, Tom
"True Blood" — Mike

Oh, come on, Mike! You know that Emmy voters sleep with garlic cloves around their necks and silver crosses in their fists. Vampire shows never get close. Remember poor "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"?  That said, I admit "Damages" might also be among the walking dead. It was nominated last year but has been off the air for months and now is canceled. Instead, if we're both wrong, 2009 nominees "House M.D." or "Big Love" might return. Or else newbies "Sons of Anarchy" or "Treme" might sneak in.

"The Big Bang Theory" — Tom
"Curb Your Enthusiasm" — Tom
"Entourage" — Mike
"Family Guy" — Mike, Tom
"Glee" — Mike, Tom
"Modern Family" — Mike, Tom
"The Office" — Mike
"30 Rock" — Mike, Tom

Mike's playing it safe by sticking with perennial nominees "Entourage" and "The Office," and he may be right. But I'm sure he's wrong to ditch "Curb Your Enthusiasm," which has been nominated every year of its eligibility. (It sat out last year's derby.) "Big Bang Theory" wasn't nominated for its first two seasons, but that was also true of "Scrubs," "Two and a Half Men" and "Everybody Loves Raymond," which finally broke through for Season 3. My theory is that super-hit "Bang" will finally explode.

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

A temporary truce is called in this category, where we agree 100%!

Glenn Close ("Damages") — Mike, Tom
Sally Field ("Brothers and Sisters") — Mike
Mariska Hargitay ("Law & Order: SVU") — Mike, Tom
January Jones ("Mad Men") — Mike, Tom
Julianna Margulies, "The Good Wife") — Mike, Tom
Katey Sagal ("Sons of Anarchy") — Tom
Kyra Sedgwick ("The Closer") — Mike, Tom

I may have to surrender here. Mike knows that TV academy members are suckers for film stars, especially Oscar winners like Sally Field, so odds are good that she'll be nominated again. I'm betting on the crazed fan support behind the highest-rated show in FX network history to carry Sagal.

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My fearless, 100% accurate Emmy nominations predictions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Pundits' slugfest: Emmy nominations predictions -- best drama actor

July 5, 2010 |  7:01 am

Gold Derby's Emmy gurus Chris "Boomer" Beachum, Rob Licuria and I agree on five of the six chaps who will be nominated for best drama actor when Emmy bids are unveiled Thursday, but we split on the sixth star.

Also, check out our video slugfests over which shows will be nominated for best drama series and comedy series.

Simon Baker, "The Mentalist" — Beachum, Licuria, O'Neil
Bryan Cranston, "Breaking Bad" — Beachum, Licuria, O'Neil
Michael C. Hall, "Dexter" — Beachum, Licuria, O'Neil
Jon Hamm, "Mad Men" — Beachum, Licuria, O'Neil
Hugh Laurie, "House" — Beachum, Licuria, O'Neil
Timothy Olyphant, "Justified" — O'Neil
Bill Paxton, "Big Love" — Licuria
Kiefer Sutherland, "24" — Beachum

BEACHUM'S ALTERNATES: Bill Paxton, Matthew Fox
LICURIA'S ALTERNATES: Timothy Olyphant, Peter Krause
O'NEIL'S ALTERNATES: Bill Paxton, Wendell Pierce


Tom O'Neil "fearless, 100% accurate" Emmy nomination predictions

Chris "Boomer" Beachum's Emmy nomination predictions

Rob Licuria's Emmy nomination predictions

Pundits' video slugfest: Emmy nominations predictions -- best drama actor

Pundits' video slugfest: Emmy nominations predictions -- best drama series

Pundits' video slugfest: Emmy nomination predictions -- best comedy series

Pundits' video slugfest: Emmy nominations predictions -- best drama actress

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Emmy battle over best drama actor: Michael C. Hall vs. Bryan Cranston?

April 10, 2010 |  5:00 pm

Forecasting the Emmy race for best drama actor, our forum moderators Chris "Boomer" Beachum and Robert "Rob L" Licuria ( agree on five contenders for the six nomination spots: Simon Baker ("The Mentalist"), Michael C. Hall ("Dexter"), Jon Hamm ("Mad Men"), Hugh Laurie ("House M.D.") and the winner for the last two years Bryan Cranston ("Breaking Bad"). Boomer picks Wendell Pierce ("Treme") for the last spot; Rob opts for Bill Paxton ("Big Love"). Both agree that newcomer Timothy Olyphant ("Justified") poses a serious threat, but he can't count on an Emmy bid.

Also check out Rob and Boomer's predix for best drama series and comedy series.

Dexter Breaking Bad TV news

1. Michael C. Hall ("Dexter")
2. Bryan Cranston ("Breaking Bad")
3. Jon Hamm ("Mad Men")
4. Hugh Laurie ("House")
5. Simon Baker ("The Mentalist")
6. Wendell Pierce ("Treme")

Alternates -- Bill Paxton ("Big Love"), Timothy Olyphant ("Justified")

BOOMER'S COMMENTARY: I can't imagine a scenario where Michael C. Hall, Bryan Cranston, Jon Hamm and Hugh Laurie are snubbed this year. In fact, if Hall submits correctly he is probably the front-runner to win based on the best-reviewed season of "Dexter" yet and recent Golden Globe and SAG wins.  Simon Baker continues to headline one of the highest-rated dramas on TV, so he should be safe. It is that tricky sixth slot that is hardest to predict since 2009 nominee Gabriel Byrne did not have episodes airing this season. The best bet is most likely Bill Paxton, a very popular actor on one of last year's drama series nominees ("Big Love"), but I will go out on a limb and say that "Treme" from HBO is going to be a major player this year in many categories.  Wendell Pierce could be part of that awards wave.

1. Bryan Cranston ("Breaking Bad")
2. Jon Hamm ("Mad Men")
3. Michael C. Hall ("Dexter")
4. Hugh Laurie ("House")
5. Simon Baker ("The Mentalist")
6. Bill Paxton ("Big Love")

Alternates: Kiefer Sutherland ("24"), Timothy Olyphant ("Justified")

ROB'S COMMENTARY: The top four above appear to be almost guaranteed a slot at this point, with last year's surprise newcomer (Simon Baker) poised to make a return appearance. The sixth contender is a bit of a toss-up, and I'm banking on Bill Paxton to finally break through the pack. He'll have to get past multiple past nominee (and swan song contender) Kiefer Sutherland, as well as Timothy Olyphant for his raved-about performance in the FX freshman series "Justified." Outside shots include Denis Leary ("Rescue Me") and perhaps even Matthew Fox ("Lost"). We are still not sure about where the "Parenthood" cast will submit, so Emmy fave Peter Krause remains on the sidelines for now.

Photos: Michael C. Hall (Showtime), Bryan Cranston (AMC)


Photo gallery: Emmy's biggest snubs

'Lost' Emmy mystery solved: Terry O'Quinn returns to the supporting-actor race

40 years ago today: 'Patton' was released, then slapped Oscar

Emmy gamble: 'Mad Men' star Elisabeth Moss drops to supporting

Again, Showtime ships first campaign mailer to Emmy voters

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Webcam: Simon Baker digs playing 'a really great con man' on 'The Mentalist'

June 20, 2009 | 12:29 pm

"The Mentalist" could turn out to be a major Emmy contender for several reasons. It's the biggest breakout hit among new series debuting over the last TV season, drawing 10 million-plus viewers per episode. It gets raves from TV critics. (Entertainment Weekly cheers star Simon Baker's "mesmerizing little act.") And as for Baker, he's a veteran of the award scene, having been nominated for best TV drama actor at the Golden Globes in 2002 for "The Guardian." (He lost to "24" star Kiefer Sutherland, but so did "Sopranos" star James Gandolfini and "West Wing" Commander in Chief Martin Sheen.)

Simon Baker The Mentalist 748539206 news

In its review of "The Mentalist" last fall, the L.A. Times noted that Baker portrays Patrick Jane, "a former phony TV psychic who perpetually amazes and infuriates his skeptical colleagues at the California Bureau of Investigation with his ability to accumulate the odds and ends of human behavior and use them to formulate incredible truths that catch criminals. Played by the virtually irresistible Baker, Jane also gets to make wiseacre comments like 'He irks me; he's irksome,' which only add to his already considerable charm."

Times writer Mary McNamara also hailed "Baker's killer smile and the nothing-left-to-lose recklessness required of today's broken hero." Instead of broken, though, Baker actually describes his character as "tortured" in our webcam chat, which he conducted with Gold Derby on Thursday while in Oklahoma filming "The Killer Inside Me," a thriller directed by Michael Winterbottom ("A Mighty Heart"). While Baker's character seems to be able to solve everyone else's mysteries with ease, Jane is frustrated and haunted by his pursuit of a diabolical serial killer named Red John, who murdered Jane's family after being taunted by Jane on TV.

"Will he ever really love again? I don't think so," Baker reflects on Jane. "It would be an enormous leap for that character to give and care about someone and overcome his own selfish fear of losing that again and the pain he would go through. It's a lot of fun being the charming, sort of raffish character. That's fun on the surface, but what I think makes the character really exciting for me to play is the balance of that with the tragedy that is his past and the true, hollow feeling he caries around with him every day."

Attention, Emmy voters: Baker would not only appreciate your vote, but he promises, in our webcam chat, that he'll deliver a case of scotch to your door personally, if you'd like. Below, Simon Baker proves that he possesses much of Patrick Jane's celebrated cheeky charm.

Photo: CBS

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