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Category: The Simpsons

After losing first Emmy bid last year, Harry Shearer back to being snubbed for 'The Simpsons'

July 8, 2010 |  3:53 pm

Harry Shearer had to wait for 17 years after his cast mates from "The Simpsons" won the first Emmys awarded for voice-over performances before he finally earned a nomination last year. While Shearer has voiced dozens of characters — including many of the most popular ones, like Montgomery Burns and Mr. Smithers — since the series' debut in 1989, he was snubbed by the Emmy nominating panel time and again. Then when he finally made it into the race, he lost to  Dan Castellaneta who gives voice to Homer Simpson.

Harry Shearer The Simpsons Emmy Awards Like last year, this year's nominees for voice-over performance were determined by a combined panel from the animation peer group and from the performers peer group who have voice-over credits. The winner will be decided by a non-preferential ratings score system.

Among those who edged Shearer out were two other "Simpson" regulars — Hank Azaria and Dan Castellaneta — as well as guest star Anne Hathaway who voiced Princess Penelope on one episode. While Hank Azaria won his first Emmy in 1998 for just the voice of Apu, his second and third wins in 2001 and 2003 were for numerous characters. This year he contends for the voices of Apu and Moe Syzlak. Dan Castellaneta won his first and third Emmys in 1992 and 2004 for a variety of voices, while his second and fourth wins in 1993 and 2009 were just for Homer Simpson. This year, he contends for voicing Homer and Grampa Simpson.

When Castellaneta won in 1992, he was just one of six voice-over artists on "The Simpsons" so honored. The other winners were series regulars Nancy Cartwright (Bart Simpson), Julie Kavner (Marge Simpson) and Yeardley Smith (Lisa Simpson)  as well as guest voices Jackie Mason (Rabbi Krustofsky) and Marcia Wallace (Mrs. Krabappel). Kelsey Grammer won in 2006 for the recurring character of Sideshow Bob.

This year's other nominees in the category are: H. Jon Benjamin as suave spy Sterling Archer on "Archer";  Seth Green for three roles on "Robot Chicken"; and Dave Foley as Santa's helper Wayne on "Prep and Landing."

"The Simpsons" has won 25 Emmys over its two-decade run: 13 for voice-over, 10 for top animated program under one hour, and two for top song. At the height of the show's popularity, the producers opted out of the animated Emmy race and tried their luck at nabbing a nod for comedy series. However, unlike that modern stone age family, "The Flintstones," which contended for best comedy series in 1961, "The Simpsons" could not break into the big leagues.

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Gold Derby nuggets: 'The Hobbit' hobbled by helmer's exit | Homer Simpson tops with EW | 'Curb' appeal

June 1, 2010 |  1:11 pm

The Hobbit • The status of "The Hobbit," the long-in-the-making two-part prequel to the hit trilogy "The Lord of the Rings," just became much cloudier with the news that helmer Guillermo del Toro ("Pan's Labryinth") has walked. The first of the films -- produced by Peter Jackson, who picked up three Oscars for the final installment of "LOTR" -- was slated to arrive in theaters in December 2012 with the second out a year later. In a statement, Del Toro said, "In light of ongoing delays in the setting of a start date for filming 'The Hobbit,' I am faced with the hardest decision of my life. After nearly two years of living, breathing and designing a world as rich as [J.R.R.] Tolkien's Middle Earth, I must, with great regret, take leave from helming these wonderful pictures." The much-in-demand Del Toro has decided to move on but harbors no ill will to the project. "Both as a co-writer and as a director, I wish the production nothing but the very best of luck and I will be first in line to see the finished product. I remain an ally to it and its makers, present and future, and fully support a smooth transition to a new director." REUTERS

Elizabeth Guider reports that HBO did great business selling foreign rights to the upcoming first season of "Boardwalk Empire" at the just-concluded LA screenings. This is the paycaster's marquee series for 2010 and could be a major awards player based on the pedigree of the behind-the-scenes talent alone. Oscar champ Martin Scorsese ("The Departed") is executive producing the series about bootleggers in 1920s Atlantic City and directed the first episode. Terence Winter -- who adapted Nelson Johnson's novel of the same name -- won two Emmys for scripting episodes of "The Sopranos" and another two when that HBO hit won best drama series in 2004 and 2007. THR

• The first rialto revival of "Fences" continues to break Broadway box-office records. Yet again, it topped the $1-million mark last week. This remounting of the 1987 Tony and Pulitzer Prize winner by August Wilson is up for 10 Tony Awards and is a front-runner in the best play revival race. The two stars -- two-time Oscar champ Denzel Washington ("Glory," "Training Day") and Oscar nominee Viola Davis ("Doubt") -- are strong contenders in their categories too. "Fences" is also nominated for best featured actor (Stephen McKinley Henderson), score (Brandford Marsalis), scenic design, costumes, sound design and lighting.

The Simpsons Entertainment WeeklyHomer Simpson edged out Harry Potter to top the Entertainment Weekly roundup of the 100 most memorable characters of the last two decades. "Simpsons" creator Matt Groening told the magazine that people relate to the tubby hubby "because we're all secretly propelled by desires we can't admit to." "The Simpsons" has won 25 Emmys over its first two decades: 10 for top animated program under one hour, 13 for voice-over (including four for "Homer" himself, Dan Castellaneta) and two for top song. The title role of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" as played by the perpetually Emmy-snubbed Sarah Michelle Gellar came in third, and Tony Soprano ("The Sopranos") -- which won James Gandolfini three Emmys -- was fourth. Comic-book arch-villain the Joker -- so brilliantly reimagined by the late Heath Ledger in "The Dark Knight" -- was fifth. ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

• As Greg Ellwood observes, "Last year, four of the best picture nominees were released in the summer: 'Up,' 'Inglourious Basterds,' 'District 9" and 'The Hurt Locker.' The 83rd Academy Awards probably won't match that total, but there are more summer players than usual for awards season overall. Just previewing the feature films, there are eight releases that should easily make some noise over the next three months." For Greg, among those upcoming releases that could make the top 10 at the Oscars are "Inception" and "The Kids Are All Right." HIT FIX

Mike Ausiello chats with "House" leading man Hugh Laurie, who reveals he has no idea how long he will keep playing the curmudgeonly character that has netted him four Emmy nominations but no wins. Whether the upcoming Season 7 will be the last for Laurie remains a question mark. He told Mike, "I only hope we’ll know when the time is right [to close up shop]. When people blunder on for five years after [they should have called it quits] … it gets taken out of your hands. Someone will say, "That’s it." But for now, I’m immensely proud of the things we did this season." The show has lost the drama series race for the last four consecutive years. ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

564_curb_your_enthusiasm_468 • Reruns of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" debut on the TV Guide network Tuesday, and though the basic-cable caster will edit the show for nudity and language, it is not cutting it for length. "Curb" ran 30 minutes or so on commercial-free HBO, so to round out the hour time slot, the net is programming "Curb: The Discussion." Hosted by "Curb" star Susie Essman and co-produced by the show's creator and star Larry David, the first panelists will be David's old pal Jerry Seinfeld, Emmy nominee Jon Hamm ("Mad Men") and Oscar nominee Taraji Henson ("The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"). The five-time Emmy contender for comedy series drew its best ratings for Season 7, which used a reunion of "Seinfeld" as a plot device for creator and star Larry David to repair his TV marriage. As for the future, David says, "Usually when a season ends, especially a season as successful as last season, it takes a while to recharge and come up with enough ideas so you know that you'll have a funny season. So it took some time, but I think we've got some good stuff coming up for Season 8." TV GUIDE

• Jerry Seinfeld is trying his hand at directing this month, helming Colin Quinn's one-man show, "Long Story Short." This showcase for the former "SNL" star begins a summer run off-Broadway on June 18. While "Curb Your Enthusiasm" has had lousy luck at the Emmys, winning just one of its 30 bids (best director for Robert B. Weide for the "Krazee-Eyez Killa" episode in 2003), "Seinfeld" snagged 10 laurels out of its 70 nominations, including best comedy series of 1993. PLAYBILL

Top photo: "The Hobbit" book cover. Credit: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Middle photo: Entertainment Weekly cover. Credit: EW.

Bottom photo: "Curb Your Enthusiasm" logo. Credit: HBO

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'Family Guy' will compete for best comedy series at the Emmys again

April 2, 2009 |  5:02 pm

The producers of "Family Guy" came so close to being nominated for best comedy series at the Emmys last year that they plan to try it again, Gold Derby has learned exclusively.

However, there's a glitch — and a major sacrifice the show must now make. Last year, due to a quirk in the Emmy rules, "Family Guy" was able to gamble on nabbing a bid for best comedy without abandoning the separate race for best animated program. The latter category permits ongoing series to compete against stand-alone specials. Since "Family Guy" had a notable special — its celebrated "Star Wars" spoof titled "Blue Harvest" — it could enter that for best animated program (it lost to "South Park's" Imaginationland") while also entering "Family Guy" for best comedy series ("30 Rock" won). "Family Guy" will not be eligible in the race for best animated program this year.

Flintstones_family_guy "Family Guy" didn't get nominated for best laffer last year, but it came close. It was one of the top 10 semi-finalists after a popular vote of the TV academy's 13,000 members. There won't be a semi-finalist run-off this year since judging panels will no longer determine nominees after screening sample episodes, but the number of nominees will be increased to six or seven from the usual five, thus giving "Family Guy" some Emmy hope.

But perhaps it's only slim hope. Obviously, there's a bias against animated fare at the Emmys just like the Oscars, which recently had to create a separate category for best animated feature after repeated, embarrassing snubs in the best picture race. Only one animated film has ever been nominated for best picture at the Academy Awards: "Beauty and the Beast" (1991). At the Emmys, only one animated show has ever been nominated for best comedy or drama series: "The Flintstones" (1961). Alas, "The Jack Benny Show" got the last laugh back then.

Not too long ago "The Simpsons" tried what "Family Guy" is attempting. After sweeping the animation race in the early 1990s, "The Simpsons" moved over to compete in the comedy category, but got shut out in 1993 and 1994. Then frustrated producers gave up in 1995 and moved back to animation.

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Can 'Family Guy' really be nominated for best comedy series at the Emmys? Well ...

June 30, 2008 |  9:33 pm

All three of our spies not only report that "Family Guy" got raves from Emmy judges during screenings this weekend, but they — oh, shockeroo! — predict it'll be nominated for best comedy series.

Yep, all three. That's unanimous. How can they possibly be wrong?

Answer: By forgetting the history of showbiz awards and glossing over how Emmy voting works.

Animation seldom gets serious respect at these kudos. That's why the Oscars and Emmys had to create separate categories for that fare. Only once has a cartoon flick been nominated for best picture at the Oscars (READ MORE — or see blog post below about "Wall-E"). Flintstones_family_guy And the equivalent has only occurred at the Emmys once in the past — back when "The Flintstones" scored a shocking bid for best comedy series in 1961. The L.A. Times got so excited that TV critic Cecil Smith predicted it would win, but, alas, "The Jack Benny Show" got the last laugh.

Not too long ago "The Simpsons" tried what "Family Guy" is attempting. After sweeping the animation race in the early 1990s, "The Simpsons" moved over to compete in the comedy category, but got shut out in 1993 and 1994. Then frustrated producers gave up in 1995 and moved back to animation.

Considering all of the media hoopla surrounding "The Simpsons" Emmy switcheroo back then, it's a good guess that, if a Top 10 semifinal runoff existed, the rascally cartoon probably would've made it. But, alas, it didn't get nominated among the final five. Why does anyone now believe that "Family Guy" can do what the mighty "Simpsons" — the longest-running cartoon in primetime TV history — couldn't?

Let's walk through the voting scenario. In order for "Family Guy" to be nominated, it needs to land in the top five after accountants combine tallies of the original popular vote with results of the judges' scoring.

Considering the general low regard of animation at showbiz awards, it's logical to assume that "Family Guy" probably ranked eighth, ninth or 10th in the popular vote. In order to be nominated, it needs to land in the top three of judges' scores. None of three judges we polled this weekend gave it their highest score (10 points). Our secret judge No. 1 ranked it eighth. Secret judge No. 2 ranked it third. Secret judge No. 3 ranked it fourth.

In other words, just because the "Padre de Famila" episode of "Family Guy" got one of the most enthusiastic responses from Emmy judges doesn't mean that the vast majority of those judges ranked it high on their ballots.

You do the math. Now re-do your Emmy predix.

(Photos: ABC/Fox)

Turn back, 'Family Guy'! Emmy's comedy race is no laughing matter!

May 20, 2008 |  9:16 am

Why, oh why, don't the producers of "Family Guy" just talk to their kin down the hallway at Fox TV who produce "The Simpsons"? Is rivalry between them that tense? Right now "Family Guy's" Emmy drama is like a scene in a scary movie where the characters won't listen as you scream, "Don't go in the attic!"


Horrified over having lost the Emmy for best animated program three times (twice to "The Simpsons," once to "South Park") and not being nominated at all last year, "Family Guy" has decided to switch to the contest for best comedy series this year.

Noooooo! Don't go there! Memo to producers: Don't you recall what happened when "The Simpsons" tried that back in the 1990s?

At first "The Simpsons" wasn't permitted to go there and the uproar resulted in angry pickets marching outside the Pasadena Civic Auditorium demanding that the Emmys "SET 'THE SIMPSONS' FREE!"

After winning best animated show in 1990 and 1991, "Simpsons" Executive Producer James L. Brooks said that the cartoon's creative team resented the academy's "get to the back of the bus" attitude. "The Simpsons" should be able to compete with the "grown-up" shows, he added. "Simpsons" creator Matt Groening admitted, "It's just not that much of a thrill beating 'Garfield' every year."

However, having no other choice in 1992, "The Simpsons" again entered the Emmy race for best animated show and the L.A. Times warned, "If it doesn't win this Emmy again, there should be an investigation by the CIA, FBI, the NCAA, [independent presidential candidate] Ross Perot's private eyes, someone!"

Emmy watchers feared that "The Simpsons" might lose to popular new gross-out cartoon Ren & Stimpy. Instead it lost to "A Claymation Easter."

"Scandalous!" cried Yeardley Smith, who performs the voice of Lisa Simpson.

Groening vowed never to forgive voters, warning, "Hollywood thrives on hurt feelings and lingering bitterness."


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