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Supporting Actress' Experienced at Being Nominated

Heigl Is Only Newcomer to Nominations in Category Sure to Have a First-Time Winner

A lot of familiar faces can be found among the Emmy nominees for supporting actress in a drama series, where five of the six actresses are previous nominees. Three of the contenders are from "Grey's Anatomy": first-timer Katherine Heigl, Chandra Wilson and Sandra Oh. Rachel Griffiths from "Brothers and Sisters" and a pair of actresses from "The Sopranos" -- Aida Turturro and Lorraine Bracco -- also are nominated.

Whoever takes home the trophy in the category -- won last year by Blythe Danner for "Huff" -- she will be a first-time Emmy winner.

Contacted shortly after the nominations were announced, Ms. Turturro had just received flowers from her "Sopranos" co-star James Gandolfini. "He sent me gorgeous roses, and what's really exciting about [the nomination] is that you see the amount of love you have around you," she said. "You're just doing your job, you're working hard, and all of a sudden you get something like this and all your friends and family are happy for you. They're so happy it's almost like they got something, too. I get embarrassed a little bit, but it's really great."

Winning would be a feather in Ms. Turturro's cap, and she would welcome it. "I've never gotten up on stage and won something like that," she said. "It would be really cool. But it wouldn't be the end of the world if it doesn't happen. I'm not looking at it like I'm going to win it. I'm just happy that they nominated me and recognized me again. It's been great to be nominated twice for this role. It would be nice to win; it would be different."

The first time Ms. Turturro was nominated for her performance as Tony Soprano's sister Janice was in 2001, and that year's Emmys ceremony is a special memory for the actress. "My dad came with me and he's no longer with us," she said. "So it was a little sad this time, because I wanted to call my dad and he's not there."

Reuniting with the "Sopranos" cast and crew at the Emmys presentation is important to Ms. Turturro as well. "That's the best thing about going," she said. "We used to always get to see each other, but now that we're not on anymore and we're not working anymore, the opportunity to get together has made us all more excited about the Emmys.

"The best thing about the show was how we all got along. You ask a lot of people, the crew and technicians, and they will all tell you that it was great. I don't like it when actors separate themselves from the crew. You know, they get like divas. We were never like that. We were a very down-to-earth group. It was a homey place to work. We were all one family, and that included the crew. "

Few shows garnered as much attention during the past television season as "The Sopranos." With 15 nominations, it led all regular series.

For Ms. Turturro, the final season of the HBO drama crystallized her character. "When I look at the whole thing, I see more of a change in Janice, from her coming into the show as a Bohemian little hippie girl to the mafia wife," she said. "Janice is a chameleon. Whatever she has to be, she is. ... You think she's one thing, and then she's something else. She fits her needs, however she has to survive.

"Who knows what would happen next in her life because now she doesn't have a husband. Which way is she going to go? She's always trying to get money; she's going to get anything that'll take care of her. She was always like that. Whether it was going after a husband or money, Janice needs to be taken care of. She's looking out for herself first."

Family, as much as the mob, is at the heart of "The Sopranos." "Janice is definitely her mother's daughter. Tony has it in him, too. It is all about family," said Ms. Turturro. "Janice is a real survivor, but I think with her, her conniving and her manipulations always come from survival tactics. She never did anything thinking that she was going to connive or manipulate someone. She always did it thinking, 'Oh, poor me. How will I survive?'"

Looking back at the final season of "The Sopranos," one episode stands out for Ms. Turturro. "I really loved the Monopoly scene," she said. "I think everyone related to it. Who hasn't played Monopoly and had a fight? I thought it was really well done, with just everyone being themselves, getting a little drunk and hanging out. Not all games end in fistfights like that, but fights, yes. People get like that, accusing each other of cheating. It was very competitive and very funny."

As for the controversial ending to the series, Ms. Turturro supports creator David Chase's choice. "I loved the way David ended it. I was just like everybody else when I was watching it. I thought the TV had gone out," she said. "Then I wondered, what does it mean? I think it was brilliant and intelligent and bold. He just continued wowing people.

"A lot of people didn't understand it. I don't know if I understood it at first, but now I do. I think it's open to interpretation. That's what he did with the whole show. It was open to choices and things didn't always end," she said. "So many people just want an answer, but there aren't always answers. It could go in many different ways."

For Ms. Turturro, family continues to be a theme as she makes her plans to attend the Emmys. "I'm going to bring my brother to the Emmys," she said. "I'm excited about that, and he'll be really happy and have a good time."

And if "The Sopranos" were to return as a film, which has been rumored, she's ready to play Janice one more time. "I'd come back, sure. She's not dead. It would be great. I think if David has a great idea, then maybe he would get us together for a film," she said. "It's all about the right material. That's why the show worked. He ended it because he wanted to end it on a good note, when it was still strong. It would be really great to be back with everybody and to do a film, but who knows?"

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