Best Actor Comedy or Musical Series

Jan 19, 2004  •  Post A Comment

Will the foreign press see the Golden Globes this year as a last chance to honor Matt LeBlanc of NBC’s retiring “Friends” series? That may well be on the minds of Globes voters, though Mr. LeBlanc has stiff competition.
“I do think it will be LeBlanc,” said nominee Ricky Gervais of BBC America’s “The Office.” “But then, I’m a Brit. We’re afraid of success and we’re used to second place. It really is just amazing to be nominated.”
Mr. LeBlanc and Mr. Gervais are joined in the category by last year’s winner, Tony Shalhoub for “Monk” (USA), Bernie Mac of “The Bernie Mac Show” (Fox) and Eric McCormack for “Will & Grace” (NBC). Mr. LeBlanc and Mr. Mac were nominated last year, as was Mr. McCormack, who has been nominated five times, so far without a win. As the Emmys also have overlooked Mr. LeBlanc while his castmates have won, perhaps Globes voters might decide to let him feel the love as well.
If Mr. LeBlanc does not win, he may yet get another chance: The Globes’ January-December qualifying year means that “Friends” could be a contender next year as well.
The results of last year’s voting don’t faze Mr. Mac, who insists his focus is on the nomination, which he called “monstrously exciting.”
“It’s just always an honor to be recognized,” he said.
For Mr. Shalhoub, the Globe he won in 2003 was his first major entertainment industry award, although he was nominated for a Tony in 1992. He also won an Emmy for “Monk” in 2003.
“Last year was amazing,” Mr. Shalhoub said. “At that time only the pilot and 11 episodes had aired and it was great just to know that we were on someone’s radar. A second nomination confirms that you’re really here, you’ve really arrived.”

“Here in the U.K. we think of the Golden Globes as a close second to the Oscars,” said Mr. Gervais, who plays smug lower middle manager David Brent on “The Office.” “What I didn’t realize is that it was such a big deal for a Brit to be nominated, and there’s a side of me that just hates a big deal but loves the fact that I was nominated.
“What I think may have made the Globe voters and people in general take notice,” Mr. Gervais said, “is that the series and the characters creatively have an American inspiration in the sense that we took our cue from your series, such as `Larry Sanders’ and `Curb Your Enthusiasm.’ I think people in the U.S. can relate to our style, and that all our characters have real evident flaws.”
The title character of “Monk” is a former detective who continues to solve murder mysteries, all the while suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder. Mr. Shalhoub said the character is “the kind of guy who seems to overcome his obstacles. He’s a kind of an underdog hero and people like that.”
“Perhaps all the characters played by the nominees are underdogs in some way,” Mr. Gervais said. “That might be the thread that connects us, if you’re looking for one. Then again, perhaps the Globe voters are just wonderful, intelligent, discerning people. … Have the votes been tallied yet? Should you tell them I said that?”