Best Actor Drama Series

Jan 19, 2004  •  Post A Comment

For the past two years, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has rewarded actors coming off their series’ freshman seasons. So if recent history is any guide, Anthony LaPaglia of NBC’s “Without a Trace” might soon be in possession of a Golden Globe for best actor in a drama.
Mr. LaPaglia has more than history on his side. “He brings a tremendous sense of weight and gravitas to the show,” said executive producer Hank Steinberg. “He has a tough and gruff exterior, but you see in his eyes a tremendous amount of compassion and empathy. He speaks volumes with his eyes.”
This prowess is no small feat given the generally dry nature of the genre in which Mr. LaPaglia performs. “It is difficult to get into a character’s personal life in procedural dramas, but he shows us what makes his character tick-all while he solves the mystery,” Mr. Steinberg said.
Mr. LaPaglia faces some stiff competition, not only from Michael Chiklis of “The Shield” (FX) and Kiefer Sutherland of “24” (Fox), the freshman champions of 2003 and 2002, respectively, but also from perennial Globe nominee Martin Sheen of NBC’s “The West Wing” and the formerly overlooked William Petersen of CBS’s “CSI.”
As for Mr. Sutherland, who plays Jack Bauer on “24,” he may have outdone his remarkable performance from that first season during the past year, which under Globes eligibility rules covers the end of season two and the beginning of the current third season. “In year two, Kiefer had to rehabilitate [his character] after the deep depths of year one, and he played that arc with great precision and accuracy,” said Robert Cochran, the show’s creator and executive producer. “At the end of that year, his character was somewhat revived, but in the beginning of year three, Jack went down even lower than he had ever been. All the while, there is not a false note from Kiefer. He makes you believe.”
While Mr. Sheen has received eight Globe and Emmy nominations since “The West Wing” launched in 2000, he has taken home only one statuette-the Golden Globe in 2001. On the other hand, Mr. Chiklis boasts some impressive wins. Only once has he lost a Golden Globe or Emmy competition since “The Shield” launched. That was to James Gandolfini, who, because of the limited production cycle of HBO’s “The Sopranos,” is ineligible for the Golden Globes competition this year.
Mr. Petersen, who has been lauded for his work leading the “CSI” cast and as co-executive producer of this top-rated program, may be overdue for a statue. He has never been nominated for a Globe as an actor since the show’s 2000 inception, despite consistently garnering solid reviews for his lean, powerful performance. If the foreign press breaks with past history, it might reward Mr. Petersen for his body of work over four seasons on the critically acclaimed hit program.