Special to TelevisionWeek
Of the six nominees for best performance by an actor in a TV series-musical or comedy, only Tony Shalhoub has previously received a statue for his work on the series for which he is nominated.
Charlie Sheen, currently nominated for “Two and a Half Men,” won a Golden Globe three years ago for his performance on “Spin City.” Matt LeBlanc found some friends in the foreign press, who gave him two previous nominations, in 2003 and 2004, for the same character for which he is currently nominated (Joey Tribianni), but on a different show. At the same time, critical darling Larry David received some enthusiasm from the foreign press with his nomination in 2003. Only Jason Bateman of “Arrested Development” and Zach Braff from “Scrubs” are first-time nominees.
These first-timers may have some momentum on their side. Mr. Bateman heads a series that developed a critical following right out of the blocks and just months ago won five Emmys in its first season on the air, including one for outstanding comedy series.
“Jason is a fearless actor,” said Mitchell Hurwitz, creator and executive producer of “Arrested Development.” “I’m always impressed with his range of emotion and ability to play both nuance and broad comedy.”
Mr. Braff, on the other hand, may be benefiting from a confluence of factors coming together at the perfect moment. “This is the year that viewers saw Zach move from the complete newbie and mature with these wonderful comedic performances filled with a tremendous dose of heart,” said Ted Frank, executive VP of current series at NBC.
At the same time, Mr. Braff has been cleaning up at the box office with his performance in the feature film “Garden State,” which he also wrote and directed. “It was great to see Zach’s success with `Garden State,”‘ Mr. Frank said, “and that can only help `Scrubs’ too.” It might also help Mr. Braff’s chances to sew up a Golden Globe win Jan. 16.
Mr. LeBlanc, with three consecutive nominations for playing Joey Tribianni-the first two for “Friends” and the current one for the NBC spinoff series “Joey”-is also clearly a Globes favorite. Voters may reward Mr. LeBlanc for taking his role to new levels over the 11 years he has been on television.
“Matt has developed the Joey character so much,” Mr. Frank said. “He became more dimensional on the latter years of `Friends’ and what we see now on `Joey.”‘
Combining the affinity the foreign press has shown for Joey Tribianni with its historic penchant for awarding performers early in a show’s run could well add up to a win this year for Mr. LeBlanc.
Then again, competition is stiff. Mr. Sheen, a previous Golden Globe winner, brings tremendous skill to his textured performance on “Two and a Half Men.” “When you watch Charlie’s performance on any episode of the program,” said Chuck Lorre, the show’s executive producer, “you see uncanny instincts for comedy, a deep generosity toward his fellow cast members and an understated elegance, which is a very rare thing these days.”
Mr. David, the creator, showrunner and star of “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” whose ability to execute the most riotous scenarios in an improvisational format almost defies belief, has received only two Globe nominations, both for acting, over “Curb’s” four seasons. Whether the foreign press is enthusiastic enough to reward Mr. David for these eccentric performances remains to be seen.
Mr. Shalhoub, from USA’s “Monk,” has had no such problems connecting with Globes voters in the past. The foreign press appears sufficiently obsessed with Mr. Shalhoub, nominating him three years in a row and awarding him the statue the first year he received the nod. That same year, Mr. Shalhoub also received an Emmy for his work on “Monk,” making him the only nominee in the category this year to have received an acting Emmy.