Special to TelevisionWeekThe Hollywood Foreign

Jan 9, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Special to TelevisionWeek

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association dug deep to nominate an eclectic group of offbeat characters in the Golden Globes supporting actor category for series, miniseries or motion picture made for television.

The nominees include Sean Hayes of NBC’s “Will & Grace,” Michael Imperioli from HBO’s “The Sopranos,” Jeremy Piven of HBO’s “Entourage,” Oliver Platt of “Huff” (Showtime) and William Shatner of “Boston Legal” (ABC).

Mr. Platt, who portrays Russell Tupper, attorney, friend and confidante to psychiatrist Craig “Huff” Huffstodt (played by Hank Azaria), has earned critical praise for his portrayal of a man suffering from compulsive behavior as well as questionable ethics and morality.

“I’ve never played a character that is such an unvarnished look at compulsive behavior,” Mr. Platt said.

The Globes nod is Mr. Platt’s first. He was nominated for an Emmy in 2000 for his multiepisode appearance on “The West Wing” as White House lawyer Oliver Babish.

Unlike Mr. Platt, Mr. Shatner has experience delivering an acceptance speech. The veteran actor is hoping to turn his recent Emmy win for his work in ABC’s “The Practice” into his first Golden Globe trophy for the same role as arrogant and sometimes clueless lawyer Denny Crane in “Boston Legal.”

“Of all the characters I’ve encountered, Denny Crane seems to be one of the most fascinating,” Mr. Shatner said. “Is he brilliant or blundering, brave or crass, a lethal legal mind or simply lucky?”

Mr. Shatner believes the challenge to keep Crane interesting is balancing “how funny versus how serious” he should be.

There is no balance for talent agent Ari, the foul-mouthed deal-maker played by Jeremy Piven in HBO’s “Entourage.” Ari is always obnoxious.

“Ari will snap your head off, reach into you, pull out your integrity, cackle and then tell you how much he loves you in the next sentence,” Mr. Piven said. “I think everyone knows someone like him.”

As Jack McFarland in ABC’s “Will & Grace,” Mr. Hayes has been nominated six times for a Golden Globe, though a trophy has eluded him. However, he won an Emmy for the role in 2000 and has been nominated in the category each year since.

Among the supporting actor nominees, Michael Imperioli of HBO’s “The Sopranos” is widely considered the category dark horse. Though he was also nominated in 2002 and has been nominated twice for an Emmy, the future of his character is in doubt as the series closes in on its final episodes.

Mr. Imperioli has played Christopher Moltisanti, the unpredictable nephew of crime boss Tony Soprano, for five seasons. He has also written five episodes of the show. Mr. Imperioli said he enjoys the character and appreciates being part of the iconic series.

“Christopher is a criminal who does these terrible things, but within that they see someone who struggles with himself,” Mr. Imperioli said, explaining why the character has resonated with viewers. “He’s trying to live a life with friends, with co-workers, a love interest, and trying to do the best he can, and trying to live a noble life. [That’s] something I think people can relate to.”