By Alan Carter
Special to TelevisionWeek
How is this for interesting? The winners of this year’s awards for best actor and actress in a comedy will both take home Golden Globes not just because they do outstanding work on their television shows but also for the splash they made on the big screen.
No kidding. Steve Carell, who manages NBC’s “The Office,” will win because of his work as lead actor and co-writer on the box-office smash “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” for which he wasn’t even nominated. Meanwhile, Felicity Huffman, the put-upon Lynette Scavo of ABC’s “Desperate Housewives,” will win for her stunning work (there is already pre-Oscar buzz) as a pre-op transsexual in “Transamerica.”
This is a given. It’s how Golden Globe voters traditionally vote-not just for the work you get nominated for but for the splash you make in the business. Period.
First, let’s hear it for (and about) the boys.
Zach Braff of NBC’s “Scrubs” is beloved by the younger set, but that won’t help him with Golden Globe voters who tend to favor veterans. He lost this prize last year. Plus, his acclaimed movie “Garden State” wasn’t nominated in 2004, and NBC didn’t do him any favors by pushing “Scrubs” to the midseason and then, more puzzling, not placing it on Thursday nights.
The critics love Mr. Braff, but when your own network doesn’t seem to be in your corner (Fox and “Arrested Development” are another example) it makes voting for the candidate less and less likely over time.
Larry David of HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” is what you’d call overdue. He has been nominated twice before (2003 and 2005) and is Mr. Carell’s biggest threat. That is, if voters this year were more satisfied than stunned by some of the show’s more daring improv comedy moments.
Jason Lee, the title star of NBC’s “My Name Is Earl,” was a movie guy who decided to cross over into TV this season. That will get him points, as will “Earl’s” helping to resuscitate the sitcom genre, which was on life support. But Mr. Lee is going to win … next year.
It’s difficult to win Golden Globes for multiple shows, and Charlie Sheen of CBS’s “Two and a Half Men” has won previously for ABC’s “Spin City.” Speaking of “Two and a Half Men,” what’s up with Jon Cryer’s being shut out?
This award is Mr. Carell’s to lose. Voters love the show in any incarnation. They made the BBC version the winning comedy in 2004 and named Ricky Gervais, in the Carell role, best actor in a comedy.
It wouldn’t be much of a stretch to suggest that someone from “Desperate Housewives” is going to walk away with the acting prize Jan. 16. Sorry, Mary-Louise Parker. You know the Golden Globe voters love you-they said as much when you won for “Angels in America” in 2004. (And they truly loved the “my son made my boobs look so large” comment during your acceptance speech-even if no one sent a thank-you note.)
Still, it’s going to be Ms. Huffman’s night. She lost last year to co-star Teri Hatcher. It isn’t going to hurt Ms. Huffman that her role was beefier this season. (Those trips to the singles bar alone, with her dancing on top of the bar, can only help.) Also in her favor are her late-night talk show bits and the general presumption (true or not) that she is the glue holding the “Housewives” set together and keeping Wisteria Lane from becoming Hysteria Lane. (Has anyone really forgotten the scathing Vanity Fair cover that painted most of the “Housewives” as out-of-control divas? We think not).
That isn’t going to help “Housewives” castmates Teri Hatcher or Marcia Cross much. Too bad for both of them. Ms. Hatcher’s career has rightly been reinvigorated. But it is Ms. Cross’ Bree Van De Kamp who is a new classic character for the ages. And that she makes it look so easy (fixing her dead husband’s tie in the coffin during his funeral ceremony?) is something viewers (and maybe voters) could not forget.
Don’t count out Eva Longoria, either. Finally, voters (maybe Emmy voters will catch on too) figured out that the sexpot wasn’t just a pretty face and body. Long after episodes are over, you remember not only how great Eva looked delivering the line but also the vulnerability and sass she gave while doing so. Blackmailing her jailed husband and reminding him that she had an affair-which was “all his fault” (and we bought it)-says that she is going to be on the winners’ podium at some point before all is said and done. Just not this year.
Eva, note to your agent: If he or she offers you the part of a transsexual next year, take it.