By Alan Carter
Special to TelevisionWeek
Maybe they should call this one the Kitchen Sink category. Or Apples and Oranges.
It really is a catch-all category, which is one reason the Golden Globes have sometimes caught flak over the nominees.
Voters can debate until the cows come home whether it makes sense to have comedic actors and actresses pitted against dramatic actors and actresses, but the people behind the Globes figure if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Of course, this comes as no comfort to perennial nominee Sean Hayes from “Will & Grace,” who mercifully can’t lose again this year because he’s not nominated. Mr. Hayes was becoming the Susan Lucci of the Globes, having been nominated every year in this category from 2000 through 2005 and losing each time to dramatic actors, in order, Peter Fonda, Robert Downey Jr., Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland, Jeffrey Wright and William Shatner.
Megan Mullally, Mr. Hayes’ co-star, went on an 0-4 skein of her own, losing to Vanessa Redgrave, Rachel Griffiths, Kim Cattrall and Mary-Louise Parker. Ms. Mullally, who at least lost to a comedic actress when Ms. Cattrall won the award, was not nominated this year or for 2005.
If history repeats itself, the winners this year will be veterans in a drama that isn’t a series. That said, Paul Newman and wife Joanne Woodward, who have 1,234 Golden Globes between them, (OK, it’s just eight, but that’s a lot) will likely walk home with two more. She has won for “Rachel, Rachel,” “The Three Faces of Eve” and “Breathing Lessons.” He has won a Globe for directing “Rachel, Rachel” and received the Cecil B. DeMille and Henrietta awards.
Mr. Newman also won the Golden Globes’ New Star of the Year Award in 1957 (do you feel old yet?), and you know voters have in the back of their minds that Mr. Newman, long overdue for an acting Globe, has never won one. (Yo, people, did you see “The Color of Money,” “Hud,” “Sweet Bird of Youth” … we can go on. It’s hoped that his speech won’t go on as long as his credits.)
Candice Bergen from ABC’s “Boston Legal” has won twice for her title role in “Murphy Brown.” She received a Globes nomination as the New Star of the Year in 1967. Golden Globers clearly like “Legal”-Mr. Shatner won last year, and James Spader was nominated as well. Still, as much as the voters like Ms. Bergen, it’s almost unheard of for someone to win who wasn’t an original cast member.
Camryn Manheim won big kudos as Elvis Presley’s mother in CBS’s “Elvis,” and she won for “The Practice” in 1999. Sandra Oh of ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” and Elizabeth Perkins from Showtime’s “Weeds” are both first-time nominees. Ms. Oh will win, but maybe next year-if she moves into a lead category, where she should be anyway.
Jeremy Piven, who has created one of TV’s most talked-about and most copied characters in Ari “The Shark” Gold on HBO’s “Entourage,” was nominated last year, and if not for the juggernaut that is Paul Newman he might be hugging it out (bitch) on stage with a Golden Globe. Surely his time is coming (he actually makes a slimy agent-is that redundant?-likable!), but Newman’s Globe it is.
Naveen Andrews of ABC’s “Lost” has the distinct disadvantage of being in an ensemble piece in which every cast member could justifiably be nominated as well. Voter envy has been known to happen. The “why him when it could be him” factor can’t be ignored. (See Michael Imperioli of “The Sopranos” or Bradley Whitford of “The West Wing,” two actors who have repeatedly suffered similar backlashes.)
Randy Quaid didn’t play Elvis (that would have been a feat) and generally it was Ms. Manheim who stole the show as Elvis’ mama. Mr. Quaid is being nominated for the third time. He previously won as LBJ in “LBJ: The Early Years.”
Donald Sutherland of ABC’s “Commander in Chief” isn’t the president (yet), but he breathed so much life into his sinister senator (translation: He munched so much scenery it’s surprising he didn’t gain weight during the season) that he deserves a special Golden Globe. He made what could have been a treacly, so-what show something worth watching and keeping an eye on.
Mr. Sutherland does have five previous Golden Globe nominations and two wins (for the TV movies “Path to War” and “Citizen X”). He likely won’t be selected this year, but he will make it up to the podium next year. Place your bets now.