Golden Globes: Best Performance in a Dramatic Television Series

Jan 16, 2006  •  Post A Comment

By Brad Pomerance

Special to TelevisionWeek

While the Emmy Awards are infamous for delaying recognition of outstanding television performers in critically acclaimed roles, “The Globe voters like hot new rookies. They are not afraid of going for the newbies and unknowns. They see it as part of their job to help the breakouts,” said Tom O’Neil, columnist for the Los Angeles Times awards site theenvelope.com.

Consider the nominations this year for Best Performance by an Actor in a Dramatic Series. “The Globes voters are all about heat and buzz, and this category has more of it than any other,” said Kristin Veitch, E! Online television columnist. In fact, the Globes did not duplicate a single nomination from last year’s list. Boy, heat and buzz must lose their sizzle pretty fast.

At the same time, four of the five nominees in 2005 hailed from younger cable programs-FX’s “Nip/Tuck” (Julian McMahon), “Rescue Me” (Denis Leary) and “The Shield” (Michael Chiklis) and HBO’s “Deadwood” (Ian McShane)-while in 2006 four of the five nominees appear in newer broadcast shows-Patrick Dempsey from ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy,” Matthew Fox from ABC’s “Lost,” Hugh Laurie from Fox’s “House” and Wentworth Miller from Fox’s “Prison Break.” These four buzzworthy performances are seen in series that at their oldest are in the middle of their second season.

Oh yes, there is Kiefer Sutherland’s perennial nomination for “24.” “The Globes have gone too Kiefer-crazy in recent years,” Mr. O’Neil said. “Kiefer is such a Globe darling that I remember attending the Globes two years ago and I observed that he was literally the last person to leave the ballroom.”

Then again, when did the Hollywood Foreign Press Association hand Mr. Sutherland his only Globe win out of his three prior nominations? During his freshman year on the series.

Consider other similarities among the nominees. “Patrick Dempsey, Matthew Fox and Hugh Laurie all play doctors, two by the name of Dr. Shephard, which shows that the Hollywood Foreign Press has a certain affection for physicians, especially when they also happen to make good eye candy,” Ms. Veitch said.

And we cannot forget Wentworth Miller’s breakout performance in “Prison Break.” “Wentworth Miller keeps the insanity of the ‘Prison Break’ plots grounded, while Hugh Laurie makes ‘House’ worth watching as the unstable center. Neither series would work as well-heck, at all-without these standout stars,” said Rob Owen, television editor for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and president of the Television Critics Association.

As with the men, the HFPA chose to nominate female stars for Best Performance by an Actress in a Dramatic Series mainly from newer series-including three freshmen programs, with Geena Davis from “Commander in Chief,” Kyra Sedgwick from “The Closer” and Polly Walker from “Rome.” Like the men, not one of the nominees repeats from last year’s nominations, although “Glenn Close [nominated for “The Shield”] and Patricia Arquette [nominated for “Medium”] are going head to head for the second time, and in the last go-round, the outcome was surprising. Close was defeated by Arquette at the Emmys,” Ms. Veitch said.

Unlike the men, most of these actresses have to be considered heavyweight veterans in Hollywood. “Geena Davis has won an Oscar and has garnered five Globe nominations. Glenn Close has five Oscar nominations, eight Globe nominations and one Globe win under her belt. Patricia Arquette won the Emmy last year and is Hollywood royalty. Kyra Sedgwick is a movie star,” Mr. O’Neil said.

In the past, men nominated in the best dramatic actor category often played tough cops-Mr. Chiklis in “The Shield,” Anthony LaPaglia in “Without a Trace” or William Peterson in “CSI.” This year two performers have been nominated for playing police officers, but they are not men.

“Interesting that there are two tough cops in the best actress category-Glenn Close and Kyra Sedgwick-more than in the best actor category. And they’re my favorites here,” said David Kronke, television critic for the Los Angeles Daily News.