Expect the Unexpected in Emmy Nominations

Jun 4, 2007  •  Post A Comment

When the nominations for the 59th annual Primetime Emmy Awards are announced July 19, will we see the usual suspects garnering all the recognition or is this the year the newcomers break through and dominate the news?
“It’s hard to say, because the Emmys are always so full of surprises,” said Michael Ausiello, columnist for TV Guide. “Last year was such a departure from previous years, when you saw an actor like Christopher Meloni from ‘Law & Order: SVU’ get a nomination from out of left field. And then ‘Desperate Housewives’ got shut out, which was a big surprise.
“But I think the surprises this year might be the newcomers getting recognized. New blood. Shows like ‘Ugly Betty’ and ’30 Rock.'”
If surprises are in order for the Primetime Emmy nominations, one of the biggest may be Fox’s hit drama “24” being shut out. “I predict that last year’s winner, ’24,’ will not be among the nominees,” said Wesley Hyatt, author of “Emmy Award Winning Nighttime Television Shows, 1948-2004.” “There is a definite backlash to serialized dramas in general this year, and this one took its fair share of lumps as being a letdown from last year.”
“This will be a really good test to see how closely Emmy voters pay attention to what is actually going on on TV,” said Mr. Ausiello, agreeing with Mr. Hyatt. “’24,’ in my opinion, shouldn’t get any nominations this year. It doesn’t deserve it. Last year, it deserved to win. Kiefer [Sutherland] deserved to win for best actor. He was on the top of his game. But this was probably the weakest season yet for ’24.’ I don’t think it’s going to get any nominations.”
Part of the problem facing Emmy voters may be the volume of excellent programs to honor with nominations. Goldderby.com lists more than a dozen dramas that could vie for the drama series Emmy this year: “Boston Legal,” “Brothers and Sisters,” “The Closer,” “Deadwood,” “Dexter,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Heroes,” “House,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “Lost,” “Medium,” “Rescue Me,” “The Riches,” “The Shield,” “The Sopranos,” “The Tudors” and the aforementioned “24.” Highest-rated on the Web site is the Peabody Award-winning NBC newcomer “Friday Night Lights.”
“My main expectation and hope is that ‘Friday Night Lights’ sneaks in,” said Mr. Ausiello. “That’s a show that to me is producing some of the best TV anywhere, but it’s low-rated. I always root for the shows that I have a feeling aren’t going to get recognized. It’s not a blockbuster by any means and it’s a new show.
“The Emmys, traditionally, take a few years to catch up and recognize those newer shows, but I’m really pulling for it, and [for] Kyle Chandler, who I think has given the performance of the year as the coach, [and] also Connie Britton, who plays his wife.”
Three of the most talked-about shows from the past year have been NBC’s comic book success “Heroes” and two former drama series winners, “Lost” and “The Sopranos.” How will they fare in the nominations?
“‘Heroes’ is a lock for Masi Oka as supporting actor, but shows like this with very large casts generally wind up with fewer nominations than you would think. I do believe it will get a drama series nomination,” said Mr. Hyatt. “However, it is a drama with fantasy elements, which rarely does well with Emmy voters. ‘Lost’ in 2005 was the only time a show in the genre won.”
“Because it’s so unique and so different, I can see the Emmys giving ‘Heroes’ a best show nomination. It’s a very well-produced show,” said Mr. Ausiello. “They could get writing and directing nominations as well. But I think ‘Lost’ has been much better than people have made it out to be. … Yes, the ratings have been down, but creatively ‘Lost’ is as strong, if not stronger, than ever. The two-hour finale may be some of the best television I have ever seen.”
“Nominations for writing and directing look certain, as well as a few for actors, like Matthew Fox and Terry O’Quinn,” said Mr. Hyatt. “And as disappointing as the show could be at times this season, when ‘Lost’ is great, there are few shows on TV that can match it, and I think Emmy voters will be more likely to give it a shot.”
For HBO, this year marks the end of “The Sopranos,” a perennial Emmy favorite. Will Emmy shower the show with a plethora of nominations? “I think it will probably win drama series, and its reputation as one of the greatest TV series remains intact,” said Mr. Hyatt. “The other likely competition are shows that have been on the air only a couple of years at most (“House,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Brothers and Sisters,” “Heroes”), giving it an edge in seniority that often works with Emmy voters. Also, lead actor James Gandolfini, lead actress Edie Falco and, if she is listed as supporting, Lorraine Bracco are likely nominees.”
Mr. Ausiello concurs. “You can expect ‘The Sopranos’ to do pretty well,” he said. “The tough part for them has been turning the nominations into wins as far as the show goes. The actors have won a lot, but the show has only won once. I really don’t believe that the Emmys will give the show an award just because this is the last season. It’ll come down to the work.”
Come nomination day, one thing for sure is that there’ll be some head scratchers, like “House” getting a drama series nomination last year when its star, Hugh Laurie, was overlooked.
“The Emmys will always have a couple of embarrassing nominations if not wins, like last year, with Ellen Burstyn’s 11-second, two-line role in the TV movie ‘Mrs. Harris’ getting a supporting actress in a movie or miniseries nod,” said Mr. Hyatt.
“Hugh Laurie is a slam-dunk for a nomination. He’ll sneak back in there this year,” said Mr. Ausiello. “Still, the Emmys always frustrate me. I remember last year I didn’t understand how a show like ‘The Shield’ got completely shut out, which I think is one of the best shows on TV. But I always go into it optimistically. The real gauge for me this year is if ‘Friday Night Lights’ puts up a good showing.”

Your Comment

Email (will not be published)