I had a lot of gripes about the outstanding series nominees, and while I’m not as upset about the actors nominated for their roles in drama series, I am disappointed by some of the names that aren’t on the list.
Lead Actress in a Drama Series:
Patricia Arquette (Medium)
Minnie Driver (The Riches)
Edie Falco (The Sopranos)
Sally Field (Brothers & Sisters)
Mariska Hargitay (Law & Order: SVU)
Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer)
Only one of my choices made it onto this short list – Sally Field. And she’s very deserving for her portrayal of Nora the matriarch on Brothers and Sisters. Another deserving mom? Connie Britton – for playing the most realistic mother and wife on television – Tami on Friday Night Lights. She would have been my pick to win in this category! Edie Falco is there, probably because she deserves it, but also because of the Emmy rule to honor shows and actors in their final season. I was surprised to see Minnie Driver recognized for her role on The Riches. It seems a bit of an overkill to have three law enforcement characters represented (Arquette, Hargitay, Sedgwick). I guess the Emmys want to recognize female empowerment. Well, in that case, what is more empowering than a president of the entire human race? Yes, I believe Mary McDonnell as (former) President Roslin on Battlestar Galactica is equally impressive, if not more so, than all of these women’s roles. But why would the Academy recognize a quality sci-fi show when they can shower praise on the more popular Heroes? (Remember, I love Heroes, but it pales in comparison to Battlestar Galactica.)
So, to sum up my opinion, if I had my way I would have replaced Patricia Arquette and Mariska Hargitay with Connie Britton and Mary McDonnell.
Lead Actor in a Drama Series:
James Gandolfini (The Sopranos)
Hugh Laurie (House)
Denis Leary (Rescue Me)
James Spader (Boston Legal)
Kiefer Sutherland (24)
Gandolfini – a given. Laurie – quite deserving. Denis Leary – probably equally deserving. After that, things get dicey. I can’t imagine that James Spader does much dramatic acting on Boston Legal, so why is he nominated in this category ahead of some truly dynamic, intense roles, such as Edward James Olmos’ Captain Adama on Battlestar Galactica, or the utterly believable Kyle Chandler as Coach Eric Taylor on Friday Night Lights? Well, I guess I answered my own question about Captain Adama when I talked about Mary McDonnell, but I can see no excuse for leaving Chandler off of this list. Coach Taylor seems like the role he was born to play, and he deserves recognition for the fine job he has done. The final nominee, Kiefer Sutherland, is a respectable choice, and I am a huge fan of 24. However, I think another Jack was more worthy of this final space (by the way, why not add a sixth spot here like for the actresses?) – Matthew Fox’s Jack Shepherd on Lost. Sure, many fans hated him this season, but that’s because he portrayed Jack the way he was supposed to – the leader turning his back on his people, losing their trust, and ultimately feeling such desperation and guilt that he feels like he must single-handedly remedy their ominous and impending fate. Now how did Jack Bauer compete with that this season?
In summary, I am okay with everyone on this list except Spader and Sutherland, who have both had their turn in the spotlight. Maybe next year there will be a place for Matthew Fox or Kyle Chandler, but the way the Academy members’ minds seem to work, I won’t count on it.
Supporting Actress in a Drama Series:
Rachel Griffiths (Brothers & Sisters)
Katherine Heigl (Grey’s Anatomy)
Chandra Wilson (Grey’s Anatomy)
Sandra Oh (Grey’s Anatomy)
Aida Turturro (The Sopranos)
Lorraine Bracco (The Sopranos)
The token final season nominations for two Sopranos supporting players aren’t surprising. I had Sandra Oh and Chandra Wilson on my Dream Ballot, so I was happy to see them make the actual list (and hope that Chandra Wilson wins this category for her powerful and commanding portrayal of Bailey). I’ve even enjoyed Rachel Griffith’s character on Brothers and Sisters. So overall, I am okay with these nominees. The only one that I question is Katherine Heigl. I think she’s a terrific actress, but her character wasn’t given as much to work with this season as were Sandra Oh and Chandra Wilson with their characters. Was it really necessary to give half of these slots to Grey’s Anatomy? There are plenty of other deserving actresses. My preference would have been for Elizabeth Mitchell to take Heigl’s place here. She was fantastically ambiguous as Juliet on Lost.
I really do hope that Chandra Wilson wins this award, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Academy gives it to Lorraine Bracco since it’s her last chance.
Supporting Actor in a Drama Series:
William Shatner (Boston Legal)
Masi Oka (Heroes)
T.R. Knight (Grey’s Anatomy)
Michael Emerson (Lost)
Terry O’Quinn (Lost)
Michael Imperioli (The Sopranos)
This is probably the category that the Academy got most right. How satisfying to see not one, but two nominees from Lost! Terry O’Quinn and Michael Emerson were both on my Dream Ballot, for their riveting performances this season on Lost, as we finally learned the truth about Locke’s emotionally (and physically) scarring past and the source of motivation and level of deviousness (or insanity?) of Ben Linus. I’m also happy to see Masi Oka, whose enthusiasm was a breath of fresh air on Heroes, and T.R. Knight, who always does a good job as George on Grey’s Anatomy (even though I didn’t like where the show took his character this season). Then there’s the expected Sopranos nominee – nothing to complain about there. That leaves perennial Emmy favorite William Shatner, who seems to always be nominated. I can’t fault the Academy too much, since they did manage to put a few new faces in this category, but still I would much rather have seen one more fresh face instead of Shatner’s. My choice? James Callis, for his multi-faceted portrayal of the sometimes desperate, sometimes arrogant, always slightly insane Gaius Baltar on Battlestar Galactica. But, as we’ve sadly seen, nominating a Sci-Fi Network series in the acting categories is apparently the same in the Academy’s eyes as nominating actors from The CW (although there’s nothing on The CW that even comes close to Battlestar’s quality).
So, I give props to the Emmy committee for acknowledging so many fine actors in this category. They had best not give this award to Shatner, though! I’m hoping for a Michael Emerson win, because I truly think he deserves it.
Guest Actress in a Drama Series:
Kate Burton (Grey’s Anatomy)
Elizabeth Reaser (Grey’s Anatomy)
Marcia Gay Harden (Law & Order: SVU)
Leslie Caron (Law & Order: SVU)
Jean Smart (24)
I don’t keep up with guest appearances too much, but I was surprised that Jean Smart made the list since she had such a small role on this season’s 24. I suppose it was memorable, but also a bit campy. I always thought Kate Burton did an excellent job as Meredith’s Alzheimer’s ravaged mother. I’d like to see her win, although Elizabeth Reaser is probably the more highly favored to win from Grey’s Anatomy.
Guest Actor in a Drama Series:
Christian Clemenson (Boston Legal)
Forest Whitaker (ER)
David Morse (House)
Tim Daly (The Sopranos)
John Goodman (Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip)
Eli Wallach (Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip)
The only one of these performances that I caught was David Morse on House. In my opinion, his character was rather dull, and couldn’t have been very interesting for him to play. So I doubt he will win over some of these others. I would expect Forest Whitaker to take this trophy, because even though I didn’t see the episode, I remember the buzz about his appearance on ER.
- A Nightmare on Emmy Street: Dissecting the Horrific Nominations
- Eclaire’s Dream Emmy Ballot
- Eclaire’s Dream Emmy Ballot: Part 2
Check back soon for my thoughts on the nominees for acting in comedy series.