Nominees spill on the thrill of being honored
Reactions to the 59th annual Primetime Emmy nominations:“Ugly Betty” star America Ferrera is making history with her nomination. “It is really wonderful and exciting for a lot of reasons but especially because this is the first time ever that a Latina has been nominated in this category for lead actress for an Emmy. It goes beyond just excitement for me.”
* * *Broadcast telepics are becoming less relevant, but don’t tell that to Tom Selleck, who received a nom for his title role in “Jesse Stone: Sea Change.” “CBS wanted me to do a movie but I didn’t want to do a network TV movie. There’s a sameness to them. Feature films play great on TV, so we tried to do the anti-TV movie that looked like a theatrical release. They took a leap with us and I feel grateful. It was atypical of them but they stuck with it. “I’m very proud of these movies and my work in them.”
* * *Drama actor nominee Denis Leary, who stars, writes and exec produces “Rescue Me,” says acting is always the most difficult of the three endeavors. “In some regards I’d rather move a pile of rocks than do a really big dramatic scene,” said Leary, who, as a standup, is naturally more comfortable partaking in the funny stuff that happens between the firemen.
* * *Julia Louis-Dreyfus didn’t let a little jetlag stop her from celebrating her nod for “The New Adventures of Old Christine.” “I actually just got off a plane in Paris and the message was on machine,” she says. “We were giving each other high fives in the baggage claim and all the French people were looking at us like what are those Americans doing.” The thesp plans to celebrate her nomination in style. “We already had a glass of champagne and later we are going to go up the Eiffel Tower.”
* * *Kyra Sedgwick was one of the only nominees who had to celebrate her win in front of an audience as she was on hand at the Academy’s Leonard H. Goldenson Theatre Thursday morning to announce the winners. “It was kind of nauseating,” she says of the experience. “Beforehand I thought this is torturous why did I decide to do this? But it was also very exciting.”
* * *Anna Paquin, nominated for supporting actress for her role in HBO’s “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee,” says being able to attend the Emmys as an adult is something she is looking forward to. “I haven’t done the whole awards show since I was a baby so I am looking forward to staying out late,” she says. “It will be a lot more fun now that I am not 11.”
* * *Walter Hill received a nom for his work on AMC’s “Broken Trail” after winning three years ago for his helming on the pilot of “Deadwood.” “The happiest thing about all this to me is that it’s good for Westerns. It shows that they can find an audience and they’re capable of getting attention as serious drama.”
* * *“Entourage” creator Doug Ellin says he wrote fellow Emmy nominee Martin Landau’s role especially for him. “I took him to dinner to convince him to do it. I don’t even know what number award this is for him but it is just great.” Ellin says he and the Entourage gang plan to celebrate their nods by hitting the links.
* * *Chuck Lorre, creator and exec producer of comedy series nom “Two and a Half Men,” feels fortunate “to be included in the party.” Yet he doesn’t let the nod define the success of the show. “I try to direct my attention away from it, and I’ve learned expectations are buildings blocks of resentment. I just try to enjoy it and I know it’s terrific for the show.” On the fact that “Men” is the only comedy nom with a traditional studio audience, Lorre added, “I don’t put a lot of attention on the format. If it makes you laugh, it’s comedy.”
* * *Putting your ego on the line paid off for William Shatner who was not only nominated for “Boston Legal” but also for his Comedy Central Roast. “It was an act of courage to put myself on the line like that and be roasted in that matter and it can be quite a blow to the ego. I did it because it was a new experience and I thought I would take a chance. I didn’t realize that halfway through the show I would be thinking what have I done? That act of fool heartiness has turned out to be a good guess.”
* * *Mary-Louise Parker is going to celebrate her two Emmy nominations the old fashion way, by going to Disneyland. “I am taking my boy to Disneyland and now I will have a good excuse to have more cotton candy.”
* * *“My Name Is Earl” actress Jaime Pressly is vacationing in Bermuda, meaning she didn’t have to get up before the sun rose to watch the noms being announced. “It’s always a surprise,” she said. “TV is such a crapshoot in general, and with there being so many new shows, you never know, but I’m at a loss for words for Jason. I don’t understand why he doesn’t get nominated. He’s Earl.”
* * *“The phone started jumping next to my nightstand this morning, publicists, agents and managers were calling,” Chandra Wilson said about learning of her nomination. “I thought, oh, I guess this means I have to get up now.”
* * *“Awesome!” That would be how Barney Stinson, Neil Patrick Harris’ character on “How I Met Your Mother,” would describe Harris’ supporting actor nomination, the first for the actor who’s has now officially shed his “Doogie Howser” persona with TV auds. “It feels good but you don’t want to revel in it too much,” Harris said.
* * *Getting nominated for her role in ABC’s “Brothers & Sisters” won’t stop Rachel Griffiths from getting her hands dirty. “I will probably be celebrating with a worm farm. My children ordered one and it is supposed to arrive today,” she said. “Our ladybugs got here yesterday.”
* * *Supporting actor nominee Kevin Dillon may be thanking Variety in his acceptance speech if he takes home the kudos. “The episode we sent in for consideration is the one that takes place in the Variety offices. It was so cool to be able to use the real offices,” Dillon said of the episode in which his character, Drama, yells at a TV critic over a bad review. “That is kind of where it all it started. It showed a side to Drama that you don’t get to see all that often.
* * *Sally Field got a nice surprise this morning when her 19-year-old son came rushing into her bedroom. “He threw the door open and said, ‘you’ve been nominated.’” The concept of family is also something she touches on when speaking about her “Brothers & Sisters” cast. “We are very much a family on that set and it is a special group that is telling interesting stories about something we are all involved in, which is family.”
* * *Tim Daly has finally earned his Emmy wings. The longtime actor who never seems to have a shortage of work was taken by surprise by the news Thursday morning. “I was totally oblivious to it. I was driving to work and saw a message on my cell phone and trying to figure out what was going on. When I found out I was nominated, I didn’t even know what it was for.” Daly earned his kudo fame by getting whacked by Michael Imperioli in one of the final episodes of “The Sopranos.” “I’ve known David Chase for a long time. He had this yearly ritual where he would call and say, I want you to do this part., And then he would say, No, you don’t want to do this part.’ Eventually he just wrote me a part. I owe him a great deal of gratitude.”
* * *Drama actress nominee Minnie Driver (“The Riches”) laughs when her film-actress friends moan about their workload. “They say to me, ‘We have to do two pages today.’ I tell them we have nine pages of dialogue and have to work 17 hours in a day. It’s insane,” Driver said about her job as a woman who completely changes her identity in FX’s “The Riches.”
* * *Being a woman on “Two and a Half Men” allows comedy supporting actress nominee Holland Taylor to be bad. Very bad. “The women on this show are the source of all evil, which is fun to play. We’re responsible for all character flaws,” she said. Sometimes, her character is so downright dour, she needs to check in with exec producer Chuck Lorre to make sure she’s supposed to be so evil. “He always says run with it.”
* * *Jim Broadbent, who received a BAFTA last month for his role as Lord Longford in HBO’s “Longford” said he is grateful that the American Academy recognized the film. “It is a rather serious film about a serious subject. It is not the sort of film that would be a crowd pleaser,” he said of his lead actor Emmy nod.
* * *With “The Sopranos” ending, Emmy nominee Aida Turturro says this year’s awards will be a bit sentimental. “It is such a nice little bonus because you think the show is over and now this brings us back together again,” she says. “Just being with the family and knowing that the show lives on a little longer is really something special.”
* * *Wanda Sykes wasn’t thinking about the Emmys when her dog started barking at 6 a.m. “I looked at my Blackberry and the header was ‘Get your ass up.” The subtle message from friend Liz Stanton was to alert Sykes she’d just been nominated for her stand-up special, “Wanda Sykes: Sick and Tired,” on HBO. Despite being a regular on “The New Adventures of Old Christine,” Sykes isn’t ready to get off the stage. I love doing stand-up,” she said. “I don’t see myself letting that go.”
* * *David E. Kelley did a double take when he read “Boston Legal” had received an Emmy nomination. “I thought it was a misprint,” he said. “I saw it online. We were all very surprised and very thrilled.” The show’s stars, James Spader and William Shatner also received noms, which Kelley says is well earned. “I am biased but I obviously feel they deserve it. The carry us both dramatically and comedically.” As for what this means for the ABC drama Kelley would only say, “Nobody knows. It can’t hurt but it hasn’t saved dying shows and the lack of noms hasn’t hobbled successful shows. But it certainly is a boost to morale.”
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A chance at winning almost anything excites “The Office’s” Rainn Wilson. “I haven’t won something since I got a Sting poster in a raffle in1986,” explains the thesp. So if he does win, he is prepared to take good care of his Emmy statue. “I am going to build a shrine for it, better yet, I will build an entire wing on my house and only put my Emmy in it.” While Wilson is enjoying his nomination, he knows his character, Dwight, would handle a nod a bit differently. “I think he would say they should form some sort of a system that measures how hard actors work by calculating the hours they put in, time away from family, manual labor, and then he would find they should give all awards to Jack Bauer.”
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Kate Jacobs and David Shore, exec producers of drama nominee “House,” are constantly moving the pieces of the show around, all the while keeping Hugh Laurie as the center square. “Everything is changing on our show. It all comes out of House’s character,” says Jacobs. And they’re quick to credit supporting players such as Robert Sean Leonard and Lisa Edelstein, who help play ying to House’s yang. “You mention Hugh, and that’s the way we’re thought of but we like to think of ourselves as an ensemble, each character dysfunctional in his or her own way.”
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Jon Cryer began four years ago on “Two and a Half Men, but it only seems now voters are recognizing his contributions to the series for which he was nominated for supporting actor this year and last. “The show changed a little bit over the past few seasons. It’s just about awareness,” said Cryer, who arrived at the TV Academy headquarters at 4 a.m. before reading the noms with Kyra Sedgwick 90 minutes later. “It’s the same thing with ‘Raymond.’ Some shows are ‘Ugly Betty’ and storm out of the gate and others, like ours, take a while.”
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Marcia Gay Harden is an Oscar winner who’s now graduated to the Emmy club with a nom for her guest role in “Law & Order: SVU.” Living in the secluded Catskills section of New York, Harden was fishing on a lake with her daughter when she got the news from her publicist. “I got a phone call and thought something was terribly wrong. When I found out, my daughter’s fishing pole flew from my hand and fell into the lake.”