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Writer: Drama

Uncertain end could bedevil 'Sopranos'

“The Sopranos” dominates the drama series’ writing category, an imposing achievement considering the competition.

Sure, three nominations might seem like overkill when there are other shows that could have made the cut — “Friday Night Lights,” “Deadwood,” “The Wire” and “The Shield” are just some examples — but “Sopranos” showrunner David Chase and his team are worthy of being the writing category’s bellwether.

Still, “Lost,” which many thought should’ve received a drama series nomination, gets a small dose of vindication here. Exec producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse penned the season’s staggeringly well-executed two-hour finale, where the castaways turn the tables on the manipulating Others.

“Battlestar Galactica” creator Ronald D. Moore, the fifth nominee, is a dedicated sci-fi junkie, having written numerous post-Capt. Kirk “Star Trek” episodes as well as producing for the WB’s “Roswell” and HBO’s “Carnivale.” “Battlestar” has been a critical fave for years but has never busted out of the genre into the audience (or Emmy) mainstream.

A win here for Moore would be a huge lift for those who have championed the show since it launched three seasons ago, and vindication for fans who felt “Battlestar” was more analogous to real-life societal values and conundrums than anything that might or might not have happened millions of light years from Earth.

David Chase
Show: “The Sopranos”
Episode: “Made in America”
Kudos pedigree as writer: Chase won Emmys in 1999 and 2003 for “Sopranos” and 1980 for the telepic “Off the Minnesota Strip.”
On the resume: Chase wrote for ABC’s “Kolchak: The Night Stalker” in the mid-’70s, before moving on to “The Rockford Files.”
Memorable scene from nominated episode: Just before the screen goes black, the Sopranos aren’t saying much but communicating through knowing and familiar glances. With little or no dialogue, the characters said everything while saying nothing.
Why he may win: While the other writers on “Sopranos” are supremely talented, this has always been Chase’s show and vision.
Maybe not: Acknowledging the writers behind either “Lost” or “Battlestar” is a distinct possibility if voters don’t want to get too “Sopranos” heavy.

Damon Lindelof, Carlton Cuse
Show: “Lost”
Episode: “Through the Looking Glass”
Kudos pedigree as writers: Lindelof and Cuse won the Writers’ Guild Award for best drama series for “Lost” and also received an Emmy nom in 2006.
On the resume: The two met on “Nash Bridges,” which was Lindelof’s first primetime series before moving over to “Crossing Jordan.” Cuse also wrote for “The Adventures of Brisco County Jr.”
Memorable scene from nominated episode: Just as the Others are holding several castaways captive, Hurley comes roaring through on his beaten-down VW van and runs over the bad guys.
Why they may win: Also acting as exec producers, Lindelof and Cuse took some critical shots during the season, but then all seemed forgiven in May.
Maybe not: The textured layers of “Lost” may be difficult for voters not familiar with the show to comprehend.

Ronald D. Moore
Show: “Battlestar Galactica”
Episode: “Occupation/Precipice”
Kudos pedigree as writer: Moore was nominated for a Writers Guild Award earlier this year for “Battlestar.”
On the resume: He’s penned “Carnivale,” “Roswell,” “Star Trek: Voyager” and “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.”
Memorable scene from nominated episode: Starbuck (Katee Sackhoff), held in a surreal simulacrum of domesticity by a Cylon who is in love with her, kills her captor time after time — only to have him download into a new body and resume his courtship of her.
Why he may win: “Battlestar,” nearly shut out of every other major category, has a small but very vocal fan base. By emphasizing the quality of the show, critical influence may seep into voters’ minds.
Maybe not: The lack of other noms for the series indicates there’s probably not as much support among voters as there is in the fan community.

Matthew Weiner, David Chase
Show: “The Sopranos”
Episode: “Kennedy and Heidi”
Kudos pedigree as writer: Weiner won the 2007 WGA Award for “The Sopranos” as best series and received a 2004 Emmy nom.
On the resume: Weiner, who’s currently penning AMC’s “Mad Men,” wrote for “Becker” before moving on to “The Sopranos.”
Memorable scene from nominated episode: Christopher and Tony are driving one night when the car suddenly swerves, flips over and Christopher is badly hurt. Tony then decides to hold Christopher’s nose, which forces him to choke on his own blood and suffocate.
Why they may win: Christopher’s death was rumored for several seasons before it finally happened, and the stark manner in which Tony did the deed was a seminal moment and smartly executed.
Maybe not: It’s nearly impossible to separate the quality of the three nominated “Sopranos” episodes, but the finale certainly lingers in voters’ minds more than the other two.

Terence Winter
Show: “The Sopranos”
Episode: “The Second Coming”
Kudos pedigree as writer: He won the Emmy last year for the series’ “Members Only” episode and in 2004 for “Long Term Parking,” when Adriana was killed. Winter also has won two WGA Awards and received two other Emmy writing noms.
On the resume: He started his career writing for children, including the shows “Sister, Sister,” “The Cosby Mysteries” and “Flipper.”
Memorable scene from nominated episode: A.J. tries to commit suicide, falling into his swimming pool with a cinder block attached to his leg. Quickly, Tony jumps in and rescues him.
Why he may win: Weiner was hugely responsible for A.J.’s final-season arc, and those who feel especially connected to that storyline could be inclined to vote his way.
Maybe not: See entry above.

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