Winners talk to the press after taking the stage
While Alec Baldwin is a comedy staple and took home his second trophy for “30 Rock,” he might prefer one day to be on a national political stage than an Emmy one.“People often ask me if I’m going to run for office,” said Baldwin, a staunch Democrat. “I have a real interest in public service, but that is even more nerve-wracking than this business. … Right now the show is what I’m doing and it takes a lot of time.” As for future guest stars on the show, Baldwin said Paul McCartney is high on the list of those whom the skein is seeking to come aboard for an episode.
* * *Though cable’s “Mad Men” won its second straight drama Emmy, showrunner Matthew Weiner said that many of the night’s awards — as well as the kudocast itself — represented a triumph for television’s over-the-air gang. “I thought it was actually a pretty resounding support of broadcast TV tonight,” Weiner said. “I was pretty impressed with that.” Weiner said this was the best of the several Emmy ceremonies he has now “been lucky enough” to have been to. “CBS put on a great Emmys,” he said. “Neil (Patrick Harris) was amazing. And a broadcast network did that.”
* * *Patty Hewes isn’t exactly warm and cuddly, but Glenn Close has quite an affection for her. And don’t dare call her lawyer a bitch. “Patty isn’t evil. If she were a man, would you be saying that? I don’t feel irritated by my character,” she said. “It’s like living a novel. We’re a 21st century Dickens. We’re not making an episode but a 13-hour movie.” Does she ever have a hard time finding the right notes for a specific scene that doesn’t come naturally to her? “If I have trouble, I’ll go to my acting coach and make a total asshole of myself and give myself permission to let go.”
* * *Jon Cryer‘s first appearance before the backstage press as a comedy supporting actor Emmy winner was made awkward by a comedy bit for the CBS broadcast that interrupted his responses, but he still handled the situation with grace. Similarly, the typically self-effacing Cryer didn’t miss a beat even though a number of questions from the press were about others, such as Eye network colleagues Neil Patrick Harris and Charlie Sheen, rather than himself. “Neil Patrick Harris is killing every night,” Cryer said regarding the Emmy host and fellow nominee. “How are you going to fight that? Oh, I don’t know …” he added, jokingly scratching his head with his Emmy trophy’s wings.
* * *Kristin Chenoweth was taken by surprise when she began tearing up on stage after winning for supporting actress in a comedy. “I wasn’t expecting to cry, and wasn’t expecting to win,” Chenoweth said. “This is the most special experience in my career.” Also an acclaimed singer, Chenoweth has been tapped to judge on an episode of ‘American Idol” next season and offered this on new permanent judge Ellen DeGeneres: “I was sad that Paula left because she had a heart the show loves, but Ellen has a heart that fills that void. Ellen represents a lot of America and there’s nothing wrong with having her on that panel.”
* * *Drama supporting actor champ Michael Emerson realizes that because of the enigmatic character he plays on “Lost,” fans often don’t know what to make of him, whether walking down the street or watching him win an Emmy. “People seem to delight in being a little scared or confused,” said Emerson, who gave “Lost” its second supporting actor Emmy in three years, following castmate Terry O’Quinn’s 2007 victory. “It’s sort of a happy fiction or drama to mistake me for the character I play. It makes for interesting meetings on the boulevard … but I like how polite they are.” Emerson added that even though he seemed as collected as his character Ben, inside was another story. “I was kind of flabbergasted and disoriented,” he said. “You’re never sure if you really heard it right. What if there’s some terrible mistake, and you stood up and your friends had to pull you back down. It’d be the embarrassment of a lifetime. … So my strategy is to (appear) the coolest I can be.”
* * *Tony Award winner Cherry Jones (“Doubt”), accustomed to the intimacy of legit work, was a bit flummoxed being in the television spotlight for her role in “24.” But she’s certainly enjoying her newfound exposure. “I love TV and I didn’t think I would,” said the winner for supporting actress in a drama. “I’m a very slow study and always ask to be the last one on set so I can prepare. … TV is bigger, rooms like this are bigger and when I walked on that stage, I was just glad I don’t have to do a play on it. “And millions of people were watching me. I’m a little speechless thinking of that.”
* * *Toni Collette said she didn’t think beforehand about whether she would win the lead comedy actress Emmy, but when a reporter asked after her victory how each of her personalities from “United States of Tara” would react, Collette improvised quickly and effectively. “Alice would start polishing it, T would flash her tits and Buck would say ‘it’s all shit,’ ” Collette said.
* * *Looking back, reality host winner Jeff Probst admitted last year’s five-person host experiment was a disaster. “It was a failure, and the irony is that I’m friends with Neil Patrick Harris and I told him, ‘This is how you host a show,’ ” he said. As for “Survivor,” Probst considers himself fortunate in continuing to headline the CBS hit. “The show just works,” he said. “I got lucky to get on a good show. Mark Burnett said, ‘I trust your instincts and will never be in your ear.’ ”
* * *Shohreh Aghdashloo, miniseries/movie supporting actress winner for “House of Saddam,” was humble regarding her own triumph but hopeful that the project might take on greater significance. “I’m hoping the success of this film will bring more shows that shed more light on injustices around the world,” Aghdashloo said, “not (just) the Middle East but all around the world.” Aghdashloo was wearing a green bracelet in support of those rebelling against Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and said “House of Saddam” offered examples of “what can destroy a country.” “Shedding light on what’s been going on in the Middle East would help all of us in the United States and around the world know how to deal with the Middle East and where the misery is coming from and where the problems and the loopholes are,” she said.
* * *Bryan Cranston is getting lots of nice handouts these days, the latest being his second consecutive drama series actor Emmy for “Breaking Bad.” The irony is that he hasn’t wanted anything to be easy. “An actor is really only interested in one thing, and that’s opportunity,” Cranston said. “If you prepare to present yourself as best you can, then all you need is opportunity. “As actors, we don’t want someone to hand us a job. Just allow us to get in the room.”
* * *What will the addition of Ellen DeGeneres to the “American Idol” judging panel mean? Bruce Gowers, Emmy-winning variety, music or comedy series director of the Fox reality juggernaut barely blinked when asked. “I think there’ll be a lot more fun on the show than there was before,” Gowers said. “I think Ellen will bring her audience as well, and the ratings will be higher than they were ever.” Gowers later clarified that the show was plenty fun with now-departed judge-cheerleader Paula Abdul, but seemed to have as much enthusiasm about DeGeneres as he did for winning his Emmy. “I think you can look forward to the unexpected,” he said, “because Ellen is always doing the unexpected. Perhaps you will see her working more with the audience like she
does on her show. We’re prepared for anything.”
* * *“Little Dorrit” director Andrew Davies and his colleagues had 72 parts to cast on his way to winning the miniseries Emmy. Rebecca Eaton, exec producer of PBS’ “Masterpiece,” said there’s a growing acceptance of British talent in the U.S. that extends beyond traditionally Blighty-infused programming like hers. “I think what British theater and film and television does is keep a fabulous pipeline that (the U.S.) is just beginning to appreciate beyond ‘Masterpiece Theater,’ ” Eaton said. “And, they understand the accents more.”
* * *Jessica Lange split screen time with Drew Barrymore in “Grey Gardens,” but it was Lange who captured voters’ attention for her role as Big Edie. Still, she was quick to acknowledge her co-star in helping deliver the winning telepic. “As I inarticulately expressed on stage, half of this was hers. It was a true two-hander and you can’t separate the characters from the performers,” Lange said. “An alchemy that happens with certain actors is not common, so you feel blessed when it does. We bonded in a way you can’t act. That’s what made these characters sing.”
* * *You wouldn’t think someone would need tips on how to speak like Winston Churchill, much less an actor the caliber of Brendan Gleeson, but the lead acting winner for a miniseries or movie made a point of thanking his dialogue coach, Joan Washington. Gleeson said he practiced with Washington for two weeks before rehearsals for “Into the Storm” began, saying that “trying to correlate my pitch and the pitch of Winston Churchill was the first building block.” “It was the one I was scared of the most,” Gleeson said. “The challenge was how he spoke with his wife. … We had to create a voice that was credible and was obviously the same person as the man making those iconic speeches … but was more human. People don’t speak the same way to their wives as they do in their speeches — unless they’re in the mood.”