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Supporting Actress: Drama

Shades of 'Grey' for ABC's hospital gal pals

The ladies of “Grey’s Anatomy” dominate the supporting actress in a drama category, and it’d be far from a stretch to say at least two of those women — Katherine Heigl and Sandra Oh — rose to high dramatics last season.

Heigl’s Izzy Stevens began the year dealing with the death of husband-to-be Denny Duquette by baking muffins and ended it by having an affair with married man and best friend George O’Malley.

Oh endured a tumultuous seasonlong relationship and was left standing at the alter as Isiah Washington’s Dr. Burke said goodbye to her, seeing her trepidation at spending a life together.

Also on “Grey’s,” but in a much more subdued — though by no means less well-executed — role, was nominee Chandra Wilson, whose classy Dr. Bailey, try as she might, aims to lessen the hysteria that always seems to permeate the halls of Seattle Grace.

Aida Turturro was only in a handful of “Sopranos” episodes these past few months, but even in limited scenes, she had the ability to not only raise the ire of onscreen brother Tony, but of watchers who can see through her scheming ways. Turturro managed to do so much with fewer scenes than most of her castmates.

And Aussie Rachel Griffiths seamlessly flowed from “Six Feet Under” to “Brothers & Sisters,” moving from scattered sexaholic Brenda Chenowith to solid citizen and breadwinner Sarah Whedon, a model mom who does her best to keep the family business afloat.

Lorraine Bracco
Show: “The Sopranos”
Emmy pedigree: Four noms
Best scene: Her unease with counseling Tony Soprano reaching a breaking point, Bracco’s Dr. Melfi parts ways with the Mob boss in severe, unmistakable terms.
Why she may win: She has been a bridesmaid more than any of her fellow nominees, and going back to her 1991 Oscar nom for “Goodfellas” will have the most history with a number of her voting colleagues.
Maybe not: Her role diminished by the final season of “The Sopranos,” Bracco won’t have the heat that Griffiths and the “Grey’s Anatomy” gang have generated.

Rachel Griffiths
Show: “Brothers & Sisters”
Emmy pedigree: Two noms
Best scene: In “Bad News,” Sarah and Joe have a heart to heart about why their marriage is falling apart and can’t be saved.
Why she may win: Some could argue Griffiths never got her just due on HBO’s brilliant funeral drama “Six Feet Under” and with her role here, in which the New York Times calls her “mesmerizing,” voters may want to make amends.
Maybe not: The show started slowly — the pilot had to be reshot very close to the air date — but built up steam as the season went along. Yet even with strong ratings, it’s still not on an awareness level with “Grey’s.”

Katherine Heigl
Show: “Grey’s Anatomy”
Emmy pedigree: First nom
Best scene: Trying to help a dying patient who was badly hurt in a ferry accident in the “Drowning on Dry Land” episode, Izzy must perform a difficult, life-saving procedure on him under the worst of circumstances. She does the usual Izzy “I can’t handle this” freak-out but, with the help of the victim’s friends, gathers her composure to get the job done.
Why she may win: Heigl has little difficulty reaching Izzy’s highest highs and lowest lows. Showrunner Shonda Rhimes puts a lot of pressure on Heigl to carry many intense storylines, and she’s up to the challenge.
Maybe not: There are times when Izzy becomes completely irrational during crisis situations, which may bother some. And just a thought, but with “Knocked Up” receiving raves and doing so well at the box office, will voters consider her a movie star now and hold that against her?

Sandra Oh
Show: “Grey’s Anatomy”
Emmy pedigree: Two noms
Best scene: As Meredith lay near death at Seattle Grace Hospital (“Some Kind of Miracle”) after falling into the water, a determined and teary-eyed Christine stands over her best friend and, brimming with emotion, tells Meredith she can’t die because, then, who would she share all her stories with?
Why she may win: This being her third nomination for “Grey’s,” it’s obvious voters are enamored of her work. At some point, all those noms should translate to a win, right?
Maybe not: Tough to say if having three “Grey’s” nominees in this category hurts or helps their individual chances, but a split vote among the actresses is a distinct possibility.

Aida Turturro
Show: “The Sopranos”
Emmy pedigree: One nom
Best scene: In “Soprano Home Movies,” Janice and Bobby sit on the lake chatting up with Tony and Carm. Without any action to speak of, it’s a beautiful portrait of who these people are, and how they’e chosen to live their lives, especially when Janice gives Tony a verbal jab.
Why she may win: If “Sopranos” adulation begins and the series starts dominating the categories, Turturro might very well be part of the landslide.
Maybe not: Unlike the other nominees, who are virtually in every episode of their respective series, Turturro was just in a couple of episodes during the last season.

Chandra Wilson
Show: “Grey’s Anatomy”
Emmy pedigree: One nom
Best scene: Somebody’s underwear is hanging on the wall of the surgical unit in “I Am a Tree” and Dr. Bailey is yelling at her residents, trying to figure out whose they are.
Why she may win: Her SAG Award last year raised her profile in the kudos community and her character, who is such a rock and most level-headed on the show, always has the right thing to say.
Maybe not: When it comes to Emmy, sometimes being flashy and some might say over the top — especially in the submitted episode — is better than being consistently good.

Correction:
Emmy nominee Lorraine Bracco was mistakenly left out of the drama supporting actress category in Tuesday’s editions of
Variety.

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