When youre nominated for an Emmy these days, life is just one big party.
Among the soirees going on around town Friday night [there are more tonight] was the Television Academys tribute to acting nominees at Wolfgang Puck at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood.
It drew nominees Leslie Caron, Lorraine Bracco, Mariska Hargitay, Masi Oka, Neil Patrick Harris, Denis Leary, Sandra Oh, Chandra Wilson, Judith Light, Conchata Ferrell, Holland Taylor, Kate Burton and Tim Daly, among others.
Oka drove up to the valet in old Honda, sputtering with 140,000 miles on it. The Heroes star, nominated for outstanding supporting actor in a drama, wonders if its finally time for some new wheels now that the NBC hit is heading into season 2.
All of the success is still a bit surreal for the young actor to have landed a key role on such a big show.
To be a working actor is already a dream and to be on a great show is like winning the lottery. But to be on a phenomenon and to be here \[as an Emmy nominee\], its like How lucky are we? Its absolutely surreal.
I had profiled Hargitay last year for a cover story I wrote for Orange Coast Magazine and of the 50 or so covers I have done for them over the years, no one was more gracious than Mariska.
Since we did a telephone interview (she was in NYC), this was our first meeting in person.
I loved that article! Mariska said as she greeted me. Thank you. I appreciate it.
Although she is once again nominated for her role in Law & Order: SVU, I wondered if having won last year takes some of the pressure off.
It is much easier, she admits. This is a stress-free year. I came in, had fun playing with \[son\] August. Its just a cakewalk now \[laughs\].
Shes also learned that when it comes to picking what to wear, make confort your first priority: Only wear things that you are really comfortable in. It changes your whole confidence. Dont wear really uncomfortable shoes. That will never work for you.
Bracco, nominated once again for The Sopranos hads the opposite tip: Wear shoes that hurt!
The actress received her fourth nod for her role as Dr. Jennifer Melfi on the series, but her first since 2001.
Its a very nice way to end it really, she says. Im very honored and touched. Like I said, its always nice to be asked to the prom instead of having to ask somebody to go dutch.
What will she do post-Sopranos?
Ive been so far very lucky. I went on a whole bunch of appointments today with people who wanted to meet me for things so I no idea! Whats hard now is to get a good script, a good role. Thats what its all about. I dont care if its film or TV, or cable. Look, Im 53 and Im glad the phones still ringing.
What a great week it is when you get to chat up Judith Light TWICE. Since we had already done an extensive interview Sunday night, I wanted to know where she keeps the two Emmys she won for One Life to Live.
Light said: On the mantle in the library.
Shes similar to Two and a Half Men nominee Conchata Ferrell who let me just say right now, I am a huge fan of because she is one of the funniest women in showbiz. She told me that if she wins, shes gonna put it on a chain and wear it around my neck.
Im gonna take a picture of me holding it and Im gonna send it to all those people who wouldnt marry me all those years ago. \[laughs\] Look at me now!
But getting her third career Emmy nomination was not without a little anxiety when it came to pick out something to wear to the ceremony.
Remmbers Ferrell: They called and said, Youre nominated and I said, Whoopie! What the HELL am I gonna wear? The costume designer on the show found something thats silver and sparkly and let me tell you something, when a woman my size, when I walk by, youre gonna see me sparkle!
Ferrell is competing against her Men co-star Holland Taylor who already has one Emmy win for The Practice. If one of the other wins, the two women have vowed to mud wrestle for the statuette when they return to the set on Monday.
That is our plan, Taylor said. We are mud-wrestling to the death.
Taylors nominated episode had her character getting an overdose of collagen resulting in giant lips beyond Goldie Hawn in First Wives Club. I went insane with the pumped-up lips. Its was like I had fish attatched to my face.
Kate Burton, whose first screen role was an uncredited bit in the 1969 movie Anne of the Thousand Days which starred her father, Richard Burton, was nominated for guest actress for the second year for her role as Ellis Grey on Greys Anatomy.
The three-time Tony nominee may have lost out this year, but shes got an Emmy back at home which she won in 1996 for the daytime special Notes for My Daughter.
I lost out to Leslie Caron and shes a legend so how bad can it be?
Even though her character as Merediths mother died last season, Burton will return to the show via-flashback. Her character, a brilliant surgeon, had early onset of Alzheimers but recovered her memory for a few episodes.
I wouldnt be standing here now if it werent for that episode. That was why I was nominated. I know its like the oldest cliche in the world but it really is such an extraordinary honor to be nominated, particularly for an Emmy because there are so many choices – hundreds and hundreds. You really just feel like youre part of an extraordinary community and its an amazing group of people.
Big-screen icon Leslie Caron (pictured above with Sandr Oh) made a rare television appearance last season in an episode of Law & Order SVU and it won her an Emmy Award for outstanding guest actress in a drama series.
It was a good part, a very good part – a meaty part, she explained. Ive had good comedy parts and great partners, great directors. But a really meaty dramatic part, thats quite rare.
She didnt know that she would win but Caron decided to make the trip from Paris anyway to attend last weekends Creative Arts Emmys where the guest acting Emmys are presented.
Ive learned to say yes to all good things, she says. I think its good to be adventurous and just to say yes to life in general.
What does the star of such classics as Gigi, An American in Paris, and the L-Shaped Room account for her longevity that has stretched from her first Oscar nomination in 1954 (Lili) to last weekends Emmy win.
Ive done an done awful lot of things and I love doing whatever work is proposed. But again, it really is about saying yes to things.
I had to know, who was her favorite leading men?
Caron: Oh, thats a difficult one. There were at least five.
Me: OK, Ill take five.
Caron: Fred Astaire (Daddy Long Legs) and Gene Kelly (American in Paris) and Cary Grant (Father Goose) oh, and lets not forget Warren \[Beatty\] her co-star in Promise Her Anything.
Chatting up Leslie Caron. What. A. Thrill.
While the legendary Caron patiently did interviews with each reporter, Denis Leary could not be bothered with print press once he finished with some television interviews. He ignored requests for a word with about a dozen reporters, not bothering to even turn his head to acknowledge us. Im a big fan of Rescue Me and of The Ref but this kind of behavior left me cold. Oh and Wilson of Greys Anatomy also declined to speak but both waved and apologized saying they were late getting into to the party.
Neil Patrick Harris avoided appearing rude by self-parking and avoiding the red carpet altogether. He was spotted checking in behind the glassed doors by a few eagle-eyed cameramen but by the time word of his presence got around, he was riding up the escalator to the party.
He mustve been hungry.