Greg’s Emmy Predictions…

It’s fun to try and make an educated guess so we’ll see how I fare! Will start to live-blog from backstage in a few hours…

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaemmy.jpgDrama Series:
My pick: “Grey’s Anatomy”
Will win: “Sopranos”
It’s the last season of the mob drama. Still, “Heroes” could cause an upset.

Lead Actor, Drama Series:
My pick: Denis Leary (“Rescue Me”
Will win: James Gandolfini (“The Sopranos”)
Gandolfini has won three times already and I see a fourth Emmy as a send-off. But Hugh Laurie could just as easily win for “House” while former winners James Spader and Kiefer Sutherland will miss out this time. Personally, I think Leary is absolutely superb in “Rescue.”

Lead Actress, Drama Series:
My pick: Sally Field (“Brothers & Sisters”)
Will win: Kyra Sedgwick (“The Closer”)
If either of these women won, I’ll be very happy. Sedgwick carries her show while Field is the glue that holds her together. Very different performances but both stellar. Edie Falco could be part of an Emmy sweep for “Sopranos” but she already has three Emmys for her role and the competition is very strong.

Supporting Actor, Drama Series:
My pick: T.R. Knight (“Grey’s Anatomy”)
Will win: Michael Imperioli (“The Sopranos”)
It’ll be part of a “Sopranos” semi-sweep. If William Shatner wins again, i might have to vomit backstage but if Knight wins, I’ll do a little jig.

Supporting Actress, Drama Series:
My pick: Rachel Griffiths (“Brothers & Sisters”)
Will win: Rachel Griffiths (“Brothers & Sisters”)
She is the class of the field and had some wonderfully emotional scenes. Three “Grey’s Anatomy” stars should cancel each other out with Chandra Wilson having the best chance of breaking out. I don’t see Aida Turturro as part of the “Sopranos” semi-sweep.

Comedy Series:
My pick: “Ugly Betty”
Will win: “Ugly Betty”
It’s a high-quality category with “Entourage,” “The Office,” “30 Rock” and “Two and a Half Men” as competition. But “Betty” stood above the rest in its debut season.

Lead Actor, Comedy Series:
My Pick: Charlie Sheen
Will win: Alec Baldwin
I think Sheen is overlooked because his role is so low-key. But, he is terrific on “Two and a Half Men” and deserving of an Emmy win. Baldwin won the Golden Globe and the SAG Award so the only question is if voters will be turned off by the well-publicized troubles in his private life. If that’s the case, Steve Carell will win.

Lead Actress, Comedy Series:
My pick: America Ferrera
Will win: America Ferrera
Easiest category to call.

Supporting Actor, Comedy Series:
My picki: Neil Patrick Harris
Will win: Neil Patrick Harris
I just feel like it’s his year in every way and he is clearly the best thing about “How I Met Your Mother.”

Supporting Actress, Comedy Series:
My pick: Conchata Ferrell
Will win: Jaime Pressly
Personally, I can’t watch “My Name is Earl” mainly because of Jason Lee’s mustache (silly, I know). But Pressly seems to be the one to beat even though Vanessa Williams is the most deserving for “Ugly Betty.” But my sentimental pick is Conchata Ferrell who is an absolute riot on “Two and a Half Men” and elevates any TV show or movie that she’s in.

Miniseries or movie:
My pick: “Broken Trail”
Will win: “Broken Trail”
This seems like a sure-thing.

Lead Actress, Miniseries or Movie:
My pick: Helen Mirren
Will win: Helen Mirren
Mirren is still the queen of voters hearts and should take home the Emmy in this category for the second year in a row. The fact that Debra Messing is even nominated for the fluff “The Starter Wife” shows that Mirren’s only real competition will be two-time Emmy winner Gena Rowlands.

Lead Actor, Miniseries or Movie:
My pick: Robert Duvall
Will win” Robert Duvall
Tough competition but my gut tells me the Oscar winner will prevail for “Broken Trail” over fellow nominees Jim Broadbent, William H. Macy, Matthew Perry and Tom Selleck.

Reality-Competition Category:
My pick: Amazing Race
Will win: Amazing Race
This show is the most ambitious of all the nominees including ratings giants “American Idol” and “Dancing With the Stars.” It’s so superbly edited and brilliantly paced that each week, you really feel you have gone on an adventure. It should win yet another Emmy in this category.

Variety, Music or Comedy Series:
My pick: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”
Will win: “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”
Sorry Letterman, Conan and even Bill Maher, Stewart had another kick-ass year.

Performance – Variety of Music Program:
My pick: Jon Stewart
Will win: Jon Stewart
See above.

Stars party at pre-Emmy party for acting nominees…

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 \[laughs\].
i-236c3a0efdea3ed401baaa3ecc631ee0-aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaemmyparty.jpgShes 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.

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Scorsese: “It’s been worth it.”

Martin Scorsese finally wins an Oscar but he doesn’t have a ton to say about the emotions of it. He’s a film buff with an encyclopedia mind and he’s back here talking about film perservation etc.Finally, someone gets him to reflect on the enormity of it all: “Good thing I didn’t get it before. Maybe it would have changed the kind of movies I made or something. I’m glad that it went this way. I’m glad it’s taken this long. It’s been worth it.”
While he campaigned for “The Aviator” and “Gangs of New York,” he wanted to lie low on any campaigns for “The Departed” on his behalf: “Let’s relax and make as good a film as we can.”
On past losses: “You’ve got to get on with your life and get on with your work. The work is what’s important.”
He added: “Winning for me, I gotta tell you, is making the pictures.”

Mirren: the hardest working monarch in showbiz…

Helen Mirren, who walked in carrying a vodka gimlet, is back here answering a question in perfect French. I have NO IDEA what she is saying but she sounds lovely. Is there nothing this woman can’t do. Holding her first Academy Award ever, she told reporters backstage that she finished filming “Elizabeth I” (the TV movie that won her the Emmy, the Golden Globe and the SAG award) then had only two weeks before she began filming “The Queen” which had her playing Queen Elizabeth II for which she has won EVERYTHING. Then, after just after a month off, she began filming her final “Prime Suspect” movie for which she, of course, was critically acclaimed.
Before the ceremony, she said she felt “quite calm.” She said she cared about winning but didn’t dwell on it. “I didn’t go there.”

Alan Arkin dodges questions about “Norbit”

Eddie Murphy had already had the Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild awards for best supporting actor by the time his comedy “Norbit” hit theaters. There was a school of thought that they movie, while a huge box office hit, might undermine Murphy’s Oscar chance since it is such a silly comedy seemingly below a “serious” actor.”
So someone asks Arkin: “Were you glad to see those bilboards for ‘Norbit” going up around time: “I don’t keep score,” he said. “This is a fun kind of insanity. Who’s to say who’s better?”

The thoughtful Forest Whitaker…

Those of us who have been covering the award shows this season, until tonight, Forest Whitaker’s acceptance speeches have been horrendous. So when he won, some of us were keeping our fingers crossed. He did a smart thing: he prepared a speech and read from it. Usually that is so terrible for for Whitaker, it was wonderful because he wrote a wonderful, thoughtful speech and delivered it with so much heart.
Backstage, he was just as thoughtful on a variety of topics including the diversity of this year’s nominees from African-Americans to Mexicans to Spaniards and on and on: “it’s an amazing statement. We have ti be connected as a planet. This year, you see people from all over the world…Stories that are reflecting the diversity of humanity. We have to pay attention and understand that I affect you and you affect me.”

Jennifer Hudson on bald Britney: “I can only pray for her”

When you think about the Britney Spears mess, it says something about success coming too fast. Spears is the same age – 25- as Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson. So as Hudson stood holding an Oscar and on top of the world backstage, she was asked what advice she might have for this trouled, bald, tatooed and now-in-rehab one-time performer: “I can only pray for her,” Hudson said, before adding, “It’s not really any of my business.”
Tell THAT to the tabloids!

Jennifer Hudson becomes just third African American to win supporting actress..

Jennifer Hudson follows Hattie McDaniel and Whoopi Goldberg as one of only three African-American actresses to ever win the best supporting actress Oscar.”This represents a change and a difference,” she said backstage after I asked her about being added to this very exclusive club.
Asked about Eddie Murphy’s loss, she said: “I just know that he did an unbelievable job. I feel at this point, just being a nominee, we’re all winners.”
Still, with Hudson’s win and that of Forest Whitaker for “Last King of Scotland,” it was an excellent night for African American actors who have been largely ignored by the Academy until 2002 when a change took place with the duel wins of Denzel Washington and Halle Berry (the only African-American actress to EVER win the leading actress prize). Since then, Jamie Foxx has won lead actor, Morgan Freeman supporting actor and now Hudson and Whitaker.

Etheridge compares Oscars to “gay holiday”

“This is the only naked man who will ever be in my bedroom,” said best original song winner Melissa Etheridge backstage. As one of the world’s most famous lesbians, she was asked about thanking partner Tammy Lynn Michaels as her wife in her speech and giving her a big kiss before taking the stage.
“She was so important to me, especially with this project,” she said of Michaels. “She said, ‘Write what you feel.’ She saved my life. I was kissing her because that’s what you do when you win and Oscar, you kiss your loved one.”
As far as anyone raising an eyebrow over such same-sex affection, Etheridge said: “I think the Oscars, it’s like a gay holiday. So it’s really meaningful that [host] Ellen [DeGeneres] or myself, there’s no token gay here. It’s a real mix here.”

Gore applaudes Etheridge from backstage…

Al Gore and the team behind “An Inconvenient Truth” were just wrapping up their backstage Q&A session and were almost out of the room when Melissa Etheridge’s name was called as winner of best original song “I Need to Wake Up” which she wrote for the movie. Gore tip-toed back into the press room to watch Etheridge accept the Oscar. He clapped wildly and smiled ear-to-ear. He clapped again when Etheridge said “caring about the Earth is not red or blue, we are all green.”