More Emmy arrivals…Jon Stewart, Edie Falco, Marcia Cross, Helen Mirren and more…

I can’t spell her damned name but I’ll try: Jane Kracowski who used to be on “Ally McBeal” then won a Tony for “Nine” and is now on “30 Rock,” She looks like something from the 70s and it was intentional: “I was going for a Jerry Hall, 70s Studio 54 look.”
She succeeded.

Queen Helen Mirren, who I just love, is up for another Emmy for “Prime Suspect.” She won the Emmy last year for “Elizabeth” then won the Oscar and the SAG Award and the Golden Globe etc for “The Queen.” She says after the greatest year of her life, this Emmy nod is “a nice cherry on top of the cake.”
Mirren may be riding an unprecedented career high but she keeps her perspective: “You never get blase but you realize your career and work is made up of ups and downs, you go with the flow a little bit when you’re older.”

Hugh Laurie, nominated for “House,” was asked by Mark Steines who he brought to the Emmys. His answer surprised me: “I’m tragically alone…”

Marcia Cross looks dazzling and doing a red carpet interview is far different from a year ago when she says she was at home, very p;regnant with twins, cooking spaghetti. She and her hubby got married less than a year before the babies were born and have never really had a honeymoon: “When they start sleeping through the night, the honeymoon will start.”

Jon Stewart was asked if he had any advice for Emmy show host Ryan Seacrest: “Don’t drink so much.,..you still have to stand.”

Funny quote: “This is the first time I’ve ever been early to the Emmys…I was lower maintenance this year,’ Eva Longoria said, after missing the red carpet for two years in a row.

Edie Falco says she hasn’t prepared a speech and will miss her TV kids then she added: I’m so happy I haven’t fallen off my shoes.”

Emmy arrivals: Huffman, Macy, Ferrera and Leary and more…

Here they come!
Denis Leary, nominated for “Rescue Me” is on the red carpet with his Mariska Hargitay-look-alike wife. He isn’t planning on winning: “I’m the biggest ‘Sopranos’ fan of all time. I really believe there’s no point in preparing a speech.”

Julia Louis Dreyfuss, up for an Emmy for the ninth time, is still excited and says it’s not something you ever get used to or expect. She won last year. She’s got a pretty purple dress on and her hair is straight, parted down the middle, like Cher in the Sonny and Cher days. If she starts singing “Half Breed” I’m gonna spit out my coke.

America Ferrera looks beautiful. I’m rooting for her to win for “Ugly Betty.” She tells Lara Spencer: “I feel so fortunate and blessed to have a job that is my passion.” She’s kinda star-struck saying, “I think I saw Tony Soprano somewhere.”
Spencer then tries to hand her a package of crackers saying she’ll need a snack in there. America declines.

Rebecca Romijn is there with hubby Jerry O’Connell. She is asked about playing a transgender character on “Ugly Betty.”
“It’s so much fun,” she says of the role. “I’ve had the opportunity to meet other people who have made a transition..The writers have taken this character and made her a human being.”

Felicity Huffman and William Macy are both nominated and told Mark Steines that they forgot it was their 10 year wedding anniversary this summer – at least on the actual day.
Mark asks if they had trouble getting out of the house. I liked Macy’s answer: “It takes me nine minutes. how long does it take to look like a penguin?”

I’m sure Tony Shaloub is a nice guy and his wife, Brooke Adams, is absolutely lovely. But he has won three Emmys already for “Monk” and I’m tired of it! For a minute, I thought maybe he was too for a second: “I feel like the Emmy people might be ready to spread the love a little bit this year.”
Mark Stienes reminds him that he has said that before.
Then Shaloub admits: “I don’t really mean it, it’s just superstition.”

Greetings from backstage at the Emmys!

Well, actually, I’m in a big tent. But it’s pretty fancy and the winners are gonna co me back here and chat us up once they’re through with all those pesky TV folks like “ET” and “Access Hollywood.” I mean, how do we print/online peeps compete when those show have sofas, champagne, photo booths etc, By the time they get to us back here, they’re probably gonna be drunk!
Now THAT would make news.
Just wanted to say hello. I was not given a red carpet pass so I can’t wander around looking at the TV reporters and deliver catty remarks like I usually do (meow). Them’s the breaks. I’m just a tent dude I guess. But they’ve provided us with all kinds of snacks and drinks and we will be fed with real food soon.
I have also been pronised admittance to the Governor’s Ball so it should be a wild and crazy night.

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…

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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.
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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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Britney fever? We’re cured.

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OK, if you haven’t yet seen Britney in her best black underwear (and I guess we should give her points for covering her bum) as she opened last night’s Video Music Awards, it’s up for viewing on MTV’s site. She sang “Gimme More,” which begs the question, “More what?” More money? I think she’s set. More attention? Oh please. Been there, overdone that.
Britney was dressed for a bump and grind act, but she delivered her performance with all the gusto of a poorly faked orgasm. She had more energy on her millionth performance of “Oops! I Did It Again.”
Can we in the media come to some sort of agreement on this? Britney apparently doesn’t want to be a music star anymore, or she would have performed as if her career were on the line, because it is. And even her most ardent fans (and who are they these days?) must have felt let down. So let’s just let Britney ride off into the sunset toward whatever trailer park she chooses to settle in.
As VMA host Sarah Silverman so glibly pointed out, “She’s 25 and she’s already accomplished everything she’s going to accomplish in her life.”

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.”