Sunday, September 21, 2008

60th Primetime Emmy New Category Awards

Julia Louis-Dreyfus stuns at the 60th Primetime Emmy Awards - Photo courtesy of

The 60th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards did a night of firsts at the the Nokia Theatre in Hollywood. A preliminary list of winners is here.

I love how they call the winners "outstanding" whatever in their category. Not "best" just "outstanding." That gave me an idea. Why not make up some "outstanding" categories from last night's broadcast and crown my own winners? Better than writing a diatribe. For better or worst (this is really a late post), here goes.

Outstanding Hot Outfit: There was low, low cut, chic, and chic sexy. There was Christine Applegate looking radiant and oo-lah-lah (I hope she does kick Christian Slater’s behind in their time slot). And then there was Julia Louis-Dreyfus. In a smoke’n hot apricot gown, Louis-Dreyfus emanated from the stage of a New York diner reminiscent of a Seinfeld episode, "The Contest." She later lost in her category to Tina Fey who graciously mentioned her as comic inspiration.

Outstanding Surprise of the Evening: I strongly disagree that the evening held few surprises why, it’s hard to narrow them all down. For instance, I had no idea Lorne Michaels actually wrote for Saturday Night Live. I thought he just lorded over cast members. Rob Reiner writing for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour? I thought Meathead was his only TV credit. Who knew Tommy Smothers got high in 1967? Or that Martin Sheen would utter the least controversial political statement of the evening (everyone needs to vote)? And was that David Morse on stage with the winning cast of Mad Men? Didn’t he play some part in runaway winner John Adams? But to me, the biggest surprise of the evening was how Presenter Neil Patrick Harris and I thought exactly the same thing at almost exactly the same time. Howie Mandel’s yarblings and Steve Martin gushings were tremendous wastes of time, especially in light of presenters and winners being rushed off stage.

Outstanding "What’s YOUR problem?" Moment: This was a toss up. After accepting her award and making a nice short statement, Glenn Close had the gall to eat up more time babbling about some "Sisterhood of the Traveling Divas," ostensibly including the likes of her, Dame Judi Dench, and others (bet Dame Judi loved being included in that category). Still, the winner is Howie Mandel. After doing his St. Elsewhere rap, Howie asked specific members of the audience, "Why do you applaud?" The bit was barely funny. Degrading members of the audience for their polite reaction was downright rude.

Outstanding Presence of Mind During "Get the Hell Off the Stage" Music: Steve Colbert who won for best writer. As the music tried to shush him away, Colbert had the fortitude to thank Jon Stewart for humble beginnings and his wife and family for all their support.

Outstanding Production Gaffe: Mike flubbings for Vanessa Williams and America Ferrera and some nincompoop cut off Tom Hanks’ acceptance speech (don’t they know he is Hollywood royalty?). Perhaps winners Glynn Turman and Cynthia Nixon weren’t supposed to present three successive times. But, the home audience never saw the presenter for outstanding actor in a drama series (Keifer Southerland?) because production came back so late from commercial. Whoever is responsible for that idiotic move, you win.

Outstanding Presenter Who Couldn’t Get a Laugh if His Life Depended On It: No, it wasn’t Ricky Gervais trying to tickle his Emmy away from Steve Carell. Loved how Carell would not crack a smile. Tom Bergeron of Dancing With the Stars wins hands down. Hated that drama/comedy drop gag and the rest of his performance was as flat as toilet paper.

Outstanding "Wait Until I Get You Home" Look: Love the Rickles and love that he got two standing ovations. They tried to snuff out his line about the O.J. jury (all white front row) and "The Emmy goes to Herbie Dickman" line went right over my head. But the look on wife Barbara’s face when he said, "Today she sits in Malibu on the sand with the jewelry signaling ships," had me rolling. I imagine by now she’s used to the embarrassment.

Outstanding Cast in a Time Warp: They either have the best makeup artists, face lifts, and hair colorists in Hollywood or the fickle finger of fate has smiled on their saggy behinds. The five-member presenters of Laugh-In, especially Gary Owens, are amazingly well preserved. Jon Stewart leaning in for the French kiss win with Ruth Buzzy only to have her clobber him with that ratty brown handbag was one of the evening’s highlights.

Outstanding Cast in Time to Move On: Presenters Mary Tyler Moore and Betty White. If you’re going to do face lifts, you really should do them right. Are these grand dames of TV in their 80s? 70s? MTM’s face was so tight you could bounce a quarter off it. Don’t get me started on Betty White’s retirement colony pantsuit.

Outstanding Political Commentary: The award goes belatedly to Tommy Smothers. After accepting his long denied best writing award from 1968, Tommy had the best political lines of the night. "I can't stay silent when hearing peace is only attainable through war. Nothing is scarier than watching ignorance in action. I’m accepting the Emmy on behalf of other people who won't be silenced. Truth is what you get other people to believe." The audience laughed, but he wasn't joking.

Runners-Up: Laura Linny, lead actress in a miniseries or movie, saved time by thanking supporters privately and showed appreciation for "great community organizers who organize our country." Feigning disdain for political commentary, presenters Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert instead did a metaphor about prunes. Colbert said, "America needs a prune, granted shriveled and at times hard to swallow, but this dried up old prune has the experience we need," while Stewart countered, "After eight years, you would think America would have had enough." Kirk Ellis who won for best writing for miniseries John Adams had the grace to thank Tom Hanks and add "A period in our history when articulate men articulated complex thoughts in complete sentences. They used words ---" and yikes, got cut-off. Must have been a Republican in the tech booth.

Outstanding Imitations Making Gallagher Look Good: Josh Groban. Suicide was not painless as he sang theme songs from M*A*S*H to The Love Boat, to Mr. Rogers Neighborhood to the gospel style of The Jeffersons. Esther just Rolled over in her grave.

Outstanding Catch Phrase: Hard to pick just one. There was Barry Sonnenfeld who won best director for a comedy series, Pushing Daisies. "Love TV and fear the Internet." Tom Hanks acknowledged Presenter Sally Field as "Mom" and almost launched into a Forrest Gumpism. Guess he forgot about their roles in Punchline. Then there was Don Rickles, big winner after fifty-five years of no acknowledgments saying, "This crap got me no place." Paul Giamatti, best lead actor in a miniseries or movie, thanked "my fake wife, Laura." However, Tina Fey, big winner of the evening, also wins this category with the line, "Better to be a writer than an actor. At weddings, people are less interested in talking to you."

Outstanding Classy Remark: Even though they sat the cast of House way toward the back, Greg Utanes, best director of a drama series, thanked the Academy. And Presenter Sandra Oh acknowledged and waved hello to her parents. Winner? Seven times nominated first-time winner, Alec Baldwin, for outstanding lead actor in a comedy series. He was the first of many who was gracious enough to thank his co-nominees. Other winners followed his lead throughout the rest of the evening.

Outstanding Missed Opportunity: Presenter Bill Peterson, aside from wearing some questionable black number with velvet-looking lapels, let the biggest opportunity for a laugh slip right past his fingers. After accepting Tom Wilkinson’s award on his behalf, and hearing Conan O’Brien say he would hand an award accepted for someone else to Steve Carell, it would have been hysterical if Peterson had actually handed Wilkinson’s Emmy to Carell.

Outstanding Theory About Mad Men's Win: It was the only nominee in the drama category that had more than one word in its title.

Gone But Not Forgotten: George Carlin, Bernie Brillstein, Joey Bishop, William F. Buckley, Charlton Heston, Les Crane, Alice Ghostly, Ivan Dixon, Cyd Charisse, Mel Ferrer, Claudio Guzman, Barry Morse, Deborah Kerr, Larry Harmon, Estelle Getty, Roger King, Sydney Pollack, Ron Leavitt, Bernie Mac, Eric Lieber, Suzanne Pleshette, Abby Mann, Dick Martin, Delbert Mann, Harvey Korman, Jim McKay, Lois Nettleson, Mel Tolkin, Richard Widmark, Stan Winston, Tim Russert, and Isaac Hayes.

Outstanding Line of the Evening: Jeff Probst, first winner as outstanding lead for a reality program category. "G’night."