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Category: Julianna Margulies

Emmy diva smackdown: Julianna Margulies vs. Elisabeth Moss

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Last year, most Emmy pundits foolishly believed Julianna Margulies would win lead drama actress for "The Good Wife" even though we knew she picked the wrong sample episode to be evaluated by judges. Instead of submitting the excellent pilot, she picked her subdued performance in "Threesome" and lost to Kyra Sedgwick. This year, Margulies wised up and submitted "In Sickness," in which she kicks her husband out of the house after learning that he once slept with her best friend, Kalinda (Archie Panjabi). Then she has a tearful powwow with her children and battles guest star Martha Plimpton in court. All that can be hard to beat.

But it's beatable. Also submitting a powerhouse episode is Elisabeth Moss, who promoted herself to the lead category after receiving a supporting actress nomination for "Mad Men" last year. In her submission episode, "The Suitcase," she and Jon Hamm bond, battle and get drunk while putting together an ad campaign for Samsonite.

Most Emmy watchers agree that this Emmy race is a close one between Moss and Margulies, but an unlikely contender has a better than expected chance to upset, because "The Killing's" Mireille Enos submitted a strong two-hander of her own. In her episode, "Missing," the murder investigation around which the show revolves takes a back seat when her character must search for her missing son. The episode is dominated by her and her partner (Joel Kinnaman), and though her performance is largely subdued, she has a very emotional moment near the episode's end when she breaks down in tears at a crime scene while thinking her son has been killed.

Sizing up the other candidates in this category, it would be foolish to disregard Kathy Bates. The Oscar-winning actress is a widely respected leader in the acting community, and despite nine total Emmy nominations, she's never won TV's top prize. More important, she plays a lawyer on a David E. Kelley series, "Harry's Law," and Kelley has TV's best track record when it comes to winning awards for his actors. However, her episode submission lacks the kind of stirring speechifying that won James Spader three Emmys for "The Practice" and "Boston Legal." In "Innocent Man," her character, lawyer Harriet Korn, argues for the parole of a wrongly convicted inmate.

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Julianna Margulies and Amy Poehler to present Emmy Awards


Four nominees are among the six stars announced as presenters at the Primetime Emmys on Sept. 18.

They include "The Good Wife" star Julianna Margulies, who is up for lead drama actress; "Modern Family's" Sofia Vergara, nominated for supporting comedy actress; "Parks and Recreation" star Amy Poehler, contender for lead comedy actress; and her husband, Will Arnett, who is in the running for best guest comedy actor, for "30 Rock."

One night before Ashton Kutcher's debut on "Two and a Half Men," he will pitch in to dole out the Emmy statuettes. And Emmycaster Fox network will tout its new show "New Girl" by including star Zooey Deschanel at the kudofest's podium.


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Photo: Julianna Margulies in "The Good Wife." Credit: CBS

The Kyra Sedgwick mystery: Is her Emmy heyday over?

Kyra segwick emmysA funny thing happened when this year's Emmy nominations were announced: The 2010 winner of best drama actress, Kyra Sedgwick ("The Closer"), was nowhere to be found. Sedgwick's win came after five consecutive nominations for playing Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson on the popular TNT crime drama, so it was disquieting to have to list her among this year's snubs. The final season of "The Closer" is airing, so 2012 will be Sedgwick's final year of eligibility for this character. Can she expect to hear her name called next year or is she simply out of sight, out of mind when it comes to Emmy voters?

Looking at recent Emmy patterns, this isn't the first time something like this happened, and the results bode well for Sedgwick. Patricia Arquette ("Medium") won this race in 2005, then was snubbed the following year. Arquette came back swinging in 2007 with another nomination but lost to Sally Field ("Brothers and Sisters"). If Arquette could reap a nomination after a year's absence, then Sedgwick should have nothing to worry about. After all, Sedgwick will likely get additional sympathy votes next year simply because her show is ending.

If Sedgwick does get a comeback nomination next year, is there precedence for her to win? Based on what happened in the lead drama actor race in the mid-2000s, the answer is an astounding yes. James Spader made a huge mark on the Emmy circuit when he won for "The Practice" in 2004, won for the same role on spin-off "Boston Legal" in 2005 and was then subsequently snubbed in 2006. Did Emmy voters simply forget about the man they'd championed two years in a row, or perhaps they assumed he was golden for another nomination so they voted for someone else instead? Whatever the case, Spader was once again nominated in 2007, and he made it three wins for his Alan Shore character.

Sedgwick's 2010 win came for a powerful episode of "The Closer" called "Maternal Instincts." Emmy gurus all knew that she had the strongest submission in the drama actress race, but many predicted Julianna Margulies ("The Good Wife") to win anyway because she had already bagged the Golden Globe and SAG Award. Unfortunately for Margulies, her submission wasn't strong enough, and Sedgwick finally prevailed after four consecutive losses.

Had Sedgwick been nominated this year, Emmy experts would have a hard time choosing her to win over the likes of front-runners Margulies (who this year has a much stronger episode) or Elisabeth Moss (whose "Mad Men" episode "The Suitcase" is the talk of the town). In other words, nomination or not, Sedgwick wouldn't be taking the stage for a second time. Depending on how the rest of "The Closer's" final season winds down, there's a great chance for Sedgwick to knock it out of the park with another winning submission, perhaps even with the series finale. Time will tell.

Besides Margulies and Moss, the other four leading ladies in contention are Kathy Bates ("Harry's Law"), Connie Britton ("Friday Night Lights"), Mireille Enos ("The Killing") and Mariska Hargitay ("Law & Order: Special Victims Unit").


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Photo: Kyra Sedgwick accepts her Emmy for lead actress in a drama series after four previous tries. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times.

Julianna Margulies on 'Good Wife,' Emmys and 'insane' awards [video]

Julianna margulies

All Emmy eyes are on Julianna Margulies (“The Good Wife”) in the race for lead drama actress. Last year, after early victories at the Golden Globes and SAG Awards, she was a heavy favorite to win the Emmy next, but Kyra Sedgwick (“The Closer”) pulled off an upset. This time, Sedgwick isn’t nominated, but Margulies faces a tough challenge from Elisabeth Moss (“Mad Men”). Over at Gold Derby, most site users (56%) predict Margulies will prevail, but Moss leads among the site’s editors (55%) compared with 45% for Margulies.

Curiously, Margulies’ first encounter with the Emmy Award is what put her on the Hollywood map back in 1995 when she won best supporting actress in a drama series.

“When I won for ‘ER,’ I was a recurring” character, she recalls in our webcam chat. “I was the lowest paid on the totem pole. I was barely in the press the first year of ‘ER.’ I won the Emmy and it catapulted me to a point where I was finally acknowledged as a cast member. They had to make me a series regular. They had to up my payroll and take me a little more seriously.”

After that, Margulies lost six Emmy bouts, but now she’s a favorite of many prognosticators thanks to the strength of the episode she chose to submit to Emmy judges -- “In Sickness” –- in which she responds to the news that her husband once had an affair with her best friend. It includes a powerful scene where she must discuss the messy situation with her children, who are not completely sympathetic to her point of view.

“That episode was a real showcase for a lead actress because it was completely and wholly my story,” Margulies tells Awards Tracker. “In terms of dramatic, roller-coaster emotions, it was the best showcase I had for the entire year. The scene with the children … was one of the saddest scenes I’ve ever done.”

-- Tom O'Neil


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Photo: Julianna Margulies in "The Good Wife." Credit: CBS 

6 episodes 'The Good Wife' considers Emmy-worthy

Good Wife In SicknessEmmy Awards voters have always been kind to legal shows, probably because they offer grandstanding courtroom performances and ripped-from-the-headlines stories. Legal winners in the drama series category over the years have included "The Practice" (1998, 1999), "Law and Order" (1997), "L.A. Law" (1987, 1989, 1990, 1991) and "The Defenders" (1962, 1963, 1964).

After its first season last year, the Chicago-based law drama "The Good Wife" scored nominations for drama series, lead actress (Julianna Margulies), supporting actress (Christine Baranski, Archie Panjabi), writers (Robert and Michelle King for the pilot episode) and guest stars (Dylan Baker and Alan Cumming). Panjabi won. Except for Baker, all of those contenders are back to try again, although Cumming is switching from the guest to the supporting slot. Other "Good Wife" contenders in supporting: Josh Charles, Matt Czuchry and Chris Noth. Five-time Emmy winner Michael J. Fox competes in the guest category.

Below are the six episodes that will be submitted to Emmy judges if "The Good Wife" is nominated again for drama series. Take special note that producers did not choose the mega-buzzed season finale, "Closing Arguments," in which Alicia Florrick (Margulies) and Will Gardner (Charles) finally hook up after flirting for many weeks.

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