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Category: The Office

Emmys 2011: What was the worst award snub? (Poll)

Steve-carell

When I exited the Nokia Theatre after the Emmys on Sunday night, a journo pal from a local TV station said that he just saw Steve Carell and Hugh Laurie walk by, looking upset and skipping the Governors Ball.

Both had good reason to be irked, if that's what was going on. After Carell lost for comedy actor five times, most pundits believed he'd win for his final year on "The Office" -– just as Sarah Jessica Parker won her first Emmy for her last year on "Sex and the City" (2004). Laurie ("House") had lost for dramatic actor five times too, but nobody thought he'd win this year. Still, Laurie has won two Golden Globes (2006, 2007) and two SAG Awards (2007, 2009), so he probably believes Emmy voters have a grudge against him.

That's probably how Jon Hamm feels too. "Mad Men" just won best drama series for a record-tying fourth time, but its lead star has yet to claim an Emmy. Hamm won a Golden Globe in 2008. Costar John Slattery just lost for a fourth time in the supporting race.

That's nothing. TV's top-rated "American Idol" just lost best reality competition show for a ninth time.

-- Tom O'Neil

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Photo: Steve Carell in "The Office." Credit: NBC


Can any comedy series dethrone 'Modern Family' at the Emmys?

Modern Family

"Modern Family" won a decisive victory at the Emmys last year, taking six awards out of 14 nominations including best comedy, and this year the series is considered an even stronger front-runner with 17 nods, which is more than any other comedy.

TV's top award certainly likes to act a lot like a TV repeat. "30 Rock" won three in a row from 2007 to 2009, "All in the Family" and "Cheers" won four apiece, and "Fraiser" won a record five in a row from 1994 to 1998. Most Emmy pundits are predicting "Modern Family" will continue the trend with a repeat win this year, but is its victory inevitable?

Previous winners "The Office" and "30 Rock" are back in the running this year, as well as last year's nominee "Glee." But this is the first time voters will have the chance to honor "The Big Bang Theory" or "Parks and Recreation" in the top series race. Could Emmy voters buck convention by rewarding new blood?

Support has been steadily building for "Big Bang" since it premiered in 2007. It didn't receive any nominations for its first season, but it broke through in 2009 with acting nods for lead star Jim Parsons and guest actress Christine Baranski. Last year it earned a total of five nods, winning its first Emmy for Parsons. And this year it earned another five bids: a repeat nomination for Parsons, along with a surprise nod for his co-star Johnny Galecki and the show's first-ever nomination for best comedy series.

Five nominations may seem like scant support compared with 17 for "Modern Family," but unlike the Oscars, where the most-nominated film usually wins best picture, at the Emmys sometimes less turns out to be more. Remember, in 1998 "The Practice" won its first Emmy for best drama series with only four nominations, compared with the 16 earned that year by "ER" and "The X-Files." And last year, even though "Glee" had more nominations than "Modern Family" (19 to 14), it still lost the top prize.

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Blame Michael Scott if Steve Carell loses the Emmy again?

Steve Carell has lost five Emmy bouts for portraying cringe-inducing boss Michael Scott on "The Office," which leads Emmy watchers to wonder: Is it Carell whom voters don't like, or Michael Scott?

Steve-carrell-the-officeWhen Emmy voters view sample episodes from nominated stars, sometimes they hold the bad behavior of their unlikable characters against them. That may be what prevented Jason Alexander from winning any of his seven nominations for playing annoying curmudgeon George Costanza on "Seinfeld." It may also have hurt Hugh Laurie, whose character on "House" is a wanton drug abuser who berates his staff –- and patients too. They're among TV's most famous characters, but Emmy voters don't want to hug them.

Of course, this factor didn't hurt James Gandolfini, who played sociopathic mob boss Tony Soprano on HBO's "The Sopranos" to the tune of three Emmys. He won the second of those awards for the third-season episode "Amour Fou," in which Tony beat up his mistress Gloria (Annabella Sciorra). Not only did voters not hold Tony's violence against his portrayer, they selected that performance over Martin Sheen, who that year submitted the "Two Cathedrals" episode of "The West Wing" in which he grieved for his beloved secretary by railing at God –- in Latin!

Much of the comedy of "The Office" comes from the bumbling ineptitude of Michael Scott, but sometimes that quality is more a hindrance than a help to Carell, as in "The Injury," which he submitted for his first nomination in 2006; Michael spends the entire episode whining about burning his foot in a George Foreman grill. In his 2010 submission, "The Cover-Up," he is paranoid about his girlfriend and hires Dwight (Rainn Wilson) to follow her. And even though "Goodbye Toby" was arguably his best submission (it's the episode in which he first meets Holly, played by Amy Ryan), he spends much of its 60 minutes engaging in cruel celebration over the departure of Toby (Paul Lieberstein), an unassuming milquetoast in human resources.

But in this year's submission, "Goodbye Michael," Michael Scott is on his best behavior. What's more, he gets to bid a fond, tearful farewell to his employees, who, after all is said and done, are sad to see him go. It's Michael at his most sympathetic, and though the character is frequently hard to hug, Carell has never been so eminently huggable; he's a well-liked actor leaving his star-making role on a high note, and he has yet to win TV's top prize. Will he finally prevail, or will Michael Scott, once again, get the cold shoulder?

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— Tom O'Neil

Photo: Steve Carell in "The Office." Credit: NBC.


Can anyone beat Steve Carell at the Emmys?

Steve carell the office emmy news


Most Emmy watchers put Steve Carell out front to win best comedy actor for "The Office." This is his sixth nomination for playing hapless boss Michael Scott on the hit NBC sitcom, in addition to four noms for producing, but he's never won. (The series won best comedy in 2006, but that was before Carell received a producing credit.) He left the show this year, and now he's hoping the Emmys will give him a farewell hug the way it did to Sarah Jessica Parker ("Sex and the City") and Michael J. Fox ("Spin City"), who both won for their last years in contention.

But Emmy voters are not always a sentimental bunch. John Goodman never won for "Roseanne" despite seven nominations, though he finally won his first prize for guest-starring on "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" in 2007. And more recently, Martin Sheen was sent away empty-handed after seven unsuccessful bids for "The West Wing."

This year Carell submitted a dynamic episode to Emmy judges: "Goodbye, Michael," in which he struggles to say farewell to his employees, leading to a teary moment with Jim Halpert (John Krasinski). Will that episode in addition to overdue sentiment be enough to propel him to victory?

Perhaps, but perhaps not. He faces strong competition from last year's winner, Jim Parsons ("The Big Bang Theory"), who submitted "The Agreement Dissection," in which he battles Leonard (Johnny Galecki) over a violation of their roommate agreement and then goes dancing with the girls. But Parsons has another weapon in his arsenal: his costar Galecki, who was a surprise nominee in this category and submitted "The Benefactor Factor," in which Leonard is propositioned by a wealthy woman to exchange sex for research funding. But it also gives Parsons a second episode for voters to judge, which could help him pull off an upset against Carell.

Also threatening Carell is another surprise nominee: Louis C.K., whose critically acclaimed FX series, "Louie," is the only program in this category currently airing new episodes, meaning he'll be the freshest in voters' minds. Also, he benefits from the Cool Factor that helped propel another edgy comic to a win in this category in 2007: Ricky Gervais ("Extras"). C.K. submitted the episode "Bully," in which a frightening encounter with a young punk leads him to commiserate privately with the punk's father. It's a sympathetic performance, not loaded with laughter, but dramatic-skewing performances have won comedy performances before — as Edie Falco ("Nurse Jackie") demonstrated last year.

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Will 'Crazy, Stupid, Love' boost Steve Carell's Emmy odds?

Crazy Stupid Love news

Sometimes the coincidental release of a new film -- especially a comedy -- can torpedo a star's hopes for winning an award for something else. Consider how "Norbit" may have helped sink Eddie Murphy's Oscar dreams for "Dreamgirls" (2006). Now here comes the release of "Crazy, Stupid, Love" while Steve Carell gets his last shot for winning an overdue Emmy for "The Office."

The key difference may be that "Norbit" was lambasted by film critics while "Crazy, Stupid, Love" is getting mostly good reviews, and both the film and his show are comedies. The film scores a respectable 67 at Metacritic and Entertainment Weekly's Owen Gleiberman gives it a perfect score, hailing it as "an enchanting light comedy of romantic confusion."

Carell's performance is not only good, it's surprising. Notes the L.A. Times, "Carell — renowned for big comedic parts in movies such as 'Get Smart' and 'Date Night,' and of course as television's insufferable-but-endearing boss Michael Scott on NBC's 'The Office' — switches to a lower gear as a more serious fortysomething with relationship woes."

"Crazy, Stupid, Love" will still be in theaters when Emmy voting gets underway Aug. 8. Assuming the film does well at the box office and thus is considered a success, it may help him. Lisa Kudrow and Jennifer Aniston won Emmys right after the releases of "The Opposite of Sex" and "The Good Girl," respectively. "Knocked Up" may have helped Katherine Heigl pull off an upset win for best supporting drama actress in "Grey's Anatomy" in 2007.

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'Goodbye, Michael" = Hello, Emmy for Steve Carell?

-- Tom O'Neil

Photo: Steve Carell in "Crazy, Stupid, Love." Credit: Warner Bros.


'Goodbye, Michael' = Hello, Emmy for Steve Carell?

The-office-goodbye-michael1

It official: Steve Carell has chosen "Goodbye, Michael" as the episode that he's submitting to Emmy judges who will decide the winner of the lead actor in a comedy race.

It was a tough call, considering Carell had another strong option too -– "Garage Sale," in which his character, Michael Scott, makes a tender-hearted marriage proposal to Holly (Amy Ryan) while surrounded by a sea of lighted candles. The fact that he's portrayed so sympathetically is key. One of the theories why Carell has lost five times in the past is because his Michael character can be off-putting. Finally, in "Garage Sale," Michael redeems himself and TV viewers actually root for him instead of, as usual, against him.

"Garage Sale" has another plus too, at least in terms of selfish appeal to Carell. He directed it. Rarely has he helmed episodes of "The Office." In fact, he'd done so only twice earlier. However, Carell didn't even bother to submit "Garage Sale" for consideration as a nominee in the directing category this year, so maybe it's no mystery that he chose not to submit it for acting either.

But he probably made the best choice by picking "Goodbye, Michael" for the acting contest. It has three positive factors:

1.) Michael is sympathetic again, this time as he bids farewell to his office colleagues.

2.) It's 50 minutes long rather than the usual 30-minute episode. Often size matters at the Emmys, although added screen time didn't help Carell in 2008 when he submitted the one-hour "Goodbye, Toby" in which Michael first meets Holly and takes her on a romantic ferris wheel ride in the Dunder Mifflin parking lot. Carell lost to Alec Baldwin, who submitted a 30-minute segment of "30 Rock" ("Rosemary's Baby").

3.) It's historic. The fact that Carell is saying goodbye to TV viewers as Michael Scott bids adieu to his Dunder Mifflin cohorts is, let's face it, one of the milestone moments in modern television lore. It will probably be irresistible to Emmy voters. In 2004, when Sarah Jessica Parker submitted her final episode of "Sex and the City," which was titled "An American Girl in Paris, Part 2," she finally won her elusive Emmy.

Carell has made some very bad choices in some past Emmy derbies that contributed to his string of losses, including "The Injury" (2006) and "The Cover-Up" (2010). His other choices were OK –- like "Business School" (2007) and "Broke" (2009) –- just not quite strong enough.

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-- Tom O'Neil

Photo: Steve Carell in the "Goodbye, Michael" episode of "The Office." Credit: NBC


Can Louis C.K. pull off an upset at the Emmys?

Louis c.k. louieAlthough  Ricky Gervais wants Steve Carell to win the Emmy as best comedy actor for his final season on "The Office," he's worried about one rival in particular.

"Steve could face big trouble from Louis C.K.," Gervais warns Awards Tracker. "He's the most exciting standup/writer/comic working in America today."

It doesn't matter that Louis C.K. ("Louie") is a little-known underdog compared with Carell. Gervais beat Carell at the Emmys in 2008 when Carell was a red-hot film star slumming it on TV and obscure British comedian Gervais starred in the low-rated HBO series "Extras."

Curiously, there are a lot of parallels between Louis C.K. now and Gervais then. Both play quirky characters loosely based upon themselves in TV series that they write and direct. Gervais was nominated for best comedy writing when he won for lead actor; Louis C.K. is nominated for writing now.

Emmys are decided by a small pool of judges who view a sample episode. If Louis C.K. chooses well, he has a realistic shot of pulling off a Gervais-type upset.

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-- Tom O'Neil

Photo: Louis C.K. in "Louie." Credit: FX


Ricky Gervais: Give Steve Carell the Emmy!

Ricky Gervais: Give Steve Carell the Emmy!

Add Ricky Gervais to the long list of Emmy watchers who believe Steve Carell should finally, after five defeats, win the Emmy for best comedy actor. "Steve deserved an Emmy before this, so he certainly deserves one now," Gervais tells Awards Tracker.

Ironically, Carell lost the race in 2007 to Gervais for his work in "Extras." Gervais didn't attend the ceremony, so award presenters Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert gave the statuette to Carell as a gag. Lots of mad hugging ensued on stage as a result. One year later Gervais mounted the Emmy stage for revenge.

"Couldn't actually win one of his own so he stole someone else's!" Gervais groused as Carell sat in the front row.

"Have you got it on ya?" Gervais asked Carell. "I've heard you carry it around with you to get in restaurants and stuff. ... I made you what you are and I get nothing back!" Gervais marched up to Carell in the audience and demanded, "Give me the Emmy!"

After a brief tickle and tugging match, Carell produced the Emmy and handed it to Gervais. See video below.

Gervais created the original version of "The Office" that aired in the U.K. from 2001 to 2003. When NBC retooled it for Yankee TV viewers with Carell in the lead as the cringe-inducing boss of a dysfunctional workplace, the new "The Office" won the Emmy as best comedy series of 2006. It's nominated again after its high-profile seventh season that saw Carell exit with much media fanfare. Gervais believes it deserves to win again because the U.S. version has held up admirably throughout its run.

"It's still doing provocative and subversive work," Gervais says. "It's lost some of its darling status over the years because it was so good all the time that people took it for granted, but 'The Office' has been like an art factory consistently cranking out great episodes. It's one of those juggernauts -- like 'M*A*S*H' and 'Seinfeld.'"

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-- Tom O'Neil

Photo: Ricky Gervais wrests back his Emmy from Steve Carell. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times


Will Emmy history repeat if James Spader joins 'The Office'?

James spaderThere are whispers across Hollywood that James Spader may be joining the cast of "The Office" following his memorable cameo in the season finale. Rumor has it that he'll replace Kathy Bates, who played a recurring role as the CEO of the fictional Sabre printer company. She's leaving the show to focus on the second season of the legal drama "Harry's Law."

If this scenario doesn't sound familiar, it should. In 2003, Spader joined another long-running show, ABC's drama "The Practice," replacing Dylan McDermott, who had been nominated for drama actor (in 1999, losing to Dennis Franz for "NYPD Blue"). Although "The Practice" had largely gone out of Emmy favor by its eighth and final season, Spader's one-year stint won the series its first and only lead-acting Emmy. The following season, his character was spun off onto a new series, "Boston Legal," for which he won two more Emmys (2005, 2007).

If he joins the cast of "The Office" this fall, will history repeat itself? Steve Carell has been nominated five times for playing bumbling boss Michael Scott and is expected to receive a sixth nomination this year, but he has yet to win. And he's not the only cast member with bad luck at the Emmys. The series, which won as top comedy in 2006, has never won an award for acting, so a win next year for Spader would be the series' first.

Spader could also become the second male actor to win lead acting Emmys for both comedy and drama. The first was Robert Young ("Father Knows Best" in 1958, "Marcus Welby M.D." in 1970). Last year Edie Falco became the first woman to accomplish this feat when she won as comedy actress for "Nurse Jackie." Previously, she was a three-time champ for "The Sopranos" (1999, 2001, 2003).

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-- Tom O'Neil

Photo: James Spader with his Emmy for "Boston Legal" in 2005. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times


Will Ferrell: It's a 'crime' if Steve Carell doesn't win an Emmy for 'The Office'

Will Ferrell The OfficeWill Ferrell is campaigning for Steve Carell to win an Emmy for his final season on "The Office."

Ferrell recently joined the cast to work closely again with his old pal Carell, who last teamed up with Ferrell on screen in the film adaptation of the TV series "Bewitched" in 2006. Carell's quest for the Emmy has been elusive -- he's lost five times. Last week, Carell took his final bow on the show in a poignant episode that he probably submitted to Emmy judges.

The writers "did such a nice job with that last episode, of making it funny but emotional and poignant," Ferrell told Access Hollywood. "And if Steve doesn’t win an Emmy, it's a crime. As long as I win an Emmy, that'll be fine. But if Steve doesn't, for sure, it's a crime."

-- Tom O'Neil

Photo: Will Ferrell, center, and Steve Carell in "The Office." Credit: NBC



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