At the Emmy Awards this year, controversy came with the contest. Since the change in rules to help fan-loved but nomination-deficient shows get a better chance, the race was tougher than it might have been previously.
Conan O'Brien hosted, and he did a decent job. The opening sequence had him interacting with characters and scenes from some of the most popular series today. Of course, he started with Lost. Nice touch, as the spooky airplane crash cult classic got one nomination (and lost it). House and The Office were among the other shows highlighted. The skit unintentionally coincided with a plane crash in Kentucky the day the awards were shown, which resulted in accusations of insensitivity and poor timing. However, it seems to me people are blowing things a tad out of proportion. If a Kentucky reporter never said anything, why are people complaining? Yes, they could have edited a bit so O'Brien hit the beach after he asks, "What could go wrong?" Be that as it may, we are only talking about a few seconds.
My favorite O'Brien moment was the reference to Mel Gibson, who had all of Hollywood talking when he was busted for driving while intoxicated and made anti-Semitic remarks when arrested. Basically, Gibson said Jews were responsible for every war which has taken place. While I can understand the ruffling of feathers, I wonder how the intoxication could have been forgotten.
I also enjoyed the awards themselves, which managed not to sweep in any one direction. Outstanding Series for Comedy went to The Office, although it was the sole award won by the Steve Carrell hit. Outstanding Series for Drama went to 24.
In the Acting Categories, Kiefer Sutherland won as Best Actor for his role as terror expert Jack Bauer in 24. Tony Shaloub won Best Actor in a Comedy Series for OCD Detective Monk.
The women taking home top television honors were Mariska Hargitay for Law and Order:SVU for Drama, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus for The New Adventures of Old Christine.
It was especially nice to see cancelled shows not end up with a sweep due to their cancellation. The nominations this year had Arrested Development, Will and Grace, The West Wing, and Malcolm in the Middle as contenders in major categories. When Julia Louis-Dreyfus won her category, every actress she was competing against was from a cancelled show. Kiefer Sutherland had two competitors, and The West Wing was up for Best Drama. Some performances were solid, and voters took notice.
Megan Mullally won a Best Supporting Actress Comedy award for her portrayal of sharp-tongued pill popper Karen on Will and Grace. Rounding out the category across the board were Jeremy Piven as Best Supporting Actor Comedy for Entourage, Alan Alda for Best Supporting Actor Drama for playing a presidential candidate on The West Wing, and Blythe Danner as Best Supporting Actress Drama for Huff.
Emmys are given out over three nights (the show would be too long otherwise), so some winners were given a chance to shine after winning awards prior to the Sunday presentation.
Guest stars receive awards if they left a memorable impression. For me, two of them meant something extra special. The winner for Guest Actor Comedy was Leslie Jordan for his work on Will and Grace. Guest Actor Drama went to Christian Clemenson for Boston Legal. Fans of the legal show starring Spader and Shatner will recognize those actors. Jordan played Bernard, the man who killed his mother and died from a frying pan wielded by Betty White not long afterward. Clemenson got viewers talking all over the 'net when he played Jerry, the autistic lawyer who nearly slashed Shirley Schmidt's throat. United 93 viewers will also remember Clemenson as one of the passengers.
Speaking of Candice Bergen, who plays the aformentioned Schmidt, did her stylist have the flu? I realize some people deviate from the norm when it comes to fashion, but she got that one completely offbase.
Hugh Laurie had me in guffaws as he translated his presentation into French. Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart were also charming as they presented. Unfortunately, only Stewart won any awards. Even more unfortunate was Barry Manilow winning for Individual Performance in a Variety Comedy or Musical Series, in which the other competitors were talk show hosts.