Home / Film / Why Hugh Laurie Must Win the Emmy in 2010: Part 1

Why Hugh Laurie Must Win the Emmy in 2010: Part 1

Please Share...Print this pageTweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook0Share on Google+0Pin on Pinterest0Share on Tumblr0Share on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

Dear Emmy Awards People:

I know that the nominations will not be announced for another three weeks, but the buzz has already begun. And I thought it was my duty to weigh in on one of Emmy's most egregious oversights in recent years.

So. Listen up! This is the year Hugh Laurie must finally get his due from you guys. House, M.D. is starting its seventh season, and although Mr. Laurie has been nominated in four of its five years thus far (boo, hiss for really missing that second season!), he has yet to receive one of those golden statuettes. This is the year. Really. Seriously. The. Year.

You may reasonably ask, why this year? My answer is simple: it should have been all the years (or at least one or two of them, by now). And being as he has not yet won one, this, therefore, must be the year. And what a year! "Broken," is one of the best performances ever seen in a television drama series.

I do not mean to say that the winners in the years 2005 to 2009 were undeserving. They are all fine actors, deserving of praise and awards. They had big episodes and notable scenes. And they emoted the hell out of them. But back to Mr. Laurie.

Hugh Laurie becomes Dr. Gregory House. And for the 44-ish minutes we see him during an episode, he seems so naturally House: disabled, misanthropic, genius American doctor, that it’s hard to believe it’s acting. Laurie is none of those things (except maybe the genius part). The transformation is complete and it’s actually jarring to see Hugh Laurie, actor, being interviewed as himself. He is, even physically, completely unlike the character he plays. But he's so convincing at House, it's hard to imagine that Hugh Laurie and Dr. Gregory House are not the same person.

Perhaps you are confused when Laurie suggests he “simply try to read it out and not screw it up,” as he has said so often. He is not telling the truth, because—as we all know—everyone lies. Well, maybe lie is a bit extreme. Let’s just say, he’s being incredibly modest, as he has been known to be.

Laurie’s performance is uniformly layered and revelatory. His character is guarded, nothing he says can ever be taken at face value. His is the language of deflection. So much so, that Laurie’s acting is the only thing that can sometimes guide us through to the heart of Gregory House. He says something: a throwaway line, a biting remark, a rationally cold assertion. In another actor’s hands they are words, and taken for what they are, they paint a picture of an unsympathetic jerk. Spoken by Laurie, infused with the grace of his performance, they tell you something else entirely.  

Film historian Patricia Eliot Tobias, president of The International Buster Keaton Society notes a similarity between Laurie and the legendary silent film star Buster Keaton. Like Keaton “Hugh Laurie has enormous expressive eyes that convey more than what appears on the surface. Both have the unusual ability to underplay, allowing us to see an underlying sadness using very little facial expression. Like Keaton, Laurie tells us more with just the flick of an eyelash than lesser actors do with their entire faces. Perhaps because their acting is minimalist, they don't always get the credit they deserve for their talent. And yet, it takes a truly great actor to be funny one minute, tragic the next, physically and facially over-the-top when needed and barely moving the next, but always letting us know what he's thinking and feeling.”

Go back and take a look at the episodes you may have overlooked; unforgettable performances that mean the difference between unremitting bastard and tarnished knight. If he veers too much to one or the other, the character is either too unsympathetic or too endearing. Laurie is a high wire performer with this character; he knows the line, treading it with daring, courage and grace.

He’s great in every episode, and in six seasons he is yet to phone in a performance. I asked my readers which episodes and scenes they would call to the attention of Emmy voters, in case you have yet to pick up on the extreme beauty of his craft—unlike the Golden Globe people and his peers—awarding him with two screen actors guild awards. There are too numerous to mention individually, but in general all agreed that the power of Laurie’s performance is in the moments when he lets down his guard, sometimes only for moments, and he allows us to see behind the eyes to the storm of emotion lying behind them.  And his unique ability to make you laugh and weep, like a classic tragic clown, sometimes in the same scene.

I always come back to the first scene I noticed the brilliance of Laurie’s acting. Yes, I had always thought he was brilliant, from the start. But it was “DNR” (1.09) when it really hit me, and when I happened upon a shooting script of the episode it dawned on me just how much Laurie accomplishes on screen with whatever dialogue he’s given. Or not given (because some of his most memorable acting comes from scenes without any dialogue at all; it’s just Laurie and the camera).

House shooting scripts are not vociferous on notes. I’ve read a dozen or more scripts (not transcripts, but the actual shooting scripts). They seldom give much direction—to Hugh or the other actors, trusting that the performances will arise naturally from the words on the page. And they do.

House had wanted in on this case because he is a admirer of his patient’s (jazz trumpeter John Henry Giles) music. Seeking an alternate explanation for his condition than “ALS,” House isn’t trying to solve the puzzle of the diagnosis because of a whim or (again, as Wilson says) a “Rubik’s complex.” Despite his words; despite what Wilson suggests, there is no doubt when House confronts Marty Hamilton (Giles’ physician) that House’s passion arises from something more profound. House is trying to find an alternative because without one Giles is condemned to death. And we viewers know that not because of House says, but what’s in his eyes and body language.

 There is a scene in which House and his best friend Wilson watch from the hallway as Giles’ doctor “pulls the plug.” It’s over and Giles’ is resigned to die.  By this time, no one but House believes Giles’ condition is something curable.  He is clinging to a false hope, although no one really sees it that way; his colleagues believe he simply wants to create a medical mystery where none exists. Again, we only know this through Laurie’s haunted expression, which we can observe through his tightly controlled guard.

As Foreman, Hamilton, Cora (Giles’ manager and close friend), Wilson and House all look on as the life support machinery is halted; only House cannot stand to watch. He turns his face, unable to witness what he may think of as murder—and at the very least an unnecessary death. It’s a fleeting moment, a subtle motion of the head and it says volumes about what House is really feeling. Mr. I-don’t-feel anything is the ONLY one incapable of accepting this death and cannot watch. Read the dialogue and you get none of that. Watch the performance and you can’t miss it.

There are such moments in every season. And you would be right if you suggest that moments alone do not make an Emmy winning performance. But with Laurie, it’s not just the moments. It’s the portrait he paints of this incredibly complex character.

In “Maternity” (1.04), there is a scene in which House must make a life or death decision about a therapeutic trial he’s about to do. He knows by making a treatment choice, he’s effectively condemning one of six patients (newborn babies) to death. Just having left an argument with Cuddy during which his attitude towards the babies and the test is cavalier—even arrogant, he’s told her, and the hospital lawyer that  he’s going to “flip a coin” to decide who lives or dies. Now he now sits at his desk looking at the coin.

There is nothing in the shooting script to indicate how House feels about it—just that he flips the coin. But unlike Cuddy—and the lawyer—the audience cannot be mistaken about the turmoil going on in House’s mind as he sits there with the coin. The gravity of the situation and what he’s about to do is clear in his body language and grim expression. This is not a cavalier decision made with no sense of feeling. It’s a decision, necessary to save the lives of five other babies.

We understand and sympathize with House.  But only because of the performance Hugh brings to it—the pathos with which he imbues this outwardly unlikeable character. At this stage of the series—early in season one—the tone is so incredibly important. So would another actor have just tossed the coin? I think yes. And that’s why Hugh Laurie is so essential to the role. Without his sensitive and sometimes very raw portrayal, House is an unmitigated bastard: cold, callous, misanthropic—a  jerk whose extreme objectivity and rationality refuse to be tempered by feeling.

But it’s not just those quiet, between-the-lines moments. One need only watch “Three Stories” (1.21) to appreciate the mastery of Laurie’s performance as he weaves together three medical cases to tell his own story. It’s a lecture, and indeed, all he’s doing is essentially “reading out” the writer’s lines. But then there’s the scene when he talks about the impact of decisions made about his leg years earlier. And the full weight of all he’s been saying during the lecture crushes him with the truth.

The impact of House’s words hit his colleagues and students, and the impact of Laurie’s precise delivery make us understand everything he’s been through and how he got to the place he’s in. Again, the dialogue gives us nothing.  But the performance gives us House’s resignation, and the years of weariness that weigh upon him.

House is not a big, dramatic action show. It is, at its core a character study, and its brilliance lies in the slow reveals and small moments, not big courtroom scenes; not lengthy speeches; not death-bed missives. And maybe that’s the problem, and why Hugh has not yet won an Emmy. (I’m not letting you off the hook, Emmy people, simply trying to comprehend the incomprehensible.)

So, if I’ve piqued your interest, please stay tuned for part two of this little mini-series: “100 Reasons Why Hugh Laurie Must Win Emmy This Year.” It’s a look back at the most momentous moments from Laurie’s six years of playing House. Watch for it in this space later this week.

Powered by

About Barbara Barnett

Barbara Barnett is Publisher/Executive Editor of Blogcritics, (blogcritics.org). Her Bram Stoker Award-nominated novel, called "Anne Rice meets Michael Crichton," The Apothecary's Curse The Apothecary's Curse is now out from Pyr, an imprint of Prometheus Books. Her book on the TV series House, M.D., Chasing Zebras is a quintessential guide to the themes, characters and episodes of the hit show. Barnett is an accomplished speaker, an annual favorite at MENSA's HalloWEEM convention, where she has spoken to standing room crowds on subjects as diverse as "The Byronic Hero in Pop Culture," "The Many Faces of Sherlock Holmes," "The Hidden History of Science Fiction," and "Our Passion for Disaster (Movies)."
  • Kristin

    Without a moments hesitation I completely agree. There is more compelling and brilliantly acted character on TV than Dr. House. I cannot imagine anyone else playing him.

  • I just felt it needed to be said. And said again!

  • Brasilianfan

    He has a chance of indication just because of Broken, because the rest of the season was a failure, though Hugh has always been perfect.

  • GabbyG77

    Thank you, for this wonderful article.
    I completely agree Kristin.
    He is the best actor i know and it’s a shame that Hugh Laurie doesn’t own at least one Emmy by now.
    And now I am waiting eagerly for your next article.

  • I wish I could remember where this quote comes from but it always sums it up for me:

    David Shore created a jerk and Hugh Laurie gave him a soul.

    Great writing as ever Barbara. Thanks.

  • andree

    Great article. Looking forward to reading Part 2. Any chance of a similar article for Lisa Edelstein? She’s the show’s leading lady and she did an amazing job this season, particularly in the season finale of s.6. Please comment.

  • simona

    barbara, I can only say Thank You! Because now is clear why I love your reviews so much: I feel that what you type goes directly through your heart to pen and your pen strikes me, as House and Hugh Laurie pierce the heart of all of us who immensely love them both.
    I sincerely hope that Hugh Laurie can read your words (because you deserve it) coming to discover that for so many people who love and admire his talent he is the best. Emmy or not.

    @Jo (housian daze)
    “David Shore created a jerk and Hugh Laurie gave him a soul”. So powerful words. And it’s the truth in a nutshell.

  • kelly

    Great article. Looking forward to reading Part 2.

  • Marie

    A great article as always Barbara , thankyou,… Hugh has so deserved an Emmy several times over the last six years, I have said many many times and will continue to say ” Hugh is a genius “, he can ..and does…say more with one expression than some actors can with a two page script , he has been exceptional in every single episode over six season , never once has his performance ever been less than absolute perfection , then when you add the limp , the accent , the music etc etc etc and the fact that Hugh has made Gregory House so REAL I feel like I know him, YES YES YES it must be his year to actually recieve this award ,its a travesty that he does’nt already have at least one already .xxx

  • Elena

    I think Hugh Laurie deserves this award. I don’t think he needs it. Emmy or no Emmy, Laurie is great.

  • hwl40


    Thank god. What a relief for those of us who can’t write to have you say what has touched us so deeply and repeatedly by Hugh Laurie’s House. Hope the Emmy people will read and take notice of your comments to come on Season Six. I can’t wait to read them. Thanks again.

  • R Brown

    Wow, that wordless communication. When you cited so many examples I recalled that scene in Hunting when Stacy deduced that House had read her therapist’s files just from his wordless reaction. In those few seconds, his expressions moved from playful affection, to curious insistence, to passion, to rejection as Stacy reacted very angrily to his invasion of her privacy. And we could see it all, not just from his words, but from his eyes, his voice and his movements. WOW!!

    I have got to get some Buster Keaton movies!! Thanks Barbara Barnett.

  • Eve K

    Buster Keaton is one of my top five favourite actors and directors (I loved “College”, even though its not one of his most celebrated films) , and I do see the similarities with HL. The sad clown, the athlete, the performer who isn’t really happy. But then happiness is not his goal in life. The perfectionist. I hope that HLs carrier never goes the same way as Keatons did though! Good luck with the emmys, but Im satisfied with him portraying Gregory House. It would have been nice if they could keep him a sort of mystery though, not peel of all the layers. I hope they manage to keep the character fresh and interesting in season seven…

  • carli

    So true, everything you say. He truly deserves it. Thank you so much, Barbara, for posting these wonderful words about such an amazing actor.

  • Realistically, will what I say make a difference? Not too likely (although you never know who’s reading). I just feel it needs to be said. Again.

  • Iwa Iniki

    Unfortunately Hollywood is too political. They always rule out English actors. Big mistage. Mr. Laurie should have won several times by now.

  • Chrome

    I like Hugh Laurie a lot, but I really think that House has jumped the gun seasons ago. Remember that episode where all the sudden Dr. House decided to stick a fork in a light socket to try to kill himself? Oh boy! And now him and Cutty got together as the season finale? This show needs to be stopped.

    Anyways, back to Hugh Laurie. He definitely deserves the award. He’s an amazing talent in everything he puts his mind to. If anybody has ever read his book “The Gun Seller” you’ll definitely be happy that you did.

  • The light socket knife came at an interesting time for the character. He did it at a time where even Wilson was concerned about House’s recklessness and self-destructiveness. But he did it with a purpose (albeit misguided). His relationship with Cuddy has evolved since season two with ebbs and flows. Unlikely you’ve been watching much (since you don’t like the series, evidently), so it’s understandable that you’re not really knowledgable.

  • Flo

    He deserves it it is true but considering that the list of the nominees is far more prestigious than the list of the winners I’m fine either way.

    Martin Sheen never got it for “The West Wing” and David Duchovny never got it for “The X-Files”. It is a good company to be with.
    That being said, it would be great if he would finally win.

    The show should also had won for “best drama” RSL should have been nominated for “HH/WH” and I agree with Andree, Lisa Edelstein really deserves a nod this year.
    Can’t believe the writers except David Shore (for “Three Stories”) haven’t won anything too.

    We seem to always praise Laurie, always saying how wonderful he is, but it would be great to praise the others too just for equity’s sake.

  • Mindy Peterman

    Here, here. Let the Emmy voters take note and act accordingly. Excellent article, Barbara.

  • It seems more like the Emmy is for the fans and not Laurie. Why do you need an award by a group of people to validate you think his acting is good?

  • Visitkarte

    I know one single reason why Hugh must be the winner of this year’s Emmy at last, and it’s called ‘Help Me’, from the first to the last minute of it.

    This highly emotional episode (for ‘House’ standards) allowed Hugh to show the whole range of emotions, sometimes changing in tiny parts of seconds… He did it so brilliantly, like only he can, with changes in the facial expression, tiny bit for bit, brilliant nuances of emotion in his voice… I could go on and on and on, but if I were an Acting Arts – teacher in an acting school, this would be my favorite teaching material, without any hope of seeing any grade of this level in any student at all, or, if I were dead lucky, maybe once in a lifetime.

  • El Bicho–I agree that the awards in general are more for the fans than the actors. But if they are what they are, then the argument still stands.

    The Emmys (and the Oscars, etc) are a big deal in the industry and the studio spend bucks trying to campaign for them…

  • blacktop

    So well presented, Barbara. I agree with every word. I hope the Emmy voters are better focussed this year than they have been in the past.

    Hugh Laurie doesn’t need to win the Emmy, since he has already won the admiration, respect, and affection of his peers and millions of fans. But it would be a nice piece of shiny hardware to put on his mantle.

  • Flo

    “The Emmys (and the Oscars, etc) are a big deal in the industry and the studio spend bucks trying to campaign for them…”

    Barbara, that’s my mainly complain about it. It has more to do with business and advertising than with talent and good taste.
    Knowing this, I really don’t understand why people still make a big deal out of it here. In France it’s not that huge.
    basically it gives the award to the show and actors that did the best add compaign. how ridiculous is that?
    If real talent would ever got recognize in these, TXF, Martin Sheen and Laurie would have already won.

    If Hugh doesn’t win it won’t be that bad. That being said, yes, good article, you’re right, it’s worth being mentioned.
    However, if you start with this, like Andree said, you almost will have to write something about the show getting recognised as best drama, Lisa Edelstein and Robert Sean Leonard as actors, Garett Lerner and Russel Friend as best writers for “Help Me”.
    Otherwise, it wouldn’t be really fair.
    Can you imagine how many open letters you would have to write for this show to get recognised as it deserves?

    Good luck with that.

  • Flo–you’re right. The show does deserve awards (and it does get them). But I think Hugh in particular carries the show on his broad shoulders. There are a dozen writers and directors (and they are a talented lot). I totally believe that Lerner and Friend and Doris Egan in particular are deserving of awards the past couple of seasons. No question.

  • Delia_Beatrice

    Here, here! Anything that is necessary (as in me writing 100.000 letters on my own, if you tell me where to mail them:), to get Sir Hugh what is rightfully his: 100.000 Emmys…

    I have said it so many times, but i cannot but repeat myself, since everytime i re-watch an episode, i think the same thing: how much of House’s magic is Hugh’s magic? My guess: AT LEAST 50% of the credit goes to Hugh and 50% to the writers – in the sense that the exact same script, the exact same directors, producers etc, but with another lead actor, and “House” as a show would have been by 50% less magical and less addictive.

    Of course, i adore the man (however discreet i’m being about it:))))). But i adore him for objective cause: for me, he IS House. And to view him as himself is, as Barbara says, a shocking experience. Because i have watched each and every “House” episode for at least 5 times, and not once, not even once, did i get the feeling that this man is acting and not just playing himself…

    The perfection to which he understands House’s complex psychology makes him rightful part of the writing team, because his nuances are what make us all adore House. His comic genius is addictive. His mastering of micro-expressions, body-language and eye expressivity are the stuff of legends. The rythm of his scenic presence is magical. His voice, the accent and the suble rythm and tone variations are, as usual, perfect.

    He IS House – born to play House as House was written for him, one of those sensational matches made in heaven that are so rare and give such immense satisfaction to everybody that benefits from the result. How amazing the dice thrown by the gods in making this divine match, is already visible when reading his novel, “The Gun Seller” – written long before he even auditioned for “House”, the novel gives proof, in writing, of all the qualities that later make Laurie the perfect actor to play our beloved tormented genius: Incredible wit and great, great sense and mastering of words, rhythm and sarcasm. Amazing sense of irony and self-irony. Impecable sense of both humor and comedy. Ability for deep analyses and evolution of characters. Good attention to details, that gives away the tendency towards perfectionism. Good psychological insight and great character portraits, as well as great simple sketches. Good visual sense, eloquent descriptions, that tell of his experience with visual arts. Good rythm of the story-telling, but without any sort of action-rush or unnecessary delays. And beautiful way to insert into the narration introspective, often ironic or self-ironic, analytical digresions, that remind of House’s ability to make phylosophical, ethical, logical etc. remarks in a variety of situations and with a great sense of timing. Also, call me crazy and this is a question i would love Mr. Laurie to answer, but i had a distinct feeling that his writing has some influences from my favorite writer of all times, Nobel prize winner Jose Saramago – i wonder if he read his books and liked them…

    How difficult, how tormenting it must be for this superb man to live in the mind, soul and body of his miserable and bitter twin for endless hours, days, months and years, it is hard to say. Sir Hugh himself says that he is embarassed to talk about it, because it would seem as a lack of gratitude for his immense good fortune. I am sure that his satisfaction and our delight are paid with the great torment of a true perfectionist artist, in the strictest sense of the term. Of course, Hugh himself is, as i said, a tormented artist and a perfectionist genius, who suffers from the great punishment of crystal-clear lucidity and its smaller brothers, irony and cynicism. So i think that he understands House very well indeed, but he must have had better life experiences, that made him bear his pain and lucidity with grace, kindness and generosity.

    PS: I would really find it fair to see Miss Edelstein getting an Emmy nomination for supporting actress. Apart from the sad fact that she is, indeed, underused in “House”, her performance is usually flawless, and at times, just mind-blowing. Personal favorites that made a huge impression on me in regard to her talent: “Joy” and “Both Sides Now”, with a major emphasis on the crying and screaming “you’re fired” scene, which she managed to play to absolute perfection.

  • Delia_B: I love Saramago’s writing. It’s lyrical to the point of being nearly narrative poetry at times. HL has talked about the rhythm of the writing–it’s music.

    As a writer, I think so much credit goes to the House scribes who have created this wonderful, wounded, bristly genius of a character. And so much of it is Hugh. In another actor’s hands, he’s just a misanthrope. When Brian Singer cast Hugh in the Pilot, he said as much–that the actors he had auditioned never got the pathos along with the comedy and as jerk parts.

  • pawpaw

    Absolutely fantastic, Barbara! And right on! What are those Emmy people thinking (or maybe they’re not)?

  • Anne D.

    You’ve written so much that is insightful and articulate that I’m only adding this comment to lend the support found in numbers of people who value what you have written and the work and talent of Hugh Laurie. Amen to all of the above and let’s hope for the best, regardless of whether this whole Emmy business is just a big racket. It still seems to count as a high honor for a very worthy actor and artist.

  • I agree whole-hearttedly, this man needs to win ten Golden Globes. He continues to amaze me, and I don’t think I would have finished season six if it weren’t for his amazing talent and screen presence.

  • Hi Lisa–The Hollywood Foreign Press, Screen Actors Guild, Television Critics association have all recognized Hugh with multiple awards. It’s Emmy that’s been remiss 😉 I think this is his year (but I say that every year.)

  • Celia

    Bless you !
    We, his Fans of six years + , want Hugh Laurie recognized as our ‘Hallelujah’ chorus to his talent and work ethic.

  • Sandra

    Why care for the Emmy? Hugh doesn’t need an Emmy to be the winner of the hearts 🙂

  • Amanda

    Barbara–Something I hope you touch on: Hugh makes everyone else look better. Don’t get me wrong–they are a supremely talented cast–but Hugh gives them an central “tuning fork.” A foundation for them to build on, a baseline for them to use, to ensure their own performances are “trued” to the standard.

    I don’t know how to say this right–but the fact is, that ensemble cast is made a better ensemble cast by the consistent skill of Hugh Laurie. He doesn’t bring a good performance; he brings a good *show.*


  • RAK

    For those of you who want to see House and Cuddy on the beach (from next season’s first show, or tease??)

  • 60 plus

    Barbara, Thanks for articulating so beautifully why so many of us feel the way we do about Hugh and the masterful way he portrays House.

    I honestly hate to rain on our parade, but I can’t help but believe that we’re all preaching to the choir. I just read one of the never-ending lists of possible nominees. The critic said that, of course, Hugh Laurie was an automatic nomination. But then he added, “But he’ll never win.” No further explanation given.

    I am certainly not an “insider.” I am very selective about TV, and don’t watch many of the shows that seem to be so popular, such as Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Dexter, Gray’s Anatomy, etc. I am in no position to compare them or their actors with House and Hugh. I am sure that their fans are just as passionate about them as we are about Hugh and House.

    But I would like to know from those who are more familiar with the broader entertainment industry some of the reasons why they believe Hugh has never won his Emmy, in contrast to his receiving the GG and SAG awards. Why does Bryan Cranston have two Emmys and is predicted by many to win a third? (Unless Michael C. Hall does, of course.)

    Barbara, you said, “House is not a big, dramatic action show. It is, at its core a character study, and its brilliance lies in the slow reveals and small moments, not big courtroom scenes; not lengthy speeches; not death-bed missives. And maybe that’s the problem, and why Hugh has not yet won an Emmy. (I’m not letting you off the hook, Emmy people, simply trying to comprehend the incomprehensible.)”

    That’s exactly how I feel…I am an intelligent woman trying to comprehend the incomprehensible. When House first started, someone said it was “The intelligent woman’s TV show,” or something similar. At the risk of seeming arrogant or holier-than-thou, is it that the show demands more than a “shallow” relationship from its viewers? As we have moved from season to season, while the medical/procedural elements have continued, there has been a gradual increase in the peeling of the layers of Gregory House. Those of us who have seen the show as a character study from the beginning relish every new layer. Many viewers have plainly stated that’s not what they want, however…they want a return to the earlier approach–perhaps an approach that doesn’t demand the concentration and ongoing commitment.

    (In some ways, I can’t believe I am this involved in a “stupid” award show. People who know me well would never believe it! I love them dearly, but they don’t understand my addiction–they gave up on House several years back and have gone on to NCIS and Criminal Minds…)

    One last thought…as I look at the lists of possible nominations, it seems as though no one watched the finale. There are references to Broken for writing and direction, and both James Earl Jones and Andre Braugher are mentioned as possible nominees for guest roles. It’s hard to believe that Greg Yaitanes would not be nominated for the finale. Perhaps the much-praised revolutionary use of the new camera will gain technical recognition.

    Thanks for wading through this long post. I don’t post very often…aren’t you glad? 🙂

  • ann uk

    Thanks for defining H.L.’s extraordinary genius so feelingly.It made me think that only a man of great perception and sensitivity could understand and inhabit a character like House. Stephen Fry says that Hugh Laurie is the wisest man he knows and, though of course you are right in distinguishing between the man and the character,the man is there delivering that subtle and profound understanding. Who knows how much that costs him every episode ?

    I feel particularly indignant on his behalf because he doesn’t get the recognition he deserves in his own country , where he tends to be seen still as Bertie Wooster.( and even playing that he managed to give the character a depth it doesn’t have in the books ).

    Yes, the winners in previous years may have been good actors, but Hugh is unique.

    This year the Emmy – or else !!!

  • Carole Colton

    Who are these people that “select” who deserves an Emmy. If Hugh does not get one this year I will gather a gang of us “chicks with no teeth” and descend upon them with such vengence that Custers last stand will seem like a ride at Disneyland!!!

  • ann uk

    Does the actor grow or fade
    Yielding to another’s mind ?
    Does he become the thing itself,
    Feeding it his very soul?
    Or does he merely pull the strings
    That make the puppet play its role?
    Does he endow it with his pain –
    Confess himself beneath its mask?
    And does its mouth tell deeper truths
    Than he could ever speak unmasked?

    Not great poetry , but it expresses what I feel about Hugh’s work. Acting is such a mysterious art and great acting is like great music – inexplicable in its effect.

  • Silvia Analia Aguilar

    Hola, soy de Argentina, me siento muy feliz por Hugh, es seguro que recibirá el premio mayor!! Se lo merece!! Lo amo!!! Cariños a todos.

  • ann uk–really nice summation!

  • Delia_Beatrice

    BARBARA, so glad you read him! I love his lyrical core, as well as i adore his impecable technique and his stylistic inovations and his trademark, the twisted long phrases.
    But what i adore beyond measure in Saramago, and to some extent, in Hugh Laurie and House, is that they all share a superb mix of wide-eyed lucidity with great tolerance and humanity. Saramago is so lucid, never making any compromise in the crystal clear manner in which he looks at the limits and unfairness and stupidity of humans. And this makes him bitter and even cynical in some respects, and it surely makes him painfully lucid and in complete refusal of any self-deception or pretty lies (just like House, and it seems to me, just like Hugh).
    But he is not a misanthrope, not by any means. He believes in the ability of the human nature to rise above its shortcomings. He believes that extraordinary people can say no to being stupid and blind and cowardice and mean. He believes that we are all prone to giving in to the temptation of violence and comfortable blindness, but he never loses hope that some of us will choose differently. He never loses the bitter-sweet irony in his manner of exposing the ugly parts of the human nature. And he never, ever loses his compassion and amazing tolerance, his understanding, his forgiveness, his pity.
    And i am certain that so does House. And i have the impression that so does Mr. Laurie. Each in their own ways, painfully lucid humanitarians.

  • ann uk

    Just want to say that I agree about Lisa Edelstein. The fascinating relationship between House and Cuddy – half dance , half duel- could never work if Hugh wasn’t partnered by an actor of equal skill.
    And, yes, I do think that his understated style has freed up the rest of the cast to give performances that outclass anything else on TV drama.

  • Flo

    The thing is, technically, if we say that the performance of an actor is made better by another actor, Hugh Laurie wouldn’t be that good if his partners sucked.

    This show may not be considered as an ensemble but all the cast is great. If one of them sucked it would be different. I know from experience that every role has to be cast carefully. Laurie is on almost every scene and the show is about his character so we are naturally drawn to him, ans able to see how great he is more than his partners who have less screentime, but the others are equally brilliant.

    As a scriptwriter, I want to say that those writers a geniuses and also that I know how great it is to see your words coming alive by great actors.

    Unfortunately the Emmy Voters will probably think – again, huh! – that “House” is “the Hugh Laurie Show” which is a shame and makes LE and RSL the most underrated actors on TV of the past six years.

    All in All, we are sure that Hugh Laurie is beyond great and that he is gonna be nominated. Maybe it is the time to make those kind of articles praise for the others so they can maybe be recognized as they deserved.

    Since we know that Laurie is gonna be nominated (would be a big surprise if he wasn’t), that the winners are always the same and sometimes don’t even really deserve it, I guess it would be cool to make a paper on who should be nominated and why.

  • Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!
    You are absolutely right Barbara. It must be said. HOUSE is one of the best things to come to the tube and Hugh Laurie is unbelievably amazing that you hit it right on the head when you said it’s actually sometimes weird to see and hear him ‘as himself’ on TV being interviewed.

    Some TV shows are great indeed and I get entertained and move on. But Hugh Laurie/HOUSE… sometimes an episode stays in my head for days!

  • Delia_Beatrice

    Since i mentioned my adoration for him here, i thought i’d mention that Jose Saramago’s funeral took place in Lisbon today. He was one of the few people i prayed would live forever.

  • Ayeesha

    Regarding the article I think it takes both the actor and the director to make the script comes to life. Much needed credit must be given to the directing as well.

  • Olivia

    Finally, someone gets it out in the open! I only watch the Emmys to see if Hugh Laurie won the award (and if House won Best Drama). Every year I am disappointed. How could another actor win the award? Do those actors have to fake an American accent perfectly? Do they have to fake being in constant pain and a limp on top of that? What makes them so much better than the immensely talented Hugh Laurie? Frankly I think Hugh Laurie should have won every year he was nominated. Hugh brings life to the show. I could never, and i mean never, imagine another actor playing House. I hope the people who vote for the Emmys take this into account.

  • Greenhouse

    Olivia – That’s it! That’s why House never wins the Emmy’s! It’s because they know fans of the show will continue watching the Emmy’s to see if he wins.
    It’s the “will they/won’t they” of award shows!
    If House wins, there less tension for the next Emmy’s…


  • Olivia

    Greenhouse- That’s what I figured 🙂
    Everything Hollywood does is for the ratings and money… If Hugh doesn’t win this year, I’m just gonna go online and look up the winners the next day. Hollywood ain’t worth it 😉

  • Patri

    Barbara. Me he sentido totalmente identificada con tu carta, y en como describes el trabajo de este genial actor…
    La caracterización que hace de HOUSE es francamente excepcional… Suerte!

  • Patri–Thank you so much for your kind words! Here’s hoping that Hugh wins next month.