Sunday, September 10, 2000

Prime-time Emmys a tale of two shows

... And our critic tries his hand at prognostication

        It's the perfect Hollywood drama: The White House vs. the mob.

        NBC's The West Wing and HBO's The Sopranos lead all TV shows with 18 nominations each for the 52nd Annual Prime-time Emmy Awards telecast 8-11 p.m. today.

        Early returns favor The West Wing, Aaron Sorkin's fascinating drama about a fictional Democratic president (Martin Sheen) and his hard-working staff. The drama won four awards (casting, theme music, cinematography and art direction) when technical Emmys were handed out Aug. 26.

  What: 52nd Annual Prime-time Emmy Awards
  When: 8-11 p.m. today
  Where: Channels 9, 2
  Host: Garry Shandling

        How it will fare tonight, though, is anybody's guess.

        The Sopranos, the cult cable hit about a New Jersey organized crime family, also led the field with 16 nominations in its freshman season last year — only to win two awards, drama actress (Edie Falco) and drama series writing.

        The always unpredictable Academy of Television Arts & Sciences members could make up for the slight to The Sopranos one year later. Or they could jump aboard the bandwagon for TV's hottest new drama, as it has done in past years for L.A. Law, ER, NYPD Blue and Hill Street Blues.

        This year the Emmys are harder than usual to predict because of a change in voting procedure. Academy members — actors, producers, directors, writers and behind-the-camera experts — for the first time have watched tapes of nominees at home, instead of screening shows together in groups of 40 or more, before voting.

        As many as 1,500 people — instead of merely 500 — were expected to vote on the best drama and comedy categories, Academy Chairman Meryl Marshall told TV critics this summer.

        Will a big voter turnout result in a landslide victory for The West Wing? (In this election year, The West Wing would get my vote, straight down the ticket.)

        Or could an expanded electorate be the deciding factor for HBO's Sex and the City and The Sopranos? Or NBC's young Will & Grace cast?

        We'll find out tonight.

Kiese picks:

        Nominees in top categories for the 52nd Annual Prime-time Emmy Awards tonight, and TV critic John Kiesewetter's pick to win and who he believes will win:

        Comedy: Everybody Loves Raymond, CBS; Frasier, NBC; Friends, NBC; Sex and the City, HBO; Will & Grace, NBC.

[photo] Kiese believes The West Wing, starring Martin Sheen, should win Best Drama.
(NBC photo)
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        Kiese pick: Everybody Loves Raymond.

        Will win: Will & Grace.

        Drama: ER, NBC; Law & Order, NBC; The Practice, ABC; The Sopranos, HBO; The West Wing, NBC.

        Kiese pick: The West Wing.

        Will win: The Sopranos.

        Miniseries: Arabian Nights, ABC; The Beach Boys: An American Family, ABC; The Corner, HBO; Jesus, CBS; P.T. Barnum, A&E.

        Kiese pick: The Beach Boys: An American Family.

        Will win: Arabian Nights.

        TV movie: Annie, ABC; If These Walls Could Talk II, HBO; Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, HBO; Oprah Winfrey Presents: Tuesdays with Morrie, ABC; RKO 281, HBO.

        Kiese pick: Oprah Winfrey Presents: Tuesdays with Morrie.

        Will win: RKO 281.

        Variety, music or comedy series: The Chris Rock Show, HBO; Dennis Miller Live, HBO; Late Show with David Letterman, CBS; Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher, ABC; The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, NBC.

[photo] Michael Imperioli and James Gandolfini star in The Sopranos.
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        Kiese pick: The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

        Will win: The Chris Rock Show.

        Drama actor: Dennis Franz, NYPD Blue, ABC; James Gandolfini, The Sopranos, HBO; Jerry Orbach, Law & Order, NBC; Martin Sheen, The West Wing, NBC; Sam Waterston, Law & Order, NBC.

        Kiese pick: Martin Sheen.

        Will win: James Gandolfini.

        Drama actress: Lorraine Bracco, The Sopranos, HBO; Amy Brenneman, Judging Amy, CBS; Edie Falco, The Sopranos, HBO; Julianna Margulies, ER, NBC; Sela Ward, Once and Again, ABC.

        Kiese pick: Sela Ward.

        Will win: Sela Ward.

        Comedy actor: Michael J. Fox, Spin City, ABC; Kelsey Grammer, Frasier, NBC; John Lithgow, 3rd Rock from the Sun, NBC; Eric McCormack, Will & Grace, NBC; Ray Romano, Everybody Loves Raymond, CBS.

        Kiese pick: Michael J. Fox.

        Will win: Michael J. Fox.

        Comedy actress: Jenna Elfman, Dharma & Greg, ABC; Patricia Heaton, Everybody Loves Raymond, CBS; Jane Kaczmarek, Malcolm in the Middle, Fox; Debra Messing, Will & Grace, NBC; Sarah Jessica Parker, Sex and the City, HBO.

        Kiese pick: Jane Kaczmarek.

        Will win: Sarah Jessica Parker.

        Drama supporting actor: Michael Badalucco, The Practice, ABC; Dominic Chianese, The Sopranos, HBO; Steve Harris, The Practice, ABC; Richard Schiff, The West Wing, NBC; John Spencer, The West Wing, NBC.

        Kiese pick: Richard Schiff.

        Will win: Dominic Chianese.

        Drama supporting actress: Stockard Channing, The West Wing, NBC; Tyne Daly, Judging Amy, CBS; Allison Janney, The West Wing, NBC; Nancy Marchand, The Sopranos, HBO; Holland Taylor, The Practice, ABC.

        Kiese pick: Allison Janney.

        Will win: Nancy Marchand.

        Comedy supporting actor: Peter Boyle, Everybody Loves Raymond, CBS; Brad Garrett, Everybody Loves Raymond, CBS; Sean Hayes, Will & Grace, NBC; Peter MacNicol, Ally McBeal, Fox; David Hyde Pierce, Frasier, NBC.

        Kiese pick: Brad Garrett.

        Will win: Sean Hayes.

        Comedy supporting actress: Jennifer Aniston, Friends, NBC; Kim Cattrall, Sex and The City, HBO; Lisa Kudrow, Friends, NBC; Megan Mullally, Will & Grace, NBC; Doris Roberts, Everybody Loves Raymond, CBS.

        Kiese pick: MeganMullally.

        Will win: Megan Mullally.

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