Reactions from Emmy nominees
EmptyGlenn Close was driving with her dogs, Bill and Jack, when she heard the news of her best actress nomination for her role in FX's "Damages." She said she's proud that a basic cable show like hers was able to garner six noms. Even with her excitement, she said she was sorry co-star Rose Byrne's work wasn't recognized. "I think she is absolutely superb, and I want to share my nomination with her," Close said.
"Mad Men's" Jon Hamm was on a flight from New York to Los Angeles when the nominations were announced. "I found out I was nominated after we landed at 8 a.m., and my phone started going crazy. It's obviously quite exciting stuff but, at the same time, quite a whirlwind that's kind of hard to navigate. My overriding feeling is one of gratitude that our show was recognized so completely and so wonderfully, top to bottom. Just looking at the nominee lists, what happened this morning seems tremendously good for television. All of this nontraditional programming like our show, 'Breaking Bad,' 'Dexter,' it's just excellent to see it recognized and rewarded."
John Slattery, nominated for his supporting role in AMC's "Mad Men," was awake when the nominations were announced, but he was nowhere near a TV. "I was about two feet from the water, ready to paddle out and go surfing, when my publicist called me," said the first-time nominee, who was in Malibu when he got the call. He said he hopes the show's 16 noms will translate into more viewers for the widely praised but modestly rated drama. "It couldn't hurt, but I don't know what more can be done. (The show has) the word-of-mouth and buzz and publicity. I don't see how it can go anywhere but up."
Kevin Spacey said he was "blown away" by the number of Emmy nominations that "Recount" and "Bernard and Doris" received -- 21. Spacey's Trigger Street Prods. was a producer for both, as well as Spacey receiving a nomination for actor in a movie or miniseries. "There is some bizarre irony that 21 is the number of nominations (for those films), and that was our movie a couple of months ago," Spacey said from his home in London, where he is director of the Old Vic theater. But even with all the joy, Spacey said that for everyone involved in "Recount" it's time to remember the late director Sydney Pollack, who had signed on to direct it before falling ill. "This was the last film he was involved in as a producer. He was the first person who called me about the project, and even when he got ill, he was with us and giving notes right up to were he got very ill, right toward the very end." And since he's in London, Spacey didn't have to get up early to find out whether he was nominated. "It was a very civilized time of the day, yes," Spacey said. "But I did have to call my business partner (Dana Bernetti) and wake him up."
"Recount" director Jay Roach was standing in front of the Louvre in Paris with his children when he got the call about his directing nomination for "Recount." Roach, who is accompanying his wife, Susanna Hoffs, on a Bangles tour, said he had "very mixed emotions about the honor." Roach was brought in to helm the movie about the 2000 Florida recount after Sydney Pollack pulled out as his health deteriorated. Pollack, who died of cancer the day after the premiere of "Recount" on HBO, gave Roach notes during postproduction and was able to see the final cut. "He liked it very much," Roach said. "He knew the story could be told in a suspenseful but also entertaining way, and this is a tribute to his vision." Roach also praised HBO for "having a courage to make a political thriller especially when people know the ending."
Lead actress nominee Kyra Sedgwick ("The Closer") is even more excited by this year's nominations than she has been previously. "People are gonna get bored, and interest in the show and your appeal as an actor can wane," she said. "So, it some ways, it feels even better." Sedgwick also said she's thrilled that three out of the five nominees in her category come from cable shows and that the majority are older than 35. "The myth that after 35 women are over in Hollywood is disappearing," she said. "Women want to see women their age that look like them and act like them. I think that feels best of all."
Ted Danson's wife, Mary Steenburgen, had been up since 5 a.m. waiting for a call as to whether her husband had been nominated for his supporting role in FX's "Damages." Not realizing that the announcements didn't start until 5:40 a.m., she was disappointed when no call came. "She was thinking, 'Oh my poor husband,' and then someone called at 6," Danson said. "She is indeed excited." He said it's a big week for the couple, as her film "Step Brothers" opens this week. Danson, whose last nomination was in 1993 for "Cheers," said he's just as in the dark as the viewers as to the fate of his "Damages" character, who was shot in the season finale. "I'm back in some form, but the truth is I have no idea. They've not picked me up for a whole season, so I can't tell. I really don't know. I do know that the (Season 2) opening scene is very surprising and shocking and fun."
"We're in the midst of making the show, so there's a bit more of a lightness in everybody's step today," Michael C. Hall said after being nominated for lead actor for Showtime's "Dexter." "Nominations aren't the be all, end all, but when they do come, it suggests that more than just a couple of people are responding to your work." More than a couple is right, as Hall will see firsthand next week at the mecca of super-fandom, San Diego's Comic-Con, where he said he'll be "ducking and weaving" fans' questions about what to expect in the serial killer drama's third season. "The more interesting things you reveal, the less interesting things there are on the show for the fans. The fun for the audience is not knowing what's in store."
"This is just an amazing feeling. Amazing," said "Mad Men" creator/exec producer Matthew Weiner. "I was talking to (co-writer and producer) Robin Veith this morning, asking if she remembered typing the title page of the 'Mad Men' pilot eight years ago. And I said to her, 'Wow, it's nice to have something like this happen overnight, isn't it?' Weiner had decided beforehand that I was going to enjoy it if it happened. "I'm going to go out and celebrate by taking my kids to a table read of 'The Simpsons' that we'd already had schedule. I can't think of a better way to rejoice."
"I left the whole process open for a surprise, since I tend not to be tense about these things. I just mosey about my business and if it happens, fantastic, and if it doesn't, I try not to be upset," said Heidi Klum, recognized as reality-competition host for Bravo's "Project Runway." "It's always hard to speak for yourself about what it is you're good at that's being recognized, but it's not at all like I take this lightly."
Also from the reality competition noms, "The Amazing Race" creator Bertram Van Munster said, "Even after all the past wins, I'm as excited as a little boy. I find it such a crowning achievement to be celebrated for what we do every year, and we are so enthusiastic about being able to work like this and do something so ambitious and big. It's just thrilling."
What is it with people up for Emmy Award attention who forget when the nominations are? We hear about it all the time, an actor insisting, "Oh, I was sound asleep and had forgotten it was even happening!" Holland Taylor, nominated for supporting actress in a comedy for the third time for her work on CBS' "Two and a Half Men," made just such a claim Thursday morning. "I really had totally forgotten!" Taylor claimed. "So then my phone rings and I'm wondering, 'Who the hell is calling me this early?' But you know, it's always a nice phone call to get, even when you're not expecting it."
Christina Applegate was trying in vain to get some sleep all morning long. Her publicist called at "5-something in the morning" and woke her up to give her the news that she had been nominated for leading actress in a comedy series for "Samantha Who?" "I don't think I really realized what was happening, but it was a nice phone call to get today." She'd been trying to get back to sleep, but press interviews kept interrupting. So how's she planning to celebrate? "I think I am going to try to get some more sleep today and go to dinner with friends tonight." Asked for hints about her show's upcoming second season, she said: "It will be bigger, bolder and juicier. The first few episodes are very high-concept. There's a lot going on. There's also a lot more for everybody else to do. The first season we established the characters, and this season it will be nice to get to know them better."
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, nominated for her starring role in CBS' "The New Adventures of Old Christine," didn't hear the news from a publicist. "I was in a deep sleep, and Peter Roth woke me up." That must feel good, to get a call from president of Warner Bros. TV himself about an Emmy nom, no? "Actually he came into my bedroom and woke me up," she joked. The actress said it was a "huge relief" to get nominated because the show shot only 10 episodes this past season because of the writers strike. "I thought any chance of getting any nomination was slim for that reason. This is a real testament to the writing of our show." Louis-Dreyfus, who just returned from a four-week trip to Africa, where she's working on a documentary, said "Christine" will have another new adventure of her own next season: "Barb (Wanda Sykes) and I are going to enter a different kind of relationship. She needs to become an American citizen, and we live in California, so you can imagine the high jinks that ensue as a result."
Jean Smart's cell phone kept ringing in her hotel room, and she kept wishing she had put in on vibrate. "I'm out of town and completely forgot. I thought the calls were emergencies," she said. Luckily, there was no emergency, just the good news of her nomination for supporting actress for "Samantha Who?" Smart has been nominated several times before, and while she said it's not the same as the first time ("It's like your first kiss"), she is still incredibly honored. "You try not to dwell on it and make it super important, but when it happens you are really flattered and happy about it, and you'd be disappointed if it didn't happen," she said.
Thursday brought a two-fer for Tom Wilkinson, who scored nominations for his role as James A. Baker in "Recount" as well as Benjamin Franklin in "John Adams." Wilkinson heard the news at home in London, where he has just finished a movie called "44-Inch Chest" with John Hurt, Ray Winstone and Ian McShane. He said the nominations for "Recount" were in part a tribute to Sydney Pollack, whose terminal illness kept him from directing it. Wilkinson, being English, also didn't have the same feelings that others in the cast might have had in doing something so controversial based on the recent past. "I wasn't burdened down by any sense of responsibility of how I was going to do Jim Baker in regard to my own political inclinations," Wilkinson said. "I don't vote in American elections." But he's gratified for the recognition, his second and third Emmy nominations. "That's the cream in the coffee," he said.
"Ugly Betty" star America Ferrera celebrated her second consecutive Emmy nomination by heading to work. The ABC dramedy is in its second week of shooting on its third season, which for the first time is in production in New York City. Ferrera found out about the nominations just before leaving for work, sitting on the couch with her dog and her boyfriend. "It was fun to see Kristin Chenoweth read it (the nomination) because she's such a good friend," Ferrera said. Ferrera, who won for best actress in a comedy last year, said last year's experience makes it easier the second time around at the ceremony. "I was a little nervous the first time around," she said. But she does hope that the theater-in-the-round format doesn't come back, since when she accepted last year she had to go to the far microphone and wasn't able to see her cast and crew. "That was a little bit of a bummer, but it's fine," Ferrera said.
It took several phone calls from well-wishers for Bob Balaban to realize that he had received multiple nominations, including supporting actor in a miniseries/movie for HBO's "Recount" and directing for a mini/movie/dramatic special for HBO's "Bernard and Doris." He also exec produced the latter, which was nominated in the made-for-TV movie category. Initially, a friend alerted him to the "Bernard" noms, but "eight phone calls later, somebody congratulated me on my acting nomination, and I told them they must have read the list and made a mistake."
"This is our third straight year of being nominated (for outstanding comedy series), and let me tell ya, it never gets old at all," said Chuck Lorre, creator/exec producer of CBS' single-camera comedy "Two and a Half Men." "It's not something you ever take for granted. It's wonderful to get that call. And I mean, the number of cameras you have on your show should matter less than how well you make people laugh. That should be the goal of a comedy series. It certainly is for us. That the voters believe we get it right is what's most gratifying."
"We were very hopeful about getting some acknowledgment, but when you are faced with behemoth (Emmy) campaigns from HBO, we fell like the little engine that could," said Neil Meron, exec producer of made-for-TV movie nominee "A Raisin in the Sun." "Especially because it's not the kind of thing that deals with political campaigns or ex-presidents or big conspiracies; it's a very simple family drama." Craig Zadan, who also exec produced the ABC movie, said "Raisin," while set in the 1950s, resonates with events in today's world. "There's no way not to look at the correlation with a black presidential candidate, racism, poverty and the hard economic times and people struggling to keep their head above water. It's amazing how this is a period drama and yet how contemporary this movie is to the world we are living in right at this moment."
Seth Green had a rough Wednesday night, taking a red-eye flight, but the news that his Adult Swim show "Robot Chicken," which he created with Matthew Senreich, was nominated for an animated program Emmy made his morning a lot better. "My publicist called at 6:22 a.m., about three hours after I landed in Los Angeles. I was pretty much asleep and reacted in a disproportionately grumpy way," he joked. "I didn't have my head about me yet." Once he processed the information, he said he was "baffled and excited" about the news. The show was nominated for its "Star Wars" parody, which is being released Tuesday on DVD; Green said he's hoping to have another big episode for the show's upcoming fourth season. "We're talking to some companies, like Mattel and Hasbro, about some things. We want to do it right, whatever lends itself to a half-hour parody. We're definitely thinking about it."
Although Kristin Chenoweth was immersed in Emmy nomination news as one of the announcers Thursday morning, she didn't expect the biggest news of all -- her nomination for supporting actress for "Pushing Daisies." "It was a total shock," she said. This is the actress' first Emmy nom, and no one is more thrilled than her mother. "I talked to my mom, and she was crying and really proud. She's been getting a lot of phone calls in Oklahoma."
Neil Patrick Harris was onstage at 5:40 a.m. to announce the nominees when as a surprise at the end, it was his name called as best supporting actor in a comedy series for CBS' "How I Met Your Mother." Harris called it a "lovely surprise" but downplayed the importance of winning. "We're all trying to do our best at the show, and it's good to put on your bio, but it doesn't hold that much water. The trophy isn't important; it's just nice to give acknowledgment to the show," he said. Harris also talked about his smaller-than-small-screen work on Joss Whedon's just-launched online musical, "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog," and whether a series like that could see an Emmy someday in a new category. "It's odd that I'm way more excited right now about 'Dr. Horrible' than the Emmy nomination," he said, laughing. "It wouldn't surprise me (to see an online TV category) in the future. We're in a tricky, uncharted territory on the Internet. If people know that millions of people will watch it, we're going to see more shows like this. I'm not saying 'Dr. Horrible' is the most high-brow of shows, but it's good. We're not reinventing the theatrical wheel, but it's certainly an amazing 22 minutes of show so far, and I can't wait to see what happens next."
Zeljko Ivanek also is up for supporting actor for "Damages," but said there won't be any rivalry on set -- friendly or otherwise -- with his co-star Ted Danson. "It's out of my hands. It was nice getting to this point, but the rest will play out the way it plays out. I have no expectations or sense of being beaten or beating out." On second thought, "maybe it'll be uglier by September, but not now," he quipped. The first-time nominee also declined to divulge details about the show's second season. "All I can say about it is there are some great surprises in store, and it's not up to me to spoil them."
"Even if my name had not been among the five nominees, I'm just pleased the category exists," said Tom Bergeron of ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" in regard to this year's new category for reality-competition program host. "It's great that the Emmy folks recognized the work I'm doing and my friends are doing, and I'm flattered to be part of that." Bergeron said he's friends with all of his fellow category nominees -- Ryan Seacrest, Howie Mandel and Jeff Probst -- except Heidi Klum, "and I'm hoping to rectify that." But he still thinks he has the formula to beat them: "I'm looking at the competition, and I'm going to make a strategy on this: I'm going to have dimples put in to compete with Probst, shaving my head to compete with Howie, waxing my legs to compete with Heidi and cutting 20 years off my resume to compete with Ryan." After such an exciting morning, Bergeron said it was back to reality Thursday afternoon. "I'm on vacation in New Hampshire, and I've got to take my 1978 Volkswagen Beetle convertible to get a windshield-wiper pump installed. It's a little yin and a little yang."
"Law & Order: SVU" executive producer Neal Baer was excited about the NBC procedural's three nominations -- leading drama actress for Mariska Hargitay and guest-star mentions for Robin Williams and Cynthia Nixon. "You don't often see the star of a show in its 10th year get nominated," he said. He credited the actors, the writers and the director -- David Platt directed all three performances -- as well as a TV academy policy that ensures that the judging panels actually watch the performances before voting. "I can't say how happy I am that the members of the panels see the tapes because this is the fairest way. It lets the performances speak, and apparently these spoke loudly."
Tom Hooper didn't have to wake up at the crack of dawn to find out that he was nominated for directing HBO's miniseries "John Adams." He was in London working on "The Damned United," his upcoming film written by Peter Morgan, Hooper's "Longford" collaborator. "I found out, and then I got to go out to lunch and celebrate in a civilized way," he quipped. He said the subject matter resonates in America today. "I think one of the great things about doing this is having the chance through this story to have a dialogue about America's core values in an election year. What made me happy was I feel like the success of 'John Adams' is proof that people are more politically engaged this year and open to the complexity of America's political history. It wasn't a dumbed-down version of history." That history is something the British-born Hooper wasn't as familiar with before signing on to direct the mini. "I previously knew little about John Adams, but I think I was able to bring an fresh perspective, an outsider's perspective, to the story."
Compiled by Nellie Andreeva, Paul J. Gough, Karen Nicoletti, Kimberly Nordyke, Ray Richmond and Stephanie Robbins