Emmy winners' reactions


Tina Fey's NBC series "30 Rock" took home its third trophy for best comedy, but the star/writer/executive producer said that having more nominees in the category this year made for "a more surprising and exciting night." She also refused to believe the Web chatter that her show was the front-runner: "The Internet is always wrong." Meanwhile, she said her dream guest star is Meryl Streep, who could play a love interest for Alec Baldwin's Jack Donaghy. Remembering that the two are doing just that in the upcoming film "It's Complicated," Fey changed her mind, saying Streep maybe could play Grizz Chapman's love interest. But Fey added: "We've been lucky to have so many guest stars, but this year we're really trying to focus on the (regular group of) characters."

Alec Baldwin
"Paul McCartney. We're working on it." That was lead actor in a comedy winner Alec Baldwin's quick response to who he'd like to see guest star on NBC's "30 Rock." Winning for the second time out of his three nominations for his role as Jack Donaghy, Baldwin joked when asked if he could get "Twilight's" Robert Pattinson to guest star as a favor for his teenage daughter. "I'm sure he has no shortage of shows that want him to come on, like 'Desperate Housewives.' I'm sure those women would want to get their hands on him."

Creator Matthew Weiner credited "Mad Men's" back-to-back best drama Emmy victories to the show's creative team that's "firing on all cylinders and (they have) the ability to have creative freedom to do something that's eccentric and speaks to people. It's about human emotions, and I think that's what brings people to the show." Series star Jon Hamm added that the repeat win was "completely historic for a basic cable show to win not just one but two" Emmys. As for what's next this season, Weiner teased that Season 3's story line is "about to explode, and tonight's episode will feel very explosive for people who see it. There's a lot of curiosity about the cliffhangers, but something big is about to happen."

Glenn Close, who took home her second consecutive Emmy for her lead role on FX's drama series "Damages," was asked backstage whether she thinks her character, ruthless attorney Patty Hewes, is "evil." "No, she's not evil. If Patty were a man, would you be saying that? I don't think as much." Still, Close admitted that she doesn't know everything about the character. "I like her because she's smart and capable and she has wit. ... But I was very disturbed in the first season because I didn't know the ending and I still don't know who my parents are. ... I think (the show) is like a novel, a 21st century version of Dickens."

Cherry Jones, who won supporting actress in a drama for playing the U.S. president in Fox's "24," said she thinks the way has been paved for a real female U.S. president. "Fortunately, I think the glass ceiling has been broken with this last election, and I think the only reason Hillary Clinton isn't president is because a man named Barack Obama came out of the midst." As for any hints about the upcoming season of "24," Jones would say only that her character is "dealing with a world leader who's being played by Anil Kapoor from 'Slumdog Millionaire,' and we've been locked in council chambers at the United Nations for much of the first half of the season."

Brendan Gleeson, who collected an Emmy in his first attempt for his portrayal of Winston Churchill in HBO's miniseries "Into the Storm," said he learned a lot about him during production. "He was one of those great people; you could make 10,000 movies -- they've probably made 10,000 about him -- and still find more to mine. He was a Nobel Prize-winning author, among other things, but it was the liveliness of his mind (that most impressed me) considering he drank a lot." Gleeson noted he just wrapped filming "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1" and bid farewell to his Mad-Eye Moody. "I waved goodbye to him a week and a half ago. It was great fun, playing Mad-Eye was a hoot."

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Bryan Cranston made it two lead actor in a drama Emmys in a row for his meth-dealing chemistry teacher on AMC's "Breaking Bad," and backstage he said that the number of characters currently on TV selling drugs -- think "Weeds" -- reflects viewers' "demand for more insightful and deeply rooted characters on TV." And if Cranston's Walter White were a mathematician, he'd more than likely "resort to counting cards at a casino." Cranston, who went 0-for-3 Emmy-wise for "Malcolm in the Middle," credits "Breaking Bad's" writers and Sony's willingness to go with a show that "might be the worst idea for a television show to begin with," and said last season's finale was a surprise only to the actors when they read the script. "It's like your birthday once a week to be able to read such rich material," he said.

"Lost's" Michael Emerson, who joked that he fears the unemployment that he's facing in about 12 months when the ABC drama series ends, said he has always enjoyed his scenes with Terry O'Quinn. "Very often the scenes between Ben and John Locke are dangerous and electrical in a way that delights me. They feel theatrical and I like that," said Emerson, who collected the best supporting actor in a drama Emmy in his third attempt. Addressing the Jacob story line, Emerson added that he didn't know if Ben really killed him: "I don't know if Jacob is killable; Ben stabbed someone, or it seems like he did. That's what I know."

Next page: Jon Cryer, Kristin Chenoweth, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Jeff Probst, "The Amazing Race," "American Idol," "Little Dorrit," Toni Collette, Jessica Lange, Ken Howard ...

Previous page: Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, "Mad Men," Glenn Close, Cherry Jones, Brendan Gleeson, Bryan Cranston, Michael Emerson ...

Jon Cryer, finally taking home the supporting actor in a comedy prize in his fourth consecutive try, said backstage that he "stands in awe of almost everybody in my category. I'm not going to say who's the one I don't stand in awe of ... and Neil Patrick Harris, as you can see, is killing it tonight, and he does that every week on the show. So how are you going to fight that? I don't know." Cryer added that he thinks the TV Academy finally gave him the prize because he "just stuck around for so long that they finally gave up. (They thought), 'He's not going to leave us alone until he wins one of these things.' "

Kristin Chenoweth, winner for supporting actress in a comedy series for ABC's "Pushing Daisies," called her win "bittersweet" because the show was canceled. But the actress-singer said she has lots of projects in various stages, including an upcoming appearance on Fox's "Glee" in which she sings, two movies that have wrapped and recently serving as a guest judge for "American Idol" auditions. Chenoweth said she thinks new "Idol" judge Ellen DeGeneres will do a good job. "A lot of people give Ellen a lot of guff for not being a trained singer, but she represents a lot of Americans, and there is nothing wrong with her being on that panel." (See related story)

A raspy-voiced Shohreh Aghdashloo, who collected her first Emmy for supporting actress in a miniseries or movie for HBO's "House of Saddam," said she hoped the success of the mini will "bring more shows that shed more light on the injustices going on around the world, not just in the Middle East, but all around the world, especially in Iran. Wearing a green bracelet to show her solidarity with the young people in Iran who "shook the world with their civil disobedience," Aghdashloo encouraged youngsters abroad to "stick to what you love, if you're good at it, you'll be successful. No matter what color your face is, regardless of your race, background or nationality, if you know your work, (the industry) will give you work. This is what I admire about this industry."

Kristin Chenoweth
Jeff Probst, who took home his second trophy for reality/reality-competition host for CBS' "Survivor" after winning the inaugural award last year, had a bold suggestion for the producers of another CBS reality show, "The Amazing Race," which took home its seventh Emmy for reality competition program ("Survivor" wasn't among the nominees). "It's a good show ... but for all the shows that are nominated, it's frustrating. Maybe they should do what Oprah did and just pull themselves out of the running and make room for other people. Their walls are lined; they've got their share. Maybe they can share now."

Backstage, "The Amazing Race" executive producer Bertram Van Munster shot down Probst's idea. "I'm going to discuss this with my committee here," he said, referring to the show's producers, "but it's unlikely." Van Munster did admit that he thought ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" had a "really good shot" at taking home the trophy this year instead of "Race." "I personally like that show very much." (See related story)

"American Idol" director Bruce Gowers said Ellen DeGeneres' addition as a judge "will bring a lot more fun on the show than there was before. Ellen will bring her audience, and the ratings will be higher than ever." Winning in his fifth attempt for directing in a variety, music or comedy series, Gowers said he is looking forward to the "unexpected" that DeGeneres brings to "Idol." "I can see her walking into the audience like she does on the show," he said. As for Paula Abdul? "It was wonderful to work with Paula. She was always the unexpected."

"It was an enormous book," said Anne Pivcevic, executive producer of PBS' "Masterpiece Theatre" miniseries "Little Dorrit," which is based on the book by Charles Dickens and won Emmys for best miniseries and writing for a mini, movie or dramatic special. "There was a huge amount of story in it. When I picked it up, I nearly fell over." Meanwhile, executive producer Rebecca Eaton said Britain has become a "pipeline of fabulous talent" for the U.S. "This country is beginning to appreciate them even more. They've been on 'Masterpiece Theatre' for 35 years and we're just now beginning to understand their accents," she joked, adding that "I don't think they're taking jobs away from American actors." (See related story)

Lead actress in a comedy series winner Toni Collette, who picked up the Emmy for Showtime's freshman show "United States of Tara," joked that she thought Tara's multiple personalities on the show would respond differently to the win. "Alice would start polishing it," she said, adding that she hopes the victory means "I get to play this part for years to come because I really enjoy doing it."

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Multiple Oscar winner Jessica Lange took home her first Emmy for playing the real-life character of Big Edie in HBO's "Grey Gardens," which also was named best made-for-TV movie and earned her co-star Ken Howard a supporting actor trophy. Asked about competing in the same category as her co-star Drew Barrymore, who played Little Edie in the movie, Lange said: "Half of this is hers because ... we were really two halves of a whole, and you can't separate the characters, and you can't separate the performances. ... It's really Drew's (award), too, and she knows that." As for venturing into new territory by singing in the movie, Lange said: "Maybe I'll try it again someday." She added that TV roles are getting "greater and greater," arguing that "maybe five or 10 years ago this would have been a feature film, but now you can do it on television."

Ken Howard, winner of supporting actor for HBO's "Grey Gardens," expressed hope that the miniseries would make a comeback in television. "You get a long time to devote to the character. It's a great form, and I hope it comes back. It's great for actors and great for the audience, so there."
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