Monday, September 22, 2008

The 60th Primetime Emmy Awards

Stage One of the Process has begun! (okay, that’s an obscure quote from Tim Curry’s voice/over at the intro to the Alien Encounter attraction at Walt Disney World. Anybody? Nobody.) That’s just my dumb way of saying Award Season has begun with a bang!

The red carpet is an unbelievably strange phenomenon, and it shows on television. There’s no easier failure than wearing formal attire, being nervous, with klieg lights glaring down on you and reporters with TV cameras asking you questions at three in the afternoon. Easy! I am still stunned at how good Kate Walsh is at it while being actually natural, and looking stunning to boot. Shoutout to Tina Fey who must not have breathed all night in that phenomenal gown, it’s the best she may have ever looked in her whole life, and for a sexy librarian that’s saying something. I must ask why the hell Glenn Close refuses to put away those awful sunglasses she has been wearing for twenty years. They were awful even in 1988, Glenn, if that hint means anything to you!

One more word of advice: If you’re a nominee who is married to another famous person, do the entire red carpet together - you're good. If you’re married to someone who, say, works at a button factory; then you can walk the carpet together but limit their question answering. If you just have a hot girlfriend, Gabriel Byrne, then do photos together but answer everything yourself. Guess what? We don’t care about your ability to get a hot girl or even if you are straight – just answer the questions!

Sometimes you wonder what kind of thought was put into that portion of the evening. I know that people who are too cool for school would like to pretend that the red carpet doesn’t matter, but they’re just being mean to the viewers. They are aware that they’re trying to sell their shows to the viewers, right? I know that most men want nothing to do with makeup in real life but if you have pockmarks the size of craters, slap some on. For the viewers!

The 2008 Emmys were the first major televised show at the brand spanking new Nokia Theater. And it looks good! The Nokia Theater is part of the new expanded Staples Center complex. It’s got the arena, the convention center, the Nokia, condos, a hotel, shopping and an outdoor plaza as a nice open space for the people. Not bad, and the acoustics are amazing if you ever get a chance to see a concert there.

Congratulations to Tina Fey!!! I am a big supporter of 30 Rock, it might be my second favorite sitcom of all time. The show deserved to win, and so did Tina and Alec Baldwin for acting! The two are an uncannily amazing comedy duo, it seems weird to remember how many of us were astonished at his being cast opposite her on the show. That was definitely on my mind grapes at the time.

Also, congrats to Mad Men! I also personally thought Jon Hamm was robbed! I rarely feel that way, but damn he is good on that show. I had no idea that this win is Dianne Weist’s second Emmy! She is a phenomenal actress at drama or comedy and her Emmys, Tonys and Oscars prove it. Many people don’t think that there should be a reality show award, but as long as The Amazing Race keeps winning, then I’m cool. As soon as Survivor gets one (if ever), I’m writing a pretty dark and heavy letter to the Academy. That being said, Jeff Probst actually is a very good host, but for my money he’s no Tom Bergeron. No one can handle live television, be funny and spontaneous like Bergeron. He’ll get one some day, and he will deserve it.

I have to give a Shoutout to Audra McDonald who is an amazing actress, nominated for A Raisin in the Sun [which was shut out completely, strange…]. Many people only know Miss Audra as Kate Walsh’s best friend on Private Practice, but this is her second Emmy nom. She comes from Broadway, where she won four Tony Awards by the time she was 33, beating Barbra Streisand’s record! Just in case you didn’t know…

I did not attend any of the big studio parties, but did attend the NYU Tisch School of the Arts Emmy Party. [Tisch is my alma mater.] It was fun, and refreshingly low-key. I knew that we’d have to do arrivals [that’s what the red carpet is called from this side of the camera, and truthfully this one was on concrete.] so I was prepared. Like I said earlier, it is strange. Taking your picture in front of some branded backdrop is the only place you are expected to pose while a crowd of people stare at you. Don’t forget to look good! These kinds of parties are nice because you actually know people there and get to toast their nominations and wins to their face, not by email or flowers or phone. You can shake the hand of the guy you got wasted with the first weekend of college and reminisce about old times. “Remember when we were thrown out of that restaurant, then took the party back to the dorm, stole food from the dining hall kitchen and you passed out in the hall by your room because you were too wasted to remember how to use a key to get in?! Congratulations on your win, buddy, you deserve it!” It’s all about balance. Normally I don’t give away too much about these parties but not today! I will say that many people got drunk (not just buzzed). One unnamed winner stopped a server holding appetizers on a tray, ate one, loved it, and kept her there while he proceeded to finish the entire tray! In less than two minutes. Now those appetizers were good, but damn! Have some self control, man! You can seriously burn the hell out of your mouth on those mini pizzas! Some of us were convinced to sing at the piano. Really. And there’s nothing like getting to some remote place in the venue to find people separating immediately like teenagers caught in the act!

A word to the wise at these parties. If you’re not a nominee or winner, then start out the night with the intention of being on your best behavior. When the mood is celebratory, with an open bar and free food, things will quickly get out of hand. Which reminds me, always make a trip to the bathroom, if only to take a real look at yourself in the mirror. This goes for the men, because women already know this. As the night goes on, and drinks are imbibed, your look has inevitably changed. Tuxedo shirt untucked, hair in disarray, a napkin hanging out of your jacket pocket and your face greasier than that tray of mini pizzas you just ate. And you’re likely to have your picture taken on the way out! Yikes!

And so it begins! Stay tuned here for award season coverage all the way through the Oscars.

[© 2008 MD TOTAL all rights reserved.]

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Alison said...

Lord amercy, if you're a dude PLEASE keep your chick by your side - I don't care if she talks, I just want to see the dress! And please Jesus, let Tina Fey WRITE THE DAMN AWARDS CEREMONY NEXT YEAR. Or better yet, let me: I see Cloris Leachman as host...

NB said...

Good lord. That was an entertaining post. For real.

Mind grapes . . .

Gwen said...

Not that I enjoyed working there (and let's not get started on what I think of Mark Burnett himself), but I wouldn't be outraged if Survivor ever won an Emmy. Their challenge department is so creative and smart - they really are the best in the business. And while I find Phil Keoghan to be far more engaging and charismatic, Jeff Probst is more than meets the eye -- on the island, he's basically the only showrunner, and he does a great job making the show come together.

Anyway, now I'm sad I forgot about the Emmys until they were basically over. This would never have happened in LA. But at least your recap was the next best thing to actually watching them -- so thanks! :)