Will & Grace" star Eric McCormack, who recently made his Broadway debut in The Music Man, joined "ER" star Laura Innes on July 18 to announce the 54th Annual Primetime Emmy Award nominations.
The acclaimed HBO drama "Six Feet Under" garnered the most nominations (23), including one for Outstanding Drama Series. Michael C. Hall — who will soon join the Broadway company of Chicago — and theatre veteran Frances Conroy (The Ride Down Mt. Morgan), both received Emmy nominations for their performances in the drama about a dysfunctional family who run a financially struggling funeral home. For his direction of "Six Feet Under," playwright Alan Ball (Five Women Wearing the Same Dress) was nominated for Outstanding Director for a Drama Series.
HBO's production of "The Laramie Project" — adapted from the hit Off Broadway play about the horrific murder of Matthew Shepard and its effect on the small town of Laramie, Wyoming — garnered a nomination for creator Moisés Kaufman for Outstanding Direction of a Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special. "Laramie" also picked up noms. for Outstanding Casting, Outstanding Writing and Outstanding Made for Television Movie.
"Dinner with Friends," a TV adaptation of Donald Margulies' Pulitzer Prize-winning play, also picked up a nomination in the latter category.
Other nominations of interest to theatregoers include Visa's "Broadway Tribute," which received a nomination for Outstanding Commercial, and Dave Grusin, who composed the music for the aforementioned HBO production of "Dinner with Friends" and garnered a nom. for Outstanding Music Composition for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special. In the acting categories, Kelsey Grammer, who starred on Broadway in a short-lived production of Macbeth, received an Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for his work on "Frasier." His competition includes Bernie Mac, Ray Romano, Matt LeBlanc and Matthew Perry. Those nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie include such theatre veterans as Albert Finney ("The Gathering Storm"), Kenneth Branagh ("Shackleton") and Sir Michael Gambon ("Path To War") as well as James Franco (for "James Dean") and Beau Bridges (for "We Were the Mulvaneys").
The already mentioned Frances Conroy will vie for an Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series Emmy along with Tony nominee Allison Janney ("The West Wing"), Jennifer Garner ("Alias"), Amy Brenneman ("Judging Amy") and Rachel Griffiths ("Six Feet Under"). This season's Crucible star, Laura Linney, received a nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie for her performance in Showtime's "Wild Iris." Her competitors include former Follies star Blythe Danner ("We Were the Mulvaneys"), Vanessa Redgrave ("The Gathering Storm"), Angela Bassett ("The Rosa Parks Story") and Gena Rowlands ("Wild Iris").
David Hyde Pierce, who was seen on Broadway in Beyond Therapy andThe Heidi Chronicles, received a nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for his performance as the uptight Niles Crane on NBC's "Frasier." His competitors include Peter Boyle ("Everybody Loves Raymond"), Brad Garrett ("Everybody Loves Raymond"), Bryan Cranston ("Malcolm in the Middle") and Sean Hayes ("Will & Grace"). Four-time Tony nominee Victor Garber (Deathtrap, Little Me, Lend Me a Tenor and Damn Yankees) picked up a nom. for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for his work on "Alias," as did Bring in 'da Noise, Bring in 'da Funk's Dulé Hill for his role on "The West Wing." They will compete against Freddy Rodriguez ("Six Feet Under"), John Spencer ("The West Wing"), Bradley Whitford ("The West Wing") and Richard Schiff ("The West Wing").
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie nominees include A Streetcar Named Desire Tony nominee Alec Baldwin ("Path to War"), Jim Broadbent ("The Gathering Storm"), Michael Moriarty ("James Dean"), Don Cheadle ("Things Behind the Sun") and Jon Voight ("Uprising"). Megan Mullally, who starred opposite Matthew Broderick in the hit revival ofHow to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, picked up another Emmy nomination for her work on "Will & Grace." Others in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series category include theatre vet Cynthia Nixon ("Sex and the City") plus Kim Cattrall ("Sex and the City"), Doris Roberts ("Everybody Loves Raymond") and Wendie Malick ("Just Shoot Me").
Tony winners Tyne Daly ("Judging Amy"), Stockard Channing ("The West Sing") and Mary-Louise Parker ("The West Wing") are all up for an Emmy in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series category. They will compete against Lauren Ambrose ("Six Feet Under") and Janel Moloney ("The West Wing"). Channing received a second nomination — for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie — for her role as Judy Shepard in NBC's "The Matthew Shepard Story." Others in that category include Sissy Spacek ("Last Call"), Joan Allen ("The Mists of Avalon"), Angelica Huston ("The Mists of Avalon") and former London Follies star Dame Diana Rigg ("Victoria and Albert").
A View From the Bridge Tony winner Anthony LaPaglia was nominated in the Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series category for his performance on "Frasier"; his fellow nominees include Adam Arkin ("Frasier"), Brian Cox ("Frasier"), Brad Pitt ("Friends") and Michael Douglas ("Will & Grace"). Speed-the-Plow Tony winner Ron Silver and The Piano Lesson star Charles S. Dutton were both nominated in the Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series category for their work in, respectively, "The West Wing" and "The Practice." Also nommed in that group were John Larroquette ("The Practice"), Tim Matheson ("The West Wing") and Mark Harmon ("The West Wing").
Three-time Tony winner Glenn Close (The Real Thing, Death and the Maiden, Sunset Boulevard) received an Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series nom. for her appearance in "Will & Grace"; she is nominated against Katherine Helmond ("Everybody Loves Raymond"), Susan Sarandon ("Malcolm in the Middle"), Cloris Leachman ("Malcolm in the Middle") and one of the stars of this season's Morning's at Seven revival, Frances Sternhagen ("Sex and the City"). Illeana Douglas, who recently appeared Off-Broadway in Surviving Grace, is up for an Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series Emmy for "Six Feet Under"; she will compete against Mary McDonnell ("ER"), Martha Plimpton ("Law & Order"), Patricia Clarkson ("Six Feet Under") and Lili Taylor ("Six Feet Under").
Nominees for Outstanding Classical Music-Dance Program include "The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess with the New York City Opera," "Sweeney Todd in Concert," "Joshua Bell: West Side Story Suite from Central Park" and "Mostly Mozart Festival 2001." Also, BRAVO's "Inside the Actors' Studio" picked up two nominations, one for Outstanding Non-Fiction Special (Informational) and another for Outstanding Non-Fiction Series (Informational).
The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' 54th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards will air on NBC-TV on Sept. 22 from 8 to 11 PM. The awards program will originate from Los Angeles' Shrine Auditorium and will be executive produced by Gary Smith, longtime executive producer of the annual Tony Awards telecasts.
—By Andrew Gans