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Emmy Expert Tom O'Neil Lays It Down



When I sat down to write my Emmy preview this year, I made phone calls to two people:Kathy_griffin_color

Kathy Griffin and Tom O'Neil. Tomoneil

Tom is the guy who sits down with the tapes actors actually submit to the Emmy academy, to see who picked quality showcase performances and who sold themselves short. He got Sarah Jessica Parker to change a submission in a year when she wound up nominated and watched helplessly as Roseanne star John Goodman kept submitting tapes which looked like he picked them off a shelf randomly an hour before the submission deadline.

Of course, Miss D-List was too busy basking in the aftermath of her Jesus diss to call back (I believe theOneillemmybookcover term "suck it" was involved). But I did hear from Tom, they guy who has literally written the book on the Emmys and many other glad-handing showbiz awards contests (he also writes a column for the L.A. Times' Web site on showbiz awards, The Envelope.)

"He had better performances in the tapes submitted by Roseanne," said Tom when I called him in Los Angeles. "Then (Goodman) got totally upset and just stopped submitting tapes altogether."

Yeah, it's a little geeky, but Tom has a few observations about this year's Emmy race, which I thought were interesting.

Much as the world expects a Sopranos sweep, it may not happen - especially in Best Drama category

The_sopranos The Emmy broadcast Sunday comes just weeks after HBO's critically acclaimed mob drama finished its final season, leading wags like me to assume it will clean up this year. But Tom pointed out that no regular TV series has won the Best Drama award after its left the air, and Sopranos has lost the Best Drama award many more times than it won, even when it was a current series. His theory: fellow actors and writers vote for the acting and producing awards, so popular people who do singular work are rewarded. But Best Drama votes come from the entire academy, and the general public was much more ambivalent about the series' quality this year.

People nominated in the same category with other castmembers have an advantage.

Desperate_housewives1I always assumed that those times when multiple actresses from Desperate Housewives or Sex and the City got nominated would lessen their chances of success by splitting the vote. Not so, says Tom, noting that judges see the work of such nominees twice; in the nominee's submitted reel and their castmate's nomination reel. "Size matters baby, especially in Hollywood...the more times the judges see you, the more likely they are to vote for you," he said.

UglybettyBecause size matters, hourlong shows give actors a better chance of winning an award.

This one's simple: actors in an hourlong show get more scenes. So judges will see their work not only the reel the actor submits, but in the footage submitted for general awards. That may be one reason why hourlong shows which could go either way, like Ally McBeal or Ugly Betty, submit themselves for comedy awards rather than drama. Less competition.

Tom's shoe ins for Sunday night:

30rockbaldwin America Ferrera as best comedic actress

Alec Baldwin as best comedic actor.

James Gandolfini as best dramatic actor.

Who do you think is positioned best to win? I'm going to post my picks sometime tomorrow, but I'd be happy to have your thoughts. See the nominees here.

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 2:40pm]


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