Hanks, Fey, Giamatti shine at the TV Critics' awards
THIS is why I love my job.
The TCA offers a unique take on awards ceremonies, held on the last Saturday night of press tour every year to celebrate the best the small screen has to offer. Because we want our honorees to show up, we tell them in advance who has won, and each year most every award winner does come to the Beverly Hilton Hotel for their glass plaque.
We have a no-muss ceremony, with a short intro from a TCA member for each award and a short -- usually very entertaining -- acceptance speech from the winner. And because it isn't televised, the onstage moments can offer wondrously off-the-wall magic.
Like John Adams star Paul Giamatti repeatedly referring to his part in HBO's grand seven-part epic as a "nutbuster." Several times. Or 30 Rock creator/star Tina Fey dishing on her love for Bosom Buddies (of course, Tom Hanks was in the house), relating how "the rest of our cast could not be here, because NBC is broke," and admitting how co-star Jack McBrayer "is actually a child...made up to look like a 30-year-old hillbilly."
Hanks, in accepting John Adams' TCA award for best movie and miniseries as a producer, noted that one objective of the project was "to show a president of the United States and his first lady, doing the deed in bed...We have achieved that goal." Hanks also gave a shout out to his award-winning star noting "(he) will show you his busted nuts...thank God this isn't on TV."
The night started with an amazing tribute to the Smothers Brothers, who stopped by to fill the show's traditional opening monologue (in the past, ably filled by comics such as Drew Carey and Garry Shandling), recounting how their songs and skits criticizing the Vietnam War got them fired from CBS, despite the fact they were earning serious ratings against TV's most popular show, the long-running Bonanza.
Dick and Tom Smothers showed clips from their series, which has taken on iconic status for critics, revealing a pre-gray haired Steve Martin (a writer/performer on the show), early TV appearances by The Who and the Doors, an anti-war talk from Beatle George Harrison and an appearance from a brown-haired, Grizzly Adams-looking Kenny Rogers.
The biggest perk for critics: after the show, the celebs often mingle with us ink stained wretches. So I caught up with Dick Smothers, who owns a home in Siesta Key, and asked whether this war with this president feels reminiscent of the Vietnam War with the president who may have gotten them fired, Dick Nixon.
"Oh yes, but this is on steroids and crack...out of control," said Smothers. "I really think we should have a government where, if we lose confidence in them, we vote them out -- just like they do in France or England. The government should fear the people..they're our servants. But we fear the government."
The pair expect to soon see a DVD released of their legendary show, starting with the third and most controversial season "because that was the most funny," he said. "I think we get too much credit. we were in the chain of evolution...What we did is give the variety show a boost. CBS figured we were going to die anyway, so they gave us creative control. But we didn't like having an innocuous show, we wanted our show to be socially relevant...(After us) came Laugh In and Carol Burnett...suddenly, variety shows were hot, because TV loves to copy a hit."
Why a DVD set now? "We wanted to put it out before everyone who saw the show was dead," Smothers cracked.
Click below to see the 2008 TCA Award recipients:
2008 TCA Award recipients are:
OUTSTANDING NEW PROGRAM: "Mad Men" (AMC)
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN COMEDY: "30 Rock" (NBC)
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN DRAMA: "Mad Men" (AMC)
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN NEWS & INFORMATION: "The War: A Film by Ken Burns & Lynn Novick" (PBS)
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN CHILDREN'S PROGRAMMING: "WordGirl" (PBS)
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN MOVIES, MINI-SERIES & SPECIALS: "John Adams" (HBO)
INDIVIDUAL ACHIEVEMENT IN COMEDY: Tina Fey, "30 Rock" (NBC)
INDIVIDUAL ACHIEVEMENT IN DRAMA: Paul Giamatti, "John Adams" (HBO)
HERITAGE AWARD: "The Wire" (HBO)
CAREER ACHIEVEMENT: Lorne Michaels