Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Poll Result - Oustanding Actor In A Drama

First of all, apologies for not getting this written up earlier. I was away from the computer for about half the day and felt like absolute crap most of the rest of the day. Still not feeling that great but that really doesn't matter.

After a slow start we had a big turnout this time around with 11 votes. For the first time we also had a decisive winner but more on that in a moment. Tied for fourth place, with no votes are Hank Azaria from Huff, and Ian McShane for Deadwood. In third place was James Spader for Boston Legal with one vote. In second was Kiefer Sutherland for 24 with three votes. However the clear winner among people who voted was Hugh Laurie for House, with seven votes and a whopping 63% of the voters.

To be honest, I found this result slightly surprising. I obviously haven't seen Hank Azaria in Huff but the nomination received puzzled reactions from a lot of people who are wiser - not to mention more likely to have seen the show - than me. James Spader is a bit of a surprise to me as well. I know that he's a good actor but I haven't seen the show and the promotional ads have tended to focus on William Shatner and his more comedic moments. The number of votes for Kiefer Sutherland isn't that much of a surprise for me although quite frankly the fact that he's in second place is. He's an excellent actor in an excellent show and he's a sentimental favourite among Canadians (and doubly so for people from Saskatchewan because his grandfather was the greatest Premier this province ever had as well as the greatest Canadian) but if he were going to win he should have won sooner. The big surprise for me is that Ian McShane didn't get a single vote for playing Al Swearengen in Deadwood. I've only seen one episode of the show but I've been noticing McShane since he was in the movie Battle Of Britain and I'm convinced that he's one of the great unsung actors of the past 40 years; unsung because he keeps getting pushed into roles that aren't worthy of him. Swearengen is a great role and he's up to it. I did expect Hugh Laurie to be in first or second place. He's also an excellent actor but one who is being recognised as a dramatic performer after years of doing comedy including work with Rowan Atkinson and Stephen Fry. Moreover Laurie is in a project where he is the central figure and has brought an appealing complexity to the role of a character who at least outwardly is harsh and sarcastic.

As far as who will win, I have to say that it comes down to McShane and Laurie, with the third English born actor (Kiefer Sutherland) a distant third. Huff is not a well known show and the way that people were mystified that Azaria was nominated is telling. I really don't think Spader is in much better position. His show is on a broadcast network but as I say the promotion for the series has focussed on Shatner and comedy instead of Spader and drama. Kiefer Sutherland does seem to have both the show and the character to lift him above the rest but I'm not sure that the fourth season was as good as some of the earlier seasons, and Sutherland's "Jack Bauer" seems to be turning into more of an anti-hero given the direction the show has taken with regard to torture. I'm convinced that the Emmy will go to either Laurie, who has a complex character who is central to all of the action on the show, and McShane who is in the higher profile role and also playing a complex character but one who doesn't get the screen time that Laurie has. I think it will go to Hugh Laurie, but wouldn't even be mildly surprised of McShane won.

Outstanding Actress nominees in the morning.

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