September 22, 2008

America Sweeps the Boards at Emmys As UK Misses Out

By Gareth Edwards

BRITISH stars suffered a disappointing night at the 60th annual Emmy Awards, as American comedy and drama swept the boards.

In the star-studded ceremony at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles on Sunday night Brits Tom Wilkinson and Dame Eileen Atkins were honoured for their supporting roles, but others, including Ricky Gervais and Dame Judi Dench, were left empty-handed.

Instead it was American drama and comedy which took the plaudits, with the sleek 1960s advertising drama Mad Men making Emmy history as the first basic cable show to win the top award for Best Drama.

The sitcom 30 Rock and its stars Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin took the top honours in the comedy category.

"We're all so very grateful to have jobs in this turkey-burger economy," Fey said after accepting the best comedy series trophy for her satire about a late-night TV show.

There was some success for UK stars as Wilkinson, 59, won best supporting actor in a mini-series or movie for his role as Benjamin Franklin in the presidential mini-series John Adams.

And Dame Eileen won the award for best supporting actress for her portrayal of Deborah Jenkins in the 19th-century costume drama Cranford.

The 74-year-old actress beat Scot Ashley Jenson, 39, who was nominated for her role as Maggie Jacobs in Ricky Gervais's Extras: The Extra Special Series Finale.

Dame Eileen's co-star Dame Judi Dench was put forward as outstanding lead actress in a mini series or movie for her role as Matty Jenkins in Cranford, but lost out to Laura Linney for John Adams. Cranford had been considered Britain's best hope for success at the Emmys, but it missed out.

Wilkinson, Gervais, and Ralph Fiennes all lost to Paul Giammatti, for his title role in John Adams, in the best actor in a mini- series or movie category.

And Hugh Laurie, who plays Dr Gregory House, failed to win the best actor in a drama award, which went to Bryan Cranston for Breaking Bad.

Gervais's Extras: The Extra Special Series Finale had been nominated for best made-for-television movie, best writing, best directing in a mini series, movie or a dramatic special and best supporting actress, but in the end picked up nothing.

Gervais, who won best lead actor in a comedy series last year, did take part in an awkward sketch with Steve Carrell, who last year said he was going to hold Gervais' Emmy award hostage when the Briton could not attend the ceremony.

"I've come to get it back," Gervais said. He also joked that he was going "off-script" and said the ceremony's producers were getting nervous as he walked to where Carrell was sitting in the front row of the audience to retrieve his award.

Hosting the show were five stars of US reality TV, which led to the event starting in a rather rambling fashion as American Idol host Ryan Seacrest and his fellow presenters discussed having "nothing" to talk about, before turning to a slapstick comedy routine which involved supermodel Heidi Klum having her clothes ripped off.

There was also a special appearance by the queen of US TV, Oprah Winfrey, who introduced the show, television's equivalent of the Oscars, taking about TV's power to inspire people in a time of hardship.

(c) 2008 Evening News; Edinburgh (UK). Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.