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Why Thomas Haden Church won a 2005 EW.com Award

Thomas Haden Church

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Thomas Haden Church, Sideways

Why Thomas Haden Church won a 2005 EW.com Award

FOR Sideways

WHY? Back in 1995, Church left a third-banana job on a hit show (Wings, where he played nitwit mechanic Lowell) for a lead role in Fox’s new sitcom Ned and Stacey, where he and starlet Debra Messing played New York yuppies reluctantly sharing an apartment. That show was canceled after just two seasons, followed by a long dry spell for the actor. (To add insult to injury, NBC all but cloned the show, replacing Church’s hetero ad man with Eric McCormack’s gay lawyer, and turned it into a long-running hit as Will & Grace.) Church’s history may have helped prepare him to play Jack, the washed-up TV actor who goes on a wild debauch the week before his wedding. Not only has Church become the front-runner in the Supporting Actor race, but he’s also ensured that he’ll be remembered now as the guy from Sideways, not the guy from that show Debra Messing used to be on.

(Golden Globe nomination: Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture)