Best Satans on film: Dalton’s (Pacino-free!) list
This week, let’s kick things off with our new video version of…
My Al Pacino-free list of The Five Best Satans on Film:
OBSESSION OF THE WEEK
I’ve been watching Damages on FX. Good show. Not great. The flash-forward scenes don’t really do anything for me. But damn if Ted Danson isn’t riveting as hell as scheming corporate mogul Arthur Frobisher. He’s a conniving bastard hell bent on convincing everyone else — as well as himself — that he’s not such a bad guy after all. Sure, he orders a hit on someone after doing blow with a hooker in the back of a limousine, but he pains over the decision, and then frantically tries to call it off later. I’m not saying the guy deserves a medal or anything, but it makes the character more complex than most TV villains. Here’s hoping the Emmys are watching, and rewards Danson when the time comes next year. But don’t go holding your breath.
NEXT PAGE: Speaking of the Emmys…Dalton’s picks for who actually deserves to win the darn things
DALTON HANDS OUT HIS EMMYS
Last week I railed against the injustice of the Emmys not even nominating deserving candidates like The Wire, Battlestar Galactica, Friday Night Lights, The Shield, and all their assorted actors and actresses. But it’s not like the Academy is suddenly gonna realize the error of its ways and reward these stellar shows and thespians at Sunday night’s ceremony. So this week I’ll take a look at who I think should win among the actual nominees.
A few notes before we begin. First off, this is who I think deserves to win, not will win. Predicting actual Emmy winners is close to impossible. Why? Because they often make no sense! Another caveat: Most of these selections will mirror those recently made in our Fall TV Preview Emmy gatefold (look for the online version of it on EW.com later today). Those selections were made by a blue-ribbon panel of experts, hangers on, and custodial staff members — a panel of which I was a member. (Feel free to classify me under any header you deem appropriate.) So with those disclaimers out of the way, off we go!
I’d give it to: THE SOPRANOS
I thought the spring 2006 episodes (technically the first half of season 6) were incredibly uneven with an especially unsatisfying finale, but the ones this year were fantastic. Leave it to The Sopranos to kill a major character (Christopher) in the first five minutes of an episode as opposed to the last five, like every other cookie-cutter show does). And the Bacala death scene in the choo-choo store was staged to perfection. As for the finale, I’ve already made my thoughts clear — I loved it. If Boston Legal somehow beats it, I may have to pull an A.J. and try to kill myself.
ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
James Gandolfini, The Sopranos
Hugh Laurie, House
Denis Leary, Rescue Me
James Spader, Boston Legal
Kiefer Sutherland, 24
I’d give it to: JAMES GANDOLFINI
He can scream, kick, and yell with the best of him, but where Gandolfini’s genius really comes through is in his quieter moments. Just listen to way he breathes. He delivers more emotion in one exasperated exhale than most actors do in an entire episode.
ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
Patricia Arquette, Medium
Minnie Driver, The Riches
Edie Falco, The Sopranos
Sally Field, Brothers & Sisters
Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer
I’d give it to: SALLY FIELD
I’m not a huge Brothers & Sisters fan — it strikes me a bit as a simplistic soap trying to masquerade as something much more. But there is no denying the greatness of Field, who pulls off playing equal parts persecutor and persecuted.
NEXT PAGE: Dalton’s picks for Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, and Comedy Series
SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Michael Emerson, Lost
Michael Imperioli, The Sopranos
T.R. Knight, Grey’s Anatomy
Terry O’Quinn, Lost
Masi Oka, Heroes
William Shatner, Boston Legal
I’d give it to: MICHAEL EMERSON
This (along with Lead Actress, Comedy) is perhaps the strongest field. Imperioli, O’Quinn, and Oka are all more than deserving, but my pick would be Emerson, who plays creepy, vulnerable, manipulative mastermind better than anyone.
SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
Lorraine Bracco, The Sopranos
Rachel Griffiths, Brothers & Sisters
Katherine Heigl, Grey’s Anatomy
Sandra Oh, Grey’s Anatomy
Aida Turturro, The Sopranos
Chandra Wilson, Grey’s Anatomy
I’d give it to: RACHEL GRIFFITHS
This has to be the weakest field, by far. As great as The Sopranos was this year, it wasn’t so much due to Bracco and Turturro, and even the Grey’s cast admits it was a down season for that show. That leaves us with Griffiths, who, like Field, rises above some of the material that is written for her.
Two and a Half Men
I’d give it to: THE OFFICE
Yes, 30 Rock improved immensely during the course of the season, and Ugly Betty was a campy pleasure, but The Office still made me laugh out loud more than either of them. Remember what I said about killing myself if Boston Legal wins Best Drama? Same deal with the vastly overrated Entourage here.
NEXT PAGE: Dalton’s picks for the acting awards in Comedy
ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Steve Carell, The Office
Ricky Gervais, Extras
Tony Shalhoub, Monk
Charlie Sheen, Two and a Half Men
I’d give it to: ALEC BALDWIN
No one else on television comes even close.
ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
America Ferrera, Ugly Betty
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Felicity Huffman, Desperate Housewives
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, The New Adventures of Old Christine
Mary-Louise Parker, Weeds
I’d give it to: JULIA LOUIS-DREYFUS
A ridiculously strong category (although Tina Fey’s genius lies more with her writing than her acting — even though the latter did improve remarkably). Louis-Dreyfus can all do the physical comedy, has impeccable timing, and has the whole shallow self-loathing shtick down to perfection.
SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men
Kevin Dillon, Entourage
Neil Patrick Harris, How I Met Your Mother
Jeremy Piven, Entourage
Rainn Wilson, The Office
I’d give it to: RAINN WILSON
Make no mistake, I’m just as happy if the excellent Neil Patrick Harris takes this one home, but Wilson somehow manages to make over-the-top endearing — a harder trick to pull off than you might think.
SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
Conchata Ferrell, Two and a Half Men
Jenna Fischer, The Office
Elizabeth Perkins, Weeds
Jaime Pressly, My Name Is Earl
Holland Taylor, Two and a Half Men
Vanessa Williams, Ugly Betty
I’d give it to: VANESSA WILLIAMS
Williams was recently inducted into EW’s Sound Bite Hall of Fame with all her classic quips and quotes, but the arched eyebrow is what really gets me. She steals every scene she’s in, which is saying something in a show filled with huge personalities.
NEXT PAGE: Dalton’s pick for best reality series, and answering Reader Mail
REALITY COMPETITION PROGRAM
The Amazing Race
Dancing With the Stars
I’d give it to: THE AMAZING RACE
All-star seasons of Survivor and Big Brother were disappointing, yet the all-star incarnation of Race soared. Why? Because the show is less about inter-team dynamics (that feel more forced in all-star editions of the other programs) and more about getting your ass to Istanbul or some other foreign locale. Now if I could just convince host Phil Keoghan and Vanessa Williams to partake in an arched eyebrow-off…
Some thoughts — both positive and negative — about last week’s Gluttys. And some thoughts — both positive and negative — about the new video version of The Five.
Dalton, thanks very much for the Gluttys (not a big fan of the name, but I’ve never been a fan of the word ”Emmy” either.). It’s good to see Connie Britton’s name SOMEwhere other than the official FNL website. —Fredric Shelley
At the risk of repeating myself, it’s simply ridiculous that Britton and Kyle Chandler were both ignored for their performances. (There, I just repeated myself. Happy now?!?) Ridiculous, but not surprising, considering the history of this Academy.
I find Boston Legal to be one of the best-written and wittiest shows on the air right now. I’m sick of critics nailing its nomination as the sign of the fall of our society. It’s a great show! Get over yourself! —Andy
Andy, I get the Boston Legal thing. Spader and Shatner are both good campy fun. But it’s hard to make a case of it being one of the best ”dramas” (and that’s the key word here — dramas, since Boston Legal‘s best moments fall more under the comedic category) on television, especially when shows like FNL, The Wire, and Battlestar were left off the list. Or maybe I just need to get over my bad self.
As you evidently did, I remember Walt Goggins taking to the stage at the Oscars, in a highly emotional state, but I believe he had as much a right to be there as Sacheen Littlefeather. He merely starred in the honored film. The award went to the husband-and-wife team who made the film — according to oscars.org. —Dino
Seems to be some confusion over this. Goggins did take the stage and was presented with an Oscar for Best Short Film, Live Action for his role as a producer on The Accountant, but the Academy website and the Internet Movie Database both list only Ray McKinnon and Lisa Blount as actual winners. Did he swipe Lisa’s statue? Was sneaky Shane Vendrell up to his old tricks? Oh, the intrigue.
LOVED the video derriere tribute countdown. As I watched it I kept thinking, ”I bet he forgets to include ‘Rump Shaker.”’ I was already composing my indignant e-mail. But there it was! I knew I should have had faith. The video format built the tension, and I was rewarded. All I wanted to do was zoom a zoom zoom zoom and a boom boom… — Colin William
All props for the video Glutton go to producer Jason Averett. I just sit there and babble like an idiot and he somehow makes me look good. Well, as good as possible. I’ll try not to screw it up too much, but no promises, my friend. No promises.
Just gotta say ”The Five” as a video list…loathe it. Loading player was all I got of the list. I hate things that make me download software I don’t need cause I have the competitor’s version instead, or heavens, maybe I just don’t WANT it. Usually love your column. Still do, not so much that though. —Christine
Christine, you’re one of several people who wrote in complaining of problems, mostly due to people working on land lines instead of high-speed Internet. I feel your pain. I’ll talk it over with the EW.com folks and look at perhaps doing both text and video versions of The Five in the future. However, that means more work for me, and I think we all know how I feel about that.
No love for the rock? Two of the best booty songs were by rockers. I’m talking of course about Queen’s ”Fat Bottomed Girls” and Spinal Tap’s ”Big Bottom.” —Tony Pederson
Excellent call on both counts, Tony. Really, there was no way possible to keep this list contained to a mere five. I don’t even know why I bothered trying. It was simply too bodacious and bootylicious for that.
Who are you pulling for on Emmy night? Have a favorite film Satan? (And remember, no Al Pacino!) And what say you about Ted Danson on Damages? Send your questions, comments, and quibbles to firstname.lastname@example.org, or just fill out the handy-dandy form below. See ya next week!