Tag Archives: stephen dillane

Hugh Laurie and House Earn Emmy Nominations

Hugh Laurie and House Earn Emmy Nominations

Written by Barbara Barnett
Published July 17, 2008 at Blogcritics.org

Hugh Laurie and House were both named when the 2008 Emmy Award nominations were read this morning. It is the series’ third Emmy nomination; its competition includes Boston Legal, Damages, Dexter, Lost, and Mad Men. It is very tough competition for the show, but the strike-shortened season has offered some of the series’ best episodes to date (even if you were not a fan of the “survivor arc”). Particularly notable episodes (in my opinion, anyway) were “Ugly,” “97 Seconds,” “Frozen,” “Don’t Ever Change” and the dual finale episodes “House’s Head” and “Wilson’s Heart.”

It has been reported that House submitted the episode Ugly to the Emmy organization for initial consideration. That episode broke with the series’ usual format by adding the element of a documentary crew, which followed House and his team as they diagnosed a young man with a facial deformity. Interspersing black and white footage of the team as the camera saw them with the live action, it also set House in direct conflict with one of his new fellows, a plastic surgeon with a professional interest in the case.

Laurie’s episode, unsurprisingly, is the wonderful “House’s Head“. In the series’ penultimate episode, House experiences a severe head injury and amnesia, losing the previous four hours. As House pushes himself to remember, recalling only that he “saw” something about a fellow passenger that was important and possibly fatal, he grows more and more desperate to know. Laurie is mesmerizing in the episode, appearing (quite literally) in every scene of what must have been a physically and emotionally grueling shoot.

This is Laurie’s third Emmy nomination, having been inexplicably snubbed two years ago, much to the bewilderment of critics and fans. He has never won an Emmy, but has been much lauded both by fellow actors, having won the Screen Actors Guild award, and television critics — twice winning the Golden Globe and twice winning the Television Critics Association award for his compelling and textured portrayal of the complex Dr. Gregory House. Many critics believe that Laurie is long overdue for his consistently excellent performance in the demanding role. He carries the series, which has the distinction of being both critically acclaimed and a ratings hit, perennially being one of television’s highest rated scripted series. House also received nominations for directing (Greg Yaitanes, “House’s Head”) and music composition for Jon Ehrlich (“Guardian Angels”).

Completely unrelated to my House obsession, I have to say that I am positively giddy that the HBO miniseries John Adams received a slew of nominations (26 of them)! Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney were both deservedly nominated, as were three supporting actors: David Morse (who played the vengeful Michael Tritter in House last year) for his portrayal of George Washington, and British actors Tom Wilkinson (for his wily and ribald Benjamin Franklin) and Stephen Dillane (brilliant as the quietly intense Thomas Jefferson).

Here’s rundown of the major prime time Emmy nominations:


  • 30 Rock
  • Curb Your Enthusiasm
  • The Office
  • Two and a Half Men


  • Boston Legal
  • Damages
  • Dexter
  • House
  • Lost
  • Mad Men


  • Alec Baldwin — 30 Rock
  • Steve Carell — The Office
  • Lee Pace — Pushing Daisies
  • Charlie Sheen — Two and a Half Men
  • Tony Shalhoub —Monk


  • Gabriel Byrne — “In Treatment
  • Bryan Cranston — Breaking Bad
  • Michael C. Hall — Dexter
  • Jon Hamm — Mad Men
  • Hugh Laurie —House
  • James Spader — Boston Legal


  • Christina Applegate —Samantha Who?
  • America Ferrera —Ugly Betty
  • Tina Fey — 30 Rock
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus — New Adventures of Old Christine
  • Mary-Louise Parker — Weeds


  • Glenn Close — Damages
  • Sally Field — Brothers & Sisters
  • Mariska Hargitay — Law and Order: SVU
  • Holly Hunter — Saving Grace
  • Kyra Sedgwick — The Closer

The complete list of prime time Emmy award nominations is available at the official Emmys website. The Gala 60th anniversary Emmy awards will be broadcast live on ABC September 21.


Film Review: Fugitive Pieces

As I watched Fugitive Pieces, I could not help but think of my many friends and family members who are the children of Holocaust survivors. When they discuss it at all, these friends often recall how difficult it was to be raised by parents who lived day in and day out with the wrenching guilt of having survived when so many others perished (sometimes being the only family member to have done so). Sometimes shut out of their parent’s heart, left inaccessible by immeasurable loss, they often feel unloved, resented for their lives, lived in relative comfort and ease, even as they are overprotected and cherished.

And how can they share something with their children that is nearly impossible to understand; something of which they themselves have yet to fully gain closure? There have been many, many films about the Holocaust, and about survivors, but Fugitive Pieces (currently showing in art house cinemas throughout the country) gives us a detailed character study of one man, haunted and driven by having survived, when his family did not.

Fugitive Pieces tells the story of Jakob Beer (played as a boy by Robbie Kass), who as a young boy in Poland observed from behind a closet door as his parents were murdered in  their home, and his sister was dragged away by Nazi Storm Troopers. A terrified Jakob runs into a nearby forest, hiding in the freezing cold under piles of dead leaves. Seen by Greek archaeologist Athos (Croatian actor Rade Serbedzija), Jakob is rescued and smuggled out of Poland and into Greece, where Athos hides the wary and terrified Jakob for the duration of World War II. In a sense, Jakob has saved Athos, too, as his colleagues, still digging in Poland (for evidence of Nazi atrocities, we learn) are discovered and murdered. Both Jakob and Athos suffer the sort of guilt only possible when one has escaped due to fortune or circumstance, while everyone else has perished.


Discovering Stephen Dillane (Thomas Jefferson in HBO’s “John Adams”)


Originally published at Blogcritics magazine

t always gives me great delight to “discover” an actor. I don’t mean in the Hollywood sense (because I’m not an agent or producer, nor do I have any clout whatsoever), but “discover” in the sense that I’ve not really ever heard of the guy before. It happens to us all, I think. You see a film and something in the actor’s performance or looks (or both) touches you in a way that makes you want to see more of what he’s done. For me, it’s always a soulfulness that seems to lurk about the eyes and expression. (See Reflections of a Recidivist Fangirl.) Then, wham. I just have a need to find out who the guy is and what else he’s done and find out what I’ve been missing. All I can say is, “Thank God for Google!”

My latest “discovery” is Stephen Dillane, the brilliant British (you knew I was going to say that, didn’t you?) stage and film actor. Most recently, Dillane played Thomas Jefferson in HBO’s John Adams miniseries. It didn’t hurt that he played my favorite Founding Father exactly as I had always imagined him: an enigmatic intellectual, at once fiery and guarded; eloquent and shy. I was immediately hooked. Who wouldn’t be? It was a terrific performance, right down to his accent, which began as slightly Gaelic, but as Jefferson aged over the course of some 50 years, so did the accent – to more of a relaxed “southern” drawl. Nice touch.

I was delighted to find out that Dillane is starring in not one, but two forthcoming films, bookending the month of May. Later this week, Dillane opens in Fugitive Pieces, a film about a boy rescued from the horrors of the Holocaust, who now, as an adult (played by Dillane), is haunted by his childhood memories. It is written and and directed by Jeremy Podeswa, and based on the novel by Canadian poet Anne Michaels. I’m looking forward to reviewing that film for Blogcritics when it opens.

Dillane also stars with Julianne Moore in Savage Grace, (opening May 30) based on the controversial life of the Bakeland family (who invented “Bakelite“). Both films look intriguing, dark, and serious. Can’t wait. Later this year, Dillane will appear as Charlemagne in the film Love and Virtue which takes on the French epic poem The Song of Roland. So lots of things coming up for us newbie fans of Mr. Stephen Dillane.

Dillane is an accomplished stage actor, having recently performed a one-man rendition of Macbeth in London, and whose Hamlet (also in London) has been considered amongst the best. He has won major stage awards, including a Tony (for Leading Actor) in 2000 for Tom Stoppard’s The Real Thing. But unless you want to dig through YouTube (yeah, I’ve done it) for snippets, you’ll have to stick to film and television DVDs to catch up with Dillane’s works. And lucky for us, there are quite a few.

I am slowly digging my way through his film oeuvre, so here are a couple of suggestions to start:

Welcome to Sarajevo is based on the true story of a British journalist who, in an act of impulsive bravery, rescues a young girl from the hell of early 1990s Bosnia. Dillane, as the journalist is wonderful at expressing the world-weariness of the protagonist Michael Henderson. The story is intense, and at times nearly unbearable for its tragedy. Woody Harrelson gives a disarming and surprising performance as Dillane’s American colleague. It’s a great and serious film.

Déjà Vu is about as romantic a film as possible. Not a chick flick by any means, Déjà Vu is a story of love lost and rediscovered; of destiny and soul mates. It’s gorgeously shot with Henry Jaglom’s signature realism (despite the fact that the film has strong supernatural overtones), with much of the dialogue improvised from rough sketches and notes. Dillane is fantastic as an English painter drawn hopelessly to an American designer, whom he encounters in a series of coincidence meetings. She is equally drawn to him, although they are both tied to other partners. Terrific supporting performances by Vanessa Redgrave and Noel Harrison (anyone remember him from the old ’60s series The Man From UNCLE?).

I look forward to many months of catching up on my new discovery! And I’m open to suggestions.

Why had I never heard of Stephen Dillane before?

Thomas Jefferson in “John Adams” is played by the very brilliant (and quite easy on the eyes) British actor Stephen Dillane.  As many of you have probably guessed, I have a penchant for actors from the other side of the pond.  Among my favorites are Ralph Fiennes, Timothy Dalton, Alan Rickman, Jeremy Northam (wasn’t he fabulous tonight in The Tudors?) and of course Hugh Laurie.

Stephen Dillane was marvellous as Jefferson, a quiet and intense intelligence poured from his eyes, as he body language suggested a shyness and reticence.  And those lovely 18th century clothes!

Anyway, Dillane is about to appear in two new films:  Fugitive Pieces (I will be reviewing this one for Blogcritics officially later this week.) and a film about the family who invented Bakelite (the name of the film escapes me for the moment), but I’ll be reviewing that as well, once it’s released and I’ve seen it.

For you newbies (like me) to Mr. Dillane’s work, may I suggest the following for starters:  “Welcome to Sarajevo” (he plays a brave British journalist) and “Deja Vu” in which he plays an artist/architect (it’s a great romance). 

Anyway, more on Dillane in the days and weeks to come.