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
- Mad Men
ACTOR IN A COMEDY
- Alec Baldwin — 30 Rock
- Steve Carell — The Office
- Lee Pace — Pushing Daisies
- Charlie Sheen — Two and a Half Men
- Tony Shalhoub —Monk
ACTOR IN A DRAMA
- Gabriel Byrne — “In Treatment
- Bryan Cranston — Breaking Bad
- Michael C. Hall — Dexter
- Jon Hamm — Mad Men
- Hugh Laurie —House
- James Spader — Boston Legal
ACTRESS IN A COMEDY
- Christina Applegate —Samantha Who?
- America Ferrera —Ugly Betty
- Tina Fey — 30 Rock
- Julia Louis-Dreyfus — New Adventures of Old Christine
- Mary-Louise Parker — Weeds
ACTRESS IN A DRAMA
- 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.