60TH ANNUAL EMMY AWARDS
Michael Emerson's creepy Ben, left, was often in conflict with Matthew Fox's stolid Jack on "Lost" this season.
Success on ‘Lost’ brings bit of chaos
STORY SUMMARY » | READ THE FULL STORY
Michael Emerson's life remained relatively quiet after he earned an Emmy nomination last year for his enthralling interpretation of Benjamin Linus on "Lost." But Emerson's popularity is soaring after a stellar season and yet another best supporting actor nomination yesterday.
"Last year there wasn't any hubbub about it; there was no media," he said from New York. "This year it was a three-ring circus at my house. At one point this morning I had two competing television crews in my humble living room. TV Guide was packing up and 'Access Hollywood' was setting up, and I had the Associated Press on the phone. And I had to be in a cab at noon if I was going to get to the airport safely. It was a bit zany."
FULL STORY »
Damon Lindelof, left, and Carlton Cuse, producers of "Lost," say yesterday's Emmy nominations capped a comeback year.
In typical fashion, actor Michael Emerson was more excited yesterday about the Emmy nod for the "Lost: Missing Pieces" mobisodes than he was about his own nomination for best supporting actor.
"For some of the actors on the show, their best work is in the mobisodes," said Emerson, who has made Benjamin Linus one of television's most compelling characters.
"I think the mobisodes let us go a little off text, a little out of our carefully manicured rut. They were looser than the show, and some people got to bust out a little bit. I'm happy that the trouble they went to has paid off with some recognition. And someday we'll look back and tell our grandchildren that we were in the first mobisodes ever filmed! It felt like new territory."
The two-minute mobisodes were nominated in the category of Special Class - Short-format Live-action Entertainment Programs, and are posted online at www.abc.com.
In all the made-in-Hawaii show earned eight Emmy nominations, including one for best drama series.
"It's really exciting because obviously we haven't been nominated for best drama series since the first year the series was on."
Damon Lindelof / Co-creator and executive producer, "Lost"
Trying to get Emerson to talk about his own work, however, takes a bit more doing. "It was a good year for my character," he said en route to Chautauqua, N.Y., where he is scheduled to perform in a play slated as a fundraiser for the Chautauqua Institute. "There was some added importance and added screen time."
Pressed further about the episode singled out for Emmy consideration, in which he sees his daughter, Alex, get killed, jets around the world (Tunisia, Iraq, England) and recruits Sayid to do his bidding as a hired assassin, he admitted feeling good that he "survived it. I'm proud to have ridden the horses and fired the guns. That episode included a lot of challenges that were outside the purview of just acting - a lot of action-hero stuff that I'm really unaccustomed to. So I was happy to find that I could live and breathe in that kind of environment."
Since Ben's actions at the end of Season 4 mean he can't return to the island, it's unlikely he will spend much time on the beach or jungle in the coming year. Beyond that, Emerson has no idea where the writers will take the character. "That's a complete mystery to me. I haven't seen line one." And he won't, until just before Season 5 begins shooting on Aug. 18.
Meanwhile, Emerson has recharged his batteries during the show's hiatus. He's completed long-ignored household chores in New York City, baby-sitting his nephews and promoting "Ready? OK!" - a tender independent film he did with his wife, actress Carrie Preston, currently making its way through the gay and lesbian film festival circuit.
A dedicated stage actor who won an Emmy in 2001 for a guest role on "The Practice," Emerson takes his craft - but not himself - seriously.
"I try not to be dull," he said. "I worry if I'm on the screen too much that I run the risk of wearing out my welcome. I feel like I have to keep figuring out a way to surprise the audience. I worry about keeping them entertained."
He reported that the show's producers and writers are "over the moon" about the commendation for best drama series. Scurrying from one interview to the next in Los Angeles following the Emmy announcement, Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse confirmed this sentiment via a phone in their car.
"It's really exciting because obviously we haven't been nominated for best drama series since the first year the series was on," said Lindelof, co-creator and executive producer of "Lost." "We couldn't be more appreciative to be back in such exclusive company." Also nominated for top dramatic series were "Boston Legal," "Damages," "Dexter," "House" and "Mad Men."
Indeed, Season 4 signaled a comeback for the show that floundered with viewers and critics last year after bursting on the scene in 2004. And the rise did not come easily.
"This year was kind of painful because the strike came along," said executive producer Cuse, who, along with Lindelof, is also one of the key writers on the show. "The fact that we were able to rebound post-strike and finish the season well was gratifying." For this and many other reasons, he added, "We feel such a special communion with everyone on Oahu."
Though the series did not earn nominations in the prestigious writing or directing categories as it has in the past two years, Lindelof and Cuse always said they would trade those "in a second" for a best-drama nomination. "And now our wish has been granted," laughed Lindelof. "Nothing in life comes easily. But how greedy can we be? This is the one we really wanted," because it acknowledges the entire team of 300 people who make the show possible.
"We're so grateful to everyone on Oahu who treated us like family," added Cuse. "We could not have made this happen without that. When you see the actors climbing in the mud in the jungle, that's really what they're doing. There is not a more difficult show to produce in the world."
"Lost" also was nominated for best editing, cinematography, sound editing and sound mixing. In addition, Michael Giacchino earned a nomination for musical composition.
This is Emerson's second nomination in two years for his work on "Lost." Last year, Terry O'Quinn won for his role as John Locke. Nominated with Emerson this year are William Shatner, "Boston Legal"; Ted Danson, "Damages"; Zeljko Ivanek, "Damages"; and John Slattery, "Mad Men."
Elisabeth Moss, left, Christina Hendricks and John Slattery of "Mad Men," celebrated their show's many Emmy nominations yesterday on the show's set at the Los Angeles Center Studios in Los Angeles .
EMMY NOMINEES IN MAJOR CATEGORIES
AMC's "Mad Men" and FX's "Damages" became the first basic-cable programs to earn best-series bids when the Emmy nominations were announced yesterday. But it was HBO's miniseries "John Adams" that was the overall front-runner with a record 23 bids. "30 Rock," was the top nominee among sitcoms with 17 bids, the second highest among all shows. "Man Men," set in New York's advertising world in the 1960s, had 16, the third highest total.
» Drama series: "Boston Legal," ABC; "Damages," FX; "Dexter," Showtime; "House," Fox; "Lost," ABC; "Mad Men," AMC
» Comedy series: "Curb Your Enthusiasm," HBO; "Entourage," HBO; "The Office," NBC; "30 Rock," NBC; "Two and a Half Men," CBS
» Miniseries: "The Andromeda Strain," A&E; "Cranford" (Masterpiece Theatre), PBS; "John Adams," HBO; "Tin Man," Sci Fi Channel
» Made-for-TV movie: "Bernard and Doris," HBO; "Extras: The Extra Special Series Finale," HBO; "The Memory Keeper's Daughter," Lifetime; "A Raisin in the Sun," ABC; "Recount," HBO
» Actor, drama: James Spader, "Boston Legal," ABC; Bryan Cranston, "Breaking Bad," AMC; Michael C. Hall, "Dexter," Showtime; Hugh Laurie, "House," Fox; Gabriel Byrne, "In Treatment," HBO; Jon Hamm, "Mad Men," AMC
» Actress, drama: Sally Field, "Brothers & Sisters," ABC; Kyra Sedgwick, "The Closer," TNT; Glenn Close, "Damages," FX; Mariska Hargitay, "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," NBC; Holly Hunter, "Saving Grace," TNT
» Supporting actor, drama: William Shatner, "Boston Legal," ABC; Ted Danson, "Damages," FX; Zeljko Ivanek, "Damages," FX; Michael Emerson, "Lost," ABC; John Slattery, "Mad Men," AMC
» Supporting actress, drama: Candice Bergen, "Boston Legal," ABC; Rachel Griffiths, "Brothers & Sisters," ABC; Chandra Wilson, "Grey's Anatomy," ABC; Sandra Oh, "Grey's Anatomy," ABC; Dianne Wiest, "In Treatment," HBO.
» Actor, comedy: Tony Shalhoub, "Monk," USA; Steve Carell, "The Office," NBC; Lee Pace, "Pushing Daisies," ABC; Alec Baldwin, "30 Rock," NBC; Charlie Sheen, "Two and a Half Men, CBS
» Actress, comedy: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "The New Adventures of Old Christine," CBS; Christina Applegate, "Samantha Who?," ABC; Tina Fey, "30 Rock," NBC; America Ferrera, "Ugly Betty," ABC; Mary-Louise Parker, "Weeds," Showtime
» Supporting actor, comedy: Jeremy Piven, "Entourage," HBO; Kevin Dillon, "Entourage," HBO; Neil Patrick Harris, "How I Met Your Mother," CBS; Rainn Wilson, "The Office," NBC; Jon Cryer, "Two and a Half Men," CBS
» Supporting actress, comedy: Kristin Chenoweth, "Pushing Daisies," ABC; Jean Smart, "Samantha Who?," ABC; Amy Poehler, "Saturday Night Live," NBC; Holland Taylor, "Two and a Half Men," CBS; Vanessa Williams, "Ugly Betty," ABC
» Actor, miniseries or movie: Ralph Fiennes, "Bernard and Doris," HBO; Ricky Gervais, "Extras: The Extra Special Series Finale," HBO; Paul Giamatti, "John Adams," HBO; Kevin Spacey, "Recount," HBO; Tom Wilkinson, "Recount," HBO
» Actress, miniseries or movie: Catherine Keener, "An American Crime," Showtime; Susan Sarandon, "Bernard and Doris," HBO; Judi Dench, "Cranford" (Masterpiece Theatre), PBS; Laura Linney, "John Adams," HBO; Phylicia Rashad, "A Raisin in the Sun," ABC
» Supporting actor, miniseries or movie: David Morse, "John Adams," HBO; Stephen Dillane, "John Adams," HBO; Tom Wilkinson, "John Adams," HBO; Denis Leary, "Recount," HBO; Bob Balaban, "Recount," HBO
» Supporting actress, miniseries or movie: Eileen Atkins, "Cranford" (Masterpiece Theatre), PBS; Ashley Jensen, "Extras: The Extra Special Series Finale," HBO; Alfre Woodard, "Pictures of Hollis Woods" (Hallmark Hall of Fame Presentation), CBS; Audra McDonald, "A Raisin in the Sun," ABC; Laura Dern, "Recount," HBO