Fearless, heedless, yet oh-so-sensible predictions about the winners of the Emmy awards, to be bestowed by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences on Sept. 8.
Andre Braugher: Nominated in the lead-actor category for Homicide: Life on the Street and as supporting actor in HBO’s Tuskegee Airmen, he’s a shoo-in…but for which one? Well, since the Academy was dumb enough to deny Homicide a best drama nomination (and what in blazes is Chicago Hope doing there?), I think Braugher will get a long-overdue nod as best actor.
Paul Reiser: As host, could be annoying if he comes off as self-absorbedly snippy as his character was in Mad About You last season. Oprah Winfrey and Michael J. Fox, who’ll introduce various segments, will be welcome host-helpers.
Best Comedy Series: The fiercest competition here, with Frasier, Friends, The Larry Sanders Show, Mad About You, and Seinfeld duking it out. I found Frasier disappointingly uneven this past season, believe the surprisingly consistent Friends will be neglected, just told you what I think is weak about Mad, and yearn for a Sanders win. But Seinfeld will nab it, and show cocreator Larry David — who exited the series with an admirable run of black-humored plots — is worthy of the prize.
Most Deserving, Longest Odds: Sela Ward, whose brave, brainy performance in the Lifetime movie Almost Golden: The Jessica Savitch Story may get scandalously shut out of her best-actress-in-a-special category by the star power of Mira Sorvino and Ashley Judd in HBO’s piffly Norma Jean and Marilyn.
Most Deserving, Best Odds: Kathy Bates, gloriously foulmouthed as Jay Leno’s former manager Helen Kushnick in HBO’s The Late Shift. Given that her weak competition in the best-supporting-actress-in-a-special field includes Greta Scacchi in HBO’s Rasputin, talent may actually prevail. Best supporting actor in a special? Late Shift’s Treat Williams, for his rigorous impersonation of Mike Ovitz.
Complaint: The magnificent Larry Sanders Show deserves all the kudos it can get, but its three nominations in the comedy-writing category (another lame Academy move) will most likely cancel one another out. I predict that the nominated Seinfeld episode — the lauded ”Soup Nazi” — will, and deserves to, win. But really, one of those Sanders nominations should have been given to the marvelously nutty and underrated NewsRadio.
The X-Files: Instantly doomed because of Academy voters’ dense middlebrow belief that anything with aliens must be lowbrow. Deserves to win as best drama; won’t. Deserves to win drama-series writing award; won’t. Gillian Anderson nominated but not David Duchovny? Highly paranormal, dude.