Saturday, September 15, 2007

Nominees celebrate on eve of Emmy Awards

In their last hours as neither winners nor losers, Emmy nominees gathered to celebrate being in contention for American television's highest honor — and to get free stuff.

On Friday, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences hosted a party honoring nominees for Sunday's 59th Primetime Emmy Awards, which will air on Fox.

Denis Leary, who is up for lead actor in a drama series for "Rescue Me," said the select group of actors showed up to receive certification that they were nominees.

"But no, really, the reason everybody's here: You get a swag bag," he told The Associated Press, apparently only half-joking. "That's why I'm here ... There's enough stuff in there — there's probably eight or nine things — that my wife gets something, and then we have something that we spread around with the relatives. So everybody's happy at the end."

Leary said he's rooting for James Gandolfini, star of the "The Sopranos."

"They should give him an Emmy that's even bigger than him, a chocolate Emmy that he can eat," Leary said. "I just think he's the greatest character in the history of television."

The reception at the Wolfgang Puck restaurant in the Pacific Design Center also included supporting-actress nominees Sandra Oh ("Grey's Anatomy") and Holland Taylor ("Two and a Half Men"). Supporting-actor nominees T.R. Knight ("Grey's Anatomy"), Neil Patrick Harris ("How I Met Your Mother"), August Schellenberg ("Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee") and Jon Cryer ("Two and a Half Men") showed up, too.

Cryer revealed that he and fellow nominee Felicity Huffman (lead actress in a comedy series, "Desperate Housewives") would be participating in a 22.5-mile triathlon Sunday before walking down the red carpet at the Shrine Auditorium. He expected endorphins to help keep him calm on Emmy night.

Last year, Cryer said he was nervous as a first-time nominee.

"I didn't know how I was supposed to act," he said. "I would just sort of sit around, going, 'Am I supposed to be sitting here? What's going on? Is there something we're supposed to be doing now?'"

Oscar winner Anna Paquin ("The Piano") said she was just too busy to fret about her Emmy nod as supporting actress in "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee."

"I'm about to start shooting a new series for HBO," Paquin said. "So that's really distracting me from feeling nervous about Sunday night."

Last year's lead-actress drama winner Mariska Hargitay ("SVU") said her previous Emmy and a new baby helped keep the event in perspective. After a baby "decisions come so much easier," she said.

"This year, it was so easy," she said. "I tried on this dress. It was the first dress I tried on, and, I said, 'I'm done.'"

Finding red-carpet couture wasn't quite as easy for Conchata Ferrell (supporting actress, "Two and Half Men").

"Particularly for a woman my size, it's really very difficult to find anything," she said. "There's no designer knocking on my door, going, 'Oh, here. Wear this,' she said. Ferrell eventually went to the set's costume designer, Mary T. Quigley, who came up with a silver sparkling number.

For Masi Oka (supporting actor, "Heroes") clothes weren't the problem for Emmy night. Finding a date was.

Even his own mother turned him down, choosing to stay home in Japan.

"My mom is actually very superstitious," he said. "She tells me every time she's in Japan, she gets good news, like 'I got nominated for a Golden Globe,' or 'I got nominated for an Emmy.'

"Anytime she's in the states, she gets bad news, like, 'I want to be an actor.'"


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