TV Eye

Eyes on the Prize

I have to admit, it's been a long time since I watched the Grammys from start to finish. I tuned in this year, mainly to see how the hubbub surrounding the performance between Eminem and Elton John would play out. And in case I didn't know there was a hubbub, I was reminded of it every few minutes when the Grammys plugged the upcoming performance before going to a commercial break. That should have been my first clue that I was being strung along, but no, I dutifully watched, in spite of one annoyance after the next.

The ordinarily charming Jon Stewart barely tread water as the host. And while the show's "We Are the World" approach to recognizing music makers from the spectrum of the music industry is laudable in theory, the result was a mucky goulash of strange, perplexing flavors.

The final blow to my patience was when Grammy poobah Michael Greene delivered an interminably long and self-righteous apologia for Eminem. If the Grammy people were not ashamed of Eminem, why bother with a speech at all? Why not just let the music speak for itself? Besides, it delayed the duet between John and Eminem, which was one of the strongest performances of the evening. And just when you thought the evening would be capped off with an Album of the Year win by Eminem, the award went to Steely Dan. (Steely Dan?!?)

I felt as if I'd been had. I felt as if a little controversy was used to lure me in, only for the Grammys to retreat as far away from controversy as possible by rewarding a band that was in its prime 25 years ago. As far as awards shows go, the 43rd Annual Grammy Awards was one of the most abysmal presentations I've seen in a long time. Tell me when it moves to cable. Then maybe the product can come close to matching the hype.


I'd Like to Thank My Fellow Actors

The 7th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards will be telecast on TNT Sunday, March 11. The SAG Awards will honor outstanding performances from the year 2000 in five film and eight television categories. The SAG Awards are selected entirely by actors, with 98,000 members nationwide eligible to vote.

The SAG ceremony has several unique features that set it apart. One is the ensemble award, recognizing collaborative performances in film and television. Another is the tribute SAG gives to actors working in the trenches: commercial actors, background singers, stunt women, dancers, background performers, animation voiceover performers, and stunt performers. Perhaps the most popular feature of the awards show is the "How I Got My Card" segment, in which actors talk about the first jobs that earned them their SAG memberships.

The nominations for television performers and programs include nominees from over-the-air and cable networks. NBC leads with 15 nominations, followed by HBO (7) and Fox (6). The nominees include:

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series: Tim Daly, The Fugitive; Anthony Edwards, ER; Dennis Franz, NYPD Blue; James Gandolfini, The Sopranos; Martin Sheen, The West Wing.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series: Gillian Anderson, The X-Files; Edie Falco, The Sopranos; Sally Field, ER; Lauren Graham, The Gilmore Girls; Allison Janney, The West Wing; Sela Ward, Once and Again.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series: Robert Downey Jr. and Peter MacNicol, Ally McBeal; Kelsey Grammer and David Hyde Pierce, Frasier; Sean Hayes, Will & Grace.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series: Calista Flockhart, Ally McBeal; Jane Kaczmarek, Malcolm in the Middle; Debra Messing and Megan Mullally, Will & Grace; Sarah Jessica Parker, Sex and the City.

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series: ER, Law & Order, The Practice, The Sopranos, and The West Wing.

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series: Ally McBeal, Frasier, Friends, Sex and the City, and Will & Grace.

Ozzie Davis and wife Ruby Dee are the 37th recipients of the SAG's Lifetime Achievement Award. The Screen Actors Guild Awards Ceremony will be presented live, March 11, beginning at 7pm on TNT. A replay of the event immediately follows. For the complete list of nominees, log on to www.sagawards.org or www.tnt.turner.com.


I'd Like to Thank the Fans

Like the People's Choice Awards, the TV Guide Awards is a fan-based awards show that sometimes defies critics' taste -- how else would Roma Downey, from that sickly sweet contrivance Touched by an Angel, get an award for best actress? Still, the industry, especially actors, appreciate (or at least pay lip service to) these awards because they come from the fans.

This year's Third Annual TV Guide Awards promotes itself as "the largest fan-based TV awards show ever," with 21 categories. In addition to the expected Best Actor and Supporting Actor awards, the TVG ballot had some interesting new categories this year: Favorite Reality Series and Favorite Breakout Star among them. Although the ceremony has already taken place (and in some cases, award winners have already been announced), you can still watch the Third Annual TV Guide Awards this Wednesday, March 7, 7pm, on Fox. Some of the more intriguing categories and their nominees include:

Favorite Actor in a New Series: Tom Cavanagh, Ed; Tim Daly, The Fugitive; Craig T. Nelson, The District; and William Petersen, CSI.

Favorite Actress in a New Series: Jessica Alba, Dark Angel; Delta Burke, DAG; Marg Helgenberger, CSI; and Bette Midler, Bette.

Favorite Breakout Star: Jessica Alba, Dark Angel; Tom Cavanagh, Ed; Will Ferrell and Darrell Hammond (as George Bush and Al Gore), Saturday Night Live; and Frankie Muniz, Malcolm in the Middle.

Favorite Reality Series: A&E's Biography, America's Most Wanted, Crocodile Hunter, and Survivor.


E-mail Belinda Acosta at tveye@austinchronicle.com

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

grammy awards, jon stewart, tv guide awards, sag awards

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