Thursday, December 20, 2007

What good is a blog...

...if you can't use it to scratch a particular itch? I was having a conversation with someone today about the SAG Award nominations, and somehow the subject of James Mason impressions came up. (If you don't know Mason, he's a classic movie star who has one of the most distinctive voices you'll ever hear; here's a clip of him in the original "Lolita" to fill you in, and go rent "North by Northwest" afterwards for Mason and so many, many other reasons.) Anyway, I remembered that I had once seen a stand-up comic doing an impression of Mason as Moe from the Three Stooges, warning Larry and Curly that he was about to beat them up, and I can't for the life of me remember who the comic was. I want to say Kevin Pollak, but so far the only luck I've had with Google was one reference to it on a message board with a link to a YouTube video that has since been removed. This ringing any bells with anyone?

And since I brought up the SAG-ies, might as well offer a few thoughts on them (including the full list of TV nominees) after the jump...

-Glad to see "Mad Men" continue to get awards show love. There's not 100 percent overlap between SAG nominees and Emmy acting nominees, but at least I feel like there's a chance Jon Hamm might get a nod when the nominating ballots go out.

-"The Closer" for best ensemble? Whatever. I understand why people like Kyra Sedgwick, even if I think the performance is overdone, but the job description for every other actor on that show might as well read, "Stand slack-jawed as Brenda Leigh does something unconventional."

-The lack of "Friday Night Lights" is proof, once again, that, as Heldenfels likes to say, showbiz awards operate on the Chamber of Commerce theory where making the industry look good is the most important thing. "FNL" films in Austin, not an industry town, and while Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton are recognizable, they're not big enough stars to overcome the geography problem.

-I didn't watch ABC's latest Mitch Albom movie, but I'm guessing Ellen Burstyn's screentime for her nominated role was a bit longer than her infamous 14-second Emmy-nominated turn in "Mrs. Harris."

-Hey, the Screen Actors Guild (unlike the Golden Globes voters) remembered that James Gandolfini was on "The Sopranos," and that he was great this year.

-I like the Christina Applegate nomination. "Samantha Who?" as a whole is a big mess, but she's sweating up a storm trying to make it work.

And here's the nominations list (I deleted the names of the actors in each ensemble category for brevity's sake; to see them all, follow the link at the top of the post):


Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries

MICHAEL KEATON / James Jesus Angleton “The Company (TNT)
KEVIN KLINE / Jacques “As You Like It” (HBO)
OLIVER PLATT / George Steinbrenner “The Bronx is Burning” (ESPN)
SAM SHEPARD / Frank Whiteley “Ruffian” (ABC)
JOHN TURTURRO / Billy Martin “The Bronx is Burning” (ESPN)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries

ELLEN BURSTYN / Posey Benetto “Mitch Albom¹s For One More Day” (ABC)
DEBRA MESSING / Molly Kagan “The Starter Wife” (USA)
ANNA PAQUIN / Elaine Goodale “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” (HBO)
QUEEN LATIFAH / Ana “Life Support “ (HBO)
VANESSA REDGRAVE / Woman “The Fever” (HBO)
GENA ROWLANDS / Melissa Eisenbloom “What If God Were the Sun?” (Lifetime)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series

JAMES GANDOLFINI / Tony Soprano “The Sopranos” (HBO)
MICHAEL C. HALL / Dexter Morgan “Dexter” (Showtime)
JON HAMM / Don Draper “Mad Men” (AMC)
HUGH LAURIE / Dr. Gregory House “House” (FOX)
JAMES SPADER / Alan Shore “Boston Legal” (ABC)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series

GLENN CLOSE / Patty Hewes “Damages” (FX)
EDIE FALCO / Carmela Soprano “The Sopranos” (HBO)
SALLY FIELD / Nora Walker “Brothers & Sisters” (ABC)
HOLLY HUNTER / Grace Hanadarko “Saving Grace” (TNT)
KYRA SEDGWICK / Deputy Police Chief Brenda Johnson “The Closer” (TNT)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series

ALEC BALDWIN / Jack Donaghy “30 Rock” (NBC)
STEVE CARELL / Michael Scott “The Office” (NBC)
RICKY GERVAIS / Andy Millman “Extras” (NBC)
JEREMY PIVEN / Ari Gold “Entourage” (HBO)
TONY SHALHOUB / Adrian Monk “Monk” (USA)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series

CHRISTINA APPLEGATE / Samantha Newly “Samantha Who?” (ABC)
AMERICA FERRERA / Betty Suarez “Ugly Betty” (ABC)
TINA FEY / Liz Lemon “30 Rock” (NBC)
MARY-LOUISE PARKER / Nancy Botwin “Weeds” (Showtime)
VANESSA WILLIAMS / Wilhelmina Slater “Ugly Betty” (ABC)

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series


Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series



Karen said...

I don't know what comic does James Mason as the Three Stooges, but I do know that Eddie Izzard maintains that God has the voice of James Mason, and he does a pretty respectable imitation of him.

Theresa said...

Even though I know TV is your bag, I was thrilled to see Into the Wild with four noms, because Emile Hirsch was brilliant and it got shut out of the Golden Globes.

Also, much as I adore Tina Fey, I was really pleased to see Vanessa Williams get nominated for Ugly Betty, because she is wonderful as Wilhelmina Slater. ("I'm Wilhelmina Slater and I don't get wet! You're wearing plastic!")

Anonymous said...

I'll second the Eddie Izzard impression. I know you borrowed and watched Dressed to Kill where he uses it, but the 3 Stooges part doesn't ring a bell.

David J. Loehr said...

Could you be thinking of Gilbert Gottfried? He did an HBO One Night Stand years ago where, among other things, he did his version of the Honeymooners with James Mason as Ralph Kramden. He does one of the best Mason impressions I've ever heard, oddly enough.

I know I've heard that Stooges routine, too. I wouldn't be surprised if it was from the same show.

The main joke with Izzard is that he does two impressions so everyone is either James Mason or Sean Connery. (Suddenly, I want to listen to his "Glorious" cd again...)

Unknown said...

James Spader must have a LOT of friends at these things, because seriously? Enough is enough.

Obviously, no one in Hollywood even watches Friday Night Lights, or they're all deaf and blind. Connie Britton? Kyle Chandler? The most awesome ensemble on TV? And nothing. Honestly.

Little Miss Smoke and Mirrors said...

I'll keep saying it... James Spader brings his A game every single week. It's not his fault no one watches Boston Legal to know it.

Anonymous said...

Three cheers to Jon Hamm and Mad Men.

Anonymous said...

All I know is that Bill Hader from SNL does a James Mason impression

Anonymous said...

just so I don't book myself into the nearest police station, how old was the girl that played lolita it the clip you posted?

Alan Sepinwall said...

just so I don't book myself into the nearest police station, how old was the girl that played lolita it the clip you posted?

Sue Lyon was born in 1946, and "Lolita" came out in 1962. I guess the question is, what state do you live in?

Alan Sepinwall said...

And I guess the larger question is, how bad are my reading comprehension skills, Jason From Jersey?

(That, or what's our state's age of consent?)

Toby O'B said...

Best line by a James Mason character is in "The Last of Sheila":

"Apparently, there is a God."

Best line about a James Mason character is in "The Verdict" and delivered by Jack Warden:

"He's the Prince of F'ing Darkness!"

MikeNZ said...

Have to say that I too can only think of Eddie Izzard. In fact I pretty much think of his Mason impersonations whenever Izzard is mentioned. As has been said God has the voice of Mason. You can listen for yourself:

On the other hand Mason always reminds me of his rather uninspiring film from the late 60's Age of Consent, which for an uninspiring film i seem to have watched a good number of times over the years. Something no doubt to do with an extremely young Helen Mirren with a very very small wardrobe budget. She was more or less a total nobody back then - how times change.

little miss smoke and mirrors you got it 100% - that Spader is a class act no matter what anyone says about it being somewhat repetitive, sure he owns that character entirely now, but it doesn't make the delivery or the gravitas any less enthralling. I still watch just for him, and the fact some of his court room scenes are extremely well written and highly relevant.

Nicole said...

I can live with the Spader individual nomination, but the entire cast of Boston Legal?

And I know this would never happen, but I think the cast of Battlestar Galactica is far superior.

I would also substitute Jeremy Piven's nom for Neil Patrick Harris. Piven's okay, but looks better because he isn't surrounded by anything comparable in the cast.

Finally, yay for Jon Hamm. He is an unknown no longer.

Anonymous said...

I was watching an old tape recently - i'm going to guess The West Wing - Shibboleth (still no DVDs here and the old DVR ran off with my copy from Bravo, and Posse Comitatus is nowhere to be found) and saw a familiar face in a commercial for Providence. A great deal of rewinding later, we agreed it must me Jon Hamm.

Sad about Boston Legal - I liked Spader so much more when he was on The Practice. The character was better.
I missed the premiere this year and then just kept on missing till I realized this would help me thru the writers' strike - I've now seen only one ep of BL from season 4 (I have them, till the next hard drive dies)

Looking forward to seeing Scott Bakula on BL - right after I come back from seeing him on stage in DC, if what I am hearing about the air date holds.

(and hey - the singing bee is back. twice the fun of Don't Forget the Lyrics in half the time! and the only game shows I will watch beside Jeopardy (and DFtL is pushing it - it crawls at the speed of Millionaire))

Anonymous said...

The comedian with the James Mason-3 Stooges bit was on a Rodney Dangerfield Young Comedians Special some years back, though I can't recall his name. Caught it a few weeks back on HBO Comedy....

"Larry, Curly....I'm going to poke you both in the eyes, very hard. Now let's scccram, fellas, woop woop woop."

Matt said...

The guy who does the James Mason bit is Greg Travis:

Travis is a versatile performer whose celebrity impressions range from the rebellious Jack Nicholson to the mannered James Mason as Moe of the Three Stooges ("Larry, Curly--I'm going to have to poke you both in the eye . . . ")

This question has been bothering me for a while.