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‘The Sopranos’ dominate Emmy nominations
LOS ANGELES — "The Sopranos," the mob series that went to its grave with a shockingly inconclusive finale, found a happy ending Thursday with 15 Emmy nominations including best drama.
The made-for-TV movie "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee" led all nominees with 17 bids.
James Gandolfini, who played the emotionally conflicted mob boss on HBO's "The Sopranos," and Edie Falco, who played his wife, both received top acting nominations.
Other best-drama series were "Boston Legal," "Grey's Anatomy," "House" and freshman sci-fi sensation "Heroes."
"The Sopranos" emerged with the most nominations for a series, followed by "Ugly Betty" with 11 and, with 10 each, sexy medical drama "Grey's Anatomy" and critical favorite "30 Rock."
"Grey's Anatomy," which came through a difficult year in which star Isaiah Washington was fired after twice using an anti-gay slur, wasn't hurt when it came to Emmy bids. Besides best drama series, there were nominations for four supporting cast members and two guest actors.
While Washington was overlooked, co-star T.R. Knight, who said that Washington had directed the slur at him, did receive a supporting actor nod.
The miniseries "The Starter Wife" also was a top nominee with 10.
The freshman hit, "Ugly Betty," based on a Colombian telenovela, made it into the ranks of best comedy series nominees. It's joined by "Entourage," "30 Rock," "Two and a Half Men" and last year's winner in the category, "The Office."
"Ugly Betty" star America Ferrera was recognized with a nod for her starring role.
Joining Gandolfini among lead drama series actor nominees were Hugh Laurie of "House," Denis Leary of "Rescue Me," James Spader of "Boston Legal" and last year's winner Kiefer Sutherland of "24." Last year's drama series was "24" but it was snubbed this time.
Falco will compete with Patricia Arquette of "Medium," Minnie Driver of "The Riches," Sally Field of "Brothers & Sisters," Kyra Sedgwick of "The Closer" and last year's winner, Mariska Hargitay of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit."
Sedgwick got the news immediately. She helped announce bids for the 59th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards in a brief ceremony at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' Leonard H. Goldenson Theatre.
"She's all ruffled. She didn't know that was coming!" said Jon Cryer of Sedgwick, who flubbed her lines after announcing her own nomination.
Cryer himself was nominated for comedy series supporting actor for "Two and a Half Men."
"Friday Night Lights," the critically acclaimed but low-rated high school football drama that needed an Emmy boost, failed to gain major nominations.
"The Sopranos," which premiered in January 1999 and had an on-and-off cable run, capped its final episode this year with an ambiguous ending that left fans in the dark about the fate of lead character Tony Soprano, last seen sitting in a diner with his wife and children. A suddenly black screen suggested sudden violence or not.
The series' other nominees included Michael Imperioli, who received a bid for best supporting dramatic actor for his role as the ill-fated Christopher. Aida Turturro, who played Tony's tough sister Janice, and Lorraine Bracco, who co-starred as his conflicted psychiatrist Dr. Melfi, were nominated for supporting actress.
Along with Ferrera in the lead comedy actress category were Felicity Huffman of "Desperate Housewives," Tina Fey of "30 Rock," Mary-Louise Parker of "Weeds" and last year's winner, Julia Louis-Dreyfus of "The New Adventures of Old Christine."
Their actor counterparts included last year's winner, Tony Shalhoub of "Monk," Ricky Gervais of "Extras," Steve Carell of "The Office," Charlie Sheen of "Two and a Half Men" and Alec Baldwin of "30 Rock."
Like "Grey's" Washington, Baldwin drew unflattering attention this year, in his case because of a leaked recording of an angry telephone call to his daughter, who is caught in a legal dispute with ex-wife Kim Basinger.
Nominees for comedy series supporting actor were Kevin Dillon and Jeremy Piven of "Entourage," Neil Patrick Harris of "How I Met Your Mother," Rainn Wilson of "The Office" and Cryer.
Some categories had six nominees this year rather than the usual five.
Supporting comedy actress nominees included Holland Taylor and Conchata Ferrell of "Two and a Half Men," Jaime Pressly of "My Name is Earl," Jenna Fischer of "The Office," Vanessa Williams of "Ugly Betty" and Elizabeth Perkins of "Weeds."
Another six-nominee category was best supporting actress in a drama series, with Turturro and Bracco joined by Katherine Heigl, Chandra Wilson and Sandra Oh of "Grey's Anatomy" and Rachel Griffiths of "Brothers & Sisters."
Heigl has also broken out as a movie star with her role in the hit comedy "Knocked Up."
Besides Knight and Imperioli, drama series supporting actor bids went to William Shatner of "Boston Legal," "Lost" actors Michael Emerson and Terry O'Quinn, and Masi Oka of "Heroes."
Despite receiving the most overall nominations, "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee" did not receive any bids for lead acting. The HBO movie starred Adam Beach as a Sioux physician struggling with assimilation.
Altogether, 463 nominations were announced. HBO was the most recognized with 86 bids, followed by ABC with 70, NBC with 69, CBS with 44, Fox with 28 and PBS with 24.
In June, judges screening potential nominees for the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences made their picks from a list of 10 top contenders for the best drama and best comedy series categories.
The top 10 lists given to the judges were based on polling of the general academy membership. Five nominees in each category ultimately were to be chosen, based on a combination of the panelists' votes and the general polling.
The three-hour Emmy Awards ceremony will be broadcast Sept. 16 by Fox from the Shrine Auditorium.
Other Emmy honors, including those for technical achievement and guest actors and actresses in series, will be given at the creative arts ceremony on Sept. 8.
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