Backstage and beyond at the Emmys

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Glenn Close holds the Emmy for outstanding actress in a drama series for her role in "Damages," backstage at the 60th annual Emmy Awards.


Television, movies, stage. They're all the same to Glenn Close, as long as the work is worthwhile.

''I kind of don't differentiate,'' Close said backstage Sunday night after winning the Emmy for outstanding lead actress in a drama series for ''Damages.''

''For me, it's where the material is and it always has been, and I am so energized and challenged and thrilled by the work that we all do together at 'Damages.' It really is the ride of my career to have this magnificent part, which is as good as any part you'd find in a feature film. ... I can't wait to see where our writers take us this year.''

As she spoke backstage with reporters, Close also expanded on the comments she made during her acceptance speech about ''the sisterhood of the TV drama divas,'' actresses like Helen Mirren and Judi Dench who've inspired her by flourishing in television as well as in films and theater.

''The most important thing is going where there's great material,'' she said, ''because that's how you grow as an artist and how you're challenged.''

A VERY FINE HOUSE: Olivia Wilde plays the mysterious Thirteen on ''House,'' but she wasn't shy about singing the praises of the Fox medical series as she arrived at Sunday night's Emmy Awards.

''Really what it is, for us I think, is acknowledging the incredible writing for the show,'' she said of ''House,'' which was nominated for outstanding drama series and lead actor in a drama for star Hugh Laurie. The show won a directing Emmy for Greg Yaitanes.

''Being nominated for best drama is really a testament to the producers and the writers who've worked so hard, particularly on a show as complicated as ours, which involves a tremendous amount of research,'' she said. ''I just feel honored to say their words every day.''

So what can we expect next season from the cranky Dr. House and his staff?

''Sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll,'' said Wilde, who was a stunner on the red carpet in a white Reem Acra goddess dress with beaded capped sleeves. ''Everything is brought to a boil.''

WHO NEEDS AN EMMY?: Ricky Gervais is having a pretty good weekend, between the opening of his new movie, ''Ghost Town,'' and his three Emmy nominations for starring in, directing and writing the HBO comedy ''Extras: The Extra Special Series Finale.''

''It's great. It's really weird, it's all come at once hasn't it?'' he said on the red carpet before Sunday's Emmy show. ''The reviews for 'Ghost Town' were great, it's very exciting. And the Emmys? We'll see what happens there. I'm not holding out much hope but it's nice to be invited.''

Gervais, who was passed over in the awards competition, said he felt a little outmatched in the category of lead actor in a miniseries or a movie, where his competitors were Ralph Fiennes for ''Bernard and Doris,'' Paul Giamatti for ''John Adams,'' and Kevin Spacey and Tom Wilkinson, both for ''Recount.'' Giamatti was the winner.

''They put me in a film category. It's ridiculous. Up against people like Spacey,'' Gervais said.

Still, he looked great on the red carpet in his Calvin Klein tuxedo.

HEAT? WHAT HEAT?: Jeff Probst has traveled to some of the most miserably sweltering parts of the world as host of ''Survivor.''

So a little end-of-summer heat on the red carpet may have had other people sweating in their designer clothes, but not him.

''I'm thinking cool. My inner child is very cold so I'm all good,'' Probst said while wearing head-to-toe Armani. ''When you make your living out in 115 degrees, 95 on a nice Sunday at the Emmys, piece of cake.

''Plus, I mean, it's the Emmys! Quit complaining, let's go, have some fun!''

Probst won the Emmy in the new category of best reality show host. He was up against Tom Bergeron for ''Dancing With the Stars,'' Heidi Klum for ''Project Runway,'' Howie Mandel for ''Deal or No Deal'' and Ryan Seacrest for ''American Idol,'' all of whom served with him as co-hosts of this year's show.

Creating the category was ''a real nice nod to us, and I know Tom, Heidi, Howie and Seacrest, we all feel the same way,'' he said before the show. ''And then to ask that we host the show! A mistake, but a really nice compliment, and we're going to try to not destroy it.''

A THREE HOUR TOUR: Josh Groban has made his name with his big voice and his soaring ballads. Still, Emmy night found him in some uncharted pop-culture territory: performing a montage of beloved television theme songs.

''This is a weird one tonight because it's not one of my songs,'' Groban said beforehand. ''I have the great honor of singing some of the greatest TV themes of all time but not all of them are the same. They're very different. You've got things that are reggae, a little rap, a little country, so there's a lot of preparation that goes into it.''

Groban did a montage of classic songs from the early days of television to the present, including ''The Brady Bunch,'' ''The Love Boat,'' ''COPS,'' ''The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'' and ''South Park.''

For two of the songs, ''Rawhide'' and ''Gilligan's Island, he did a mash up. (Who knew they sounded so similar?)

For ''The Muppet Show,'' he got some help on harmony vocals and drums from Animal.

PRESIDENT PALIN?: Jeremy Piven is known for being painfully outspoken as acerbic agent Ari Gold on ''Entourage,'' a role which earned him his third consecutive Emmy for supporting actor in a comedy series on Sunday night.

But when it came time to talk politics backstage, he was a little more reticent.

When a reporter asked what he thought about the possibility of a President Palin administration -- should Republicans John McCain and Sarah Palin make it to the White House and something happen to McCain -- Piven hesitated a bit before answering.

''It's the bridge-to-nowhere endless loop that I keep hearing, I keep hearing,'' he said, a reference to a failed project in Alaska Gov. Palin's home state.

''That, and Matt Damon's quotes about that,'' he said, referring to his fellow actor's recent questioning of Pain's qualifications. ''I wish he was here right now so he can help me.''


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This page contains a single entry by Thomas Conner published on September 22, 2008 12:19 PM.

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