54th Annual Primetime Emmy Nominations Announced

So much for TV’s same old, same old.

The nominations for the 54th Annual Primetime Emmys signaled a significant shift in the landscape of television’s most honored series and performers, with perennial favorites like ER, The Practice, The X-Files and NYPD Blue (the latter ineligible due to a lack of new episodes) losing steam among Academy of Television Arts & Sciences voters in favor of up-and-coming shows like Six Feet Under, Alias, 24 and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Nobody better signified the Emmy voters’ changing tastes than Will & Grace star and this morning’s nomination announcer Eric McCormack. After ER actress Laura Innes read off a list of names in the lead actor in a comedy category that did not include his own, he executed a perfectly timed, Jack Benny-esque slow look over his shoulder to assure he had heard correctly.

“It’s just as well,” the Emmy winner–and impending father-to-be–sighed. “You know how hard it is to get a sitter.” The nonplussed star nevertheless beamed when his show and co-stars Debra Messing, Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally each received nominations.

McCormack played his shut-out for laughs, but a dramatic shift in preferences marked this year’s nominations. Still, despite having no new episodes of The Sopranos to submit, HBO again emerged as the network with the most nominations, an astounding 93 nods. Six Feet Under delivered the most of any series this year with 23, and the pay cable net also scored nods for its enduring Sex and the City (ten), newcomer Curb Your Enthusiasm, miniseries Band of Brothers and several of its pay cable movies.

The new crop of freshman faves include Alias (nine noms, including acting accolades for Jennifer Garner and Victor Garber), 24 (ten, including nods for best drama and lead actor Kiefer Sutherland) and comedian Bernie Mac, who got his first nomination in the lead actor in a comedy series for the initial season of his eponymous Fox sitcom. Michael Chiklis, star of the scathing new F/X crime drama The Shield, also earned his first kudo as lead actor in drama.

But in spite of near shut-outs in major categories for former Emmy shoo-ins like ER, The Practice, Ally McBeal and Law & Order, at least one principal network had plenty of reasons to be as proud as a peacock. NBC nabbed 89 nominations, bolstered by the still-powerhouse The West Wing (21 nods), Will & Grace (13) and a resurgently popular Friends (11). Indeed, this year marked the strongest showing yet by the latter show’s cast members, who for the first time decided to submit themselves in the comedy lead categories rather than the supporting slots.

The gambit paid off: buoyed by this season’s Rachel-Joey-Ross triangle, Jennifer Aniston and Matt LeBlanc scored nods, though David Schwimmer was edged out by Matthew Perry. Aniston’s real-life hubby Brad Pitt even earned a nomination for his guest appearance on the series.

The network’s graying show Frasier still snared a very respectable nine nominations, including acting nods for lead Kelsey Grammer and supporting actor David Hyde Pierce, along with guest actors Brian Cox, Adam Arkin and Anthony LaPaglia. The series is only two Emmy wins away from tying the all-time win mark set by The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

It seems that actors looking to make a bid for the winged trophies need only get their agents to wrangle them a role on The West Wing. Not only did previous Emmy winners Martin Sheen and Allison Janney (bumped up this year to the lead actress category) score approval, the Oval Office drama earned supporting nominations for regular cast members Dule Hill, John Spencer, Richard Schiff, Bradley Whitford, Janel Moloney, Stockard Channing and Mary-Louise Parker, as well as for guest actors Ron Silver, Tim Matheson and Mark Harmon.

Whitford and Jane Kaczmarek continue to be the favorite real-life husband-and-wife choice among Emmy voters, with Kaczmarek getting a lead comedy actress nod for her role on Fox’s , while her TV hubby Bryan Cranston got his first-ever lead comedy actor nod for the series.

CBS must love Everybody Loves Raymond for turning out one of its strongest performances yet with 11 nominations, and each of the sitcom’s lead actors earned a berth in their respective categories, as did guest actress Katherine Helmond. The eye net’s sophomore series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, one of the most-watched shows on TV, garnered six nods, including one for outstanding drama series, yet none of the show’s actors were singled out.

“Singled out” sounds like a term the Sex and the City gals would never want to hear, but while Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Cynthia Nixon and even veteran character actress Frances Sternhagen (who plays Charlotte’s blue-blood mother-in-law Bunny) woke up to Emmy nominations, Kristin Davis somehow slipped through the cracks again despite an emotionally weighty season.

Finally, it apparently helps you get an Emmy nomination if you already have an Academy Award, or at least a nomination, on your mantel. Among the performers previously tapped for film’s Golden Guy who earned Emmy nods in various categories this year: Albert Finney, Angela Bassett, Sissy Spacek, Jim Broadbent, Susan Sarandon, Jon Voight, Vanessa Redgrave, Laura Linney, Kenneth Branagh, Joan Allen, Michael Douglas, Anjelica Huston, Glenn Close and Cloris Leachman. Even Tom Hanks and directors Steven Spielberg and Ridley Scott got acknowledged in the producer categories.

ATAS will hand out the Emmy trophies on Sunday, Sept. 22, at a black-tie ceremony at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.

Highlights of the 2001-2002 Primetime Emmy Award Nominations:


Outstanding Drama Series

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (CBS)

Law & Order (NBC)

Six Feet Under (HBO)

24 (FOX)

The West Wing (NBC)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Michael Chiklis, The Shield

Michael C. Hall, Six Feet Under

Peter Krause, Six Feet Under

Kiefer Sutherland, 24

Martin Sheen, The West Wing

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Jennifer Garner, Alias

Amy Brenneman, Judging Amy

Rachel Griffiths, Six Feet Under

Frances Conroy, Six Feet Under

Allison Janney, The West Wing

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Victor Garber, Alias

Freddy Rodriguez, Six Feet Under

Dulé Hill, The West Wing

John Spencer, The West Wing

Bradley Whitford, The West Wing

Richard Schiff, The West Wing

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Tyne Daly, Judging Amy

Lauren Ambrose, Six Feet Under

Mary-Louise Parker, The West Wing

Stockard Channing, The West Wing

Janel Moloney, The West Wing


Outstanding Comedy Series

Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO)

Everybody Loves Raymond (CBS)

Friends (NBC)

Sex and the City (HBO)

Will & Grace (NBC)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Bernie Mac, The Bernie Mac Show

Ray Romano, Everybody Loves Raymond

Kelsey Grammer, Frasier

Matt LeBlanc, Friends

Matthew Perry, Friends

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

Patricia Heaton, Everybody Loves Raymond

Jennifer Aniston, Friends

Jane Kaczmarek, Malcolm in the Middle

Sarah Jessica Parker, Sex and the City

Debra Messing, Will & Grace

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

Peter Boyle, Everybody Loves Raymond

Brad Garrett, Everybody Loves Raymond

David Hyde Pierce, Frasier

Bryan Cranston, Malcolm in the Middle

Sean Hayes, Will & Grace

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

Doris Roberts, Everybody Loves Raymond

Wendie Malick, Just Shoot Me

Cynthia Nixon, Sex and the City

Kim Cattrall, Sex and the City

Megan Mullally, Will & Grace


Outstanding MiniSeries

Band of Brothers (HBO)

Dinotopia (ABC)

The Mists of Avalon (TNT)

Shackleton (A&E)

Outstanding Made for Television Movie

Dinner With Friends (HBO)

The Gathering Storm (HBO)

James Dean (TNT)

The Laramie Project (HBO)

Path To War (HBO)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie

Albert Finney, The Gathering Storm

James Franco, James Dean

Sir Michael Gambon, Path To War

Kenneth Branagh, Shackleton

Beau Bridges, We Were the Mulvaneys

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie

Vanessa Redgrave, The Gathering Storm

Angela Bassett, The Rosa Parks Story

Blythe Danner, We Were the Mulvaneys

Laura Linney, Wild Iris

Gena Rowlands, Wild Iris

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie

Jim Broadbent, The Gathering Storm

Michael Moriarty, James Dean

Alec Baldwin, Path To War

Don Cheadle, Things Behind the Sun

Jon Voight, Uprising

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie

Sissy Spacek, Last Call

Stockard Channing, The Matthew Shepard Story

Joan Allen, The Mists of Avalon

Anjelica Huston, The Mists of Avalon

Dame Diana Rigg, Victoria and Albert


Outstanding Guest Actor in aDrama Series

John Larroquette, The Practice

Charles S. Dutton, The Practice

Ron Silver, The West Wing

Tim Matheson, The West Wing

Mark Harmon, The West Wing

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series

Mary McDonnell, ER

Martha Plimpton, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

Patricia Clarkson, Six Feet Under

Lili Taylor, Six Feet Under

Illeana Douglas, Six Feet Under

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series

Adam Arkin, Frasier

Anthony LaPaglia, Frasier

Brian Cox, Frasier

Brad Pitt, Friends

Michael Douglas, Will & Grace

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series

Katherine Helmond, Everybody Loves Raymond

Susan Sarandon, Malcolm in the Middle

Cloris Leachman, Malcolm in the Middle

Frances Sternhagen, Sex and the City

Glenn Close, Will & Grace