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Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
The Emmys had some unexpected winners and rocky moments, but it was mostly fun to watch.
By ERIC DEGGANS, Times TV-Media Critic
Published September 17, 2007
Emmy threw us a curve.
Not only did the award show hand Sally Field a win for best dramatic actress over more favored contenders such as Sopranos co-star Edie Falco at Sunday night's ceremony, but when Field tried to make a passionate speech that included a profanity, the Fox network quickly cut away from her statements, leaving the audience to wonder what she said that could have deserved to be excised from the show.
It was an unfortunate speed bump for an Emmy show so entertaining, even acerbic Daily Show host Jon Stewart had to give it props. Somehow, the show managed to be entertaining - if not particularly understandable - usually at the right times.
And it happened mostly for one reason: a minimum of appearances from host Ryan Seacrest.
Indeed, Seacrest found a novel strategy for coping with the fact that he couldn't sing, dance or do standup comedy when it came time to host the show. He got other people to do it for him.
There was an opening song and dance number featuring two animated characters from the Fox comedy Family Guy. (Funniest line, while looking at the cast of Desperate Housewives: "Those women look sensational for being 65.") And then there were the two minutes of standup Ray Romano delivered before announcing the supporting actor in a comedy award. (Funniest line: "Hey guys, if your wife ever complains you're not home enough, stay home for two years.")
Seacrest did find time to take shots at his American Idol co-stars, announcing that Idol judge Simon Cowell was among those who thought he couldn't host and turning to famously discombobulated judge Paula Abdul to suggest she might enjoy the cast party at Showtime's marijuana-centered comedy Weeds (the clueless look on Abdul's face when the spotlight found her was almost worth the price of admission).
The worst thing about Sunday's Emmys were most of the awards. Besides Field's win, another "Huh?" moment came when Boston Legal star James Spader beat Sopranos star James Gandolfini for best dramatic actor.
"I feel like I just stole a pile of money from the Mob," said Spader. "And they're all sitting behind me."
One predicted winner, Ugly Betty's America Fererra, took home the award for best actress in a comedy. And early winners seemed a bit predictable, with Entourage's Jeremy Piven taking home his second Emmy as a supporting comedy actor, while twice-nominated actors Terry O'Quinn and Jaime Pressley won for supporting roles in drama and comedy for Lost and My Name is Earl, respectively.
AMC's Broken Trail and PBS's Prime Suspect: The Final Act divvied up the awards for miniseries or movie, with Trail star Robert Duvall honored as best actor and Suspect star Helen Mirren chosen as best actress.
"I'm going to keep talking until that very dramatic music comes in," gushed Mirren, poking fun at the way other winners were encouraged to leave the stage with orchestral music. Because the show loaded the biggest awards toward the end of the broadcast, many results were not available by press time.
Still, this was a rare Emmycast that brought out-loud laughs several times. Intentionally.
Comic Lewis Black almost burst a blood vessel telling TV executives to stop with the annoying coming-attractions graphics in the middle of TV shows: "Here's a message from viewers: We don't care about the next show," he bellowed. "We're watching THIS show."
And whoever came up with the idea of having Rainn Wilson of The Office and Kanye West face off in a Don't Forget the Lyrics competition on the songs of Kanye West - which West lost - deserved their own special Emmy.
Seacrest made occasional appearances to drop a few bons mots - asking Sopranos star Tony Sirico to "stop shanking the seat fillers" and prancing onstage in a Henry VIII costume that he said "looked a lot less gay on the rack." Fortunately, he left most of the funny to presenters such as Ellen DeGeneres, Stephen Colbert and Romano, who also got the same treatment as Field when he dropped a curse word in his comedy routine.
Three wins for Tony Bennett in the variety/music categories show that Emmy voters can still skew old. (They gave one to Barry Manilow last year.) Still watching Bennett's manager and son Danny pay tribute was touching, even if seeing the 80-year-old's 47-year-old wife was a little jarring.
A few things were particularly odd: Why did they bring on the entire cast of The Sopranos about halfway through - with about 30 people onstage, it seemed like anyone who had ever had a speaking role was in the spotlight - to wave at the crowd before a commercial?
But the biggest question remaining Sunday: Why can't Emmy present a show that's entertaining and honors the people who seem to deserve it?
Winners in the major categories at Sunday's Primetime Emmy Awards. For a complete list of winners, go to www.emmys.tv:
Best drama series: The Sopranos.
Best comedy series: 30 Rock.
Best comedy actor: Ricky Gervais, Extras.
Best comedy actress: America Ferrera, Ugly Betty.
Best comedy supporting actor: Jeremy Piven, Entourage.
Best comedy supporting actress: Jaime Pressly, My Name Is Earl.
Best drama actor: James Spader, Boston Legal.
Best drama actress: Sally Field, Brothers & Sisters.
Best drama supporting actor: Terry O'Quinn, Lost.
Best drama supporting actress: Katherine Heigl, Grey's Anatomy.
Best variety, music or comedy series: The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.
Best individual performance in a variety or music program: Tony Bennett, Tony Bennett: An American Classic.
Best reality-competition program: The Amazing Race.
Best made for TV movie: Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee.