| ANGELS FLY HIGHEST IN AMERICA WITH 21 EMMY NOMINATIONS
| Angels hit the heights as expected in this year's Emmys, but there were plenty of surprises in nominations for the 56th annual Emmy Awards unveiled Thursday.
Heavily favored HBO miniseries Angels in America topped the list. Its 21 nominations include nods for eight actors in the ensemble cast.
But a halo also shone over Joan of Arcadia: The freshman drama won three nominations, including best drama and best actress, for star Amber Tamblyn.
And Arrested Development, a critical favourite that has struggled to find an audience in its first year, earned seven nominations, including best comedy series, best supporting actor (Jeffrey Tambor) and best writing. In the process, Arrested edged Friends out of its final best-series competition.
Among dramas, Joan will compete with repeat nominees CSI, The Sopranos, 24 and The West Wing, which has won the past five consecutive Emmys.
For best comedy, Arrested faces Curb Your Enthusiasm, Everybody Loves Raymond, Sex and the City and Will & Grace, all nominated last year.
Aside from Angels, top vote-getters included The Sopranos, with 20 nominations; The West Wing, with 12; and Sexand the City and new Western drama Deadwood, with 11 apiece. But largely overlooked were praised newcomer Nip/Tuck and the acclaimed The Wire.
Other surprises: Nominations for comedy actress Bonnie Hunt, star of canceled Life With Bonnie; the late John Ritter, a comedy-actor nod for 8 Simple Rules (he won in 1984 for Three's Company); drama actor James Spader, his first, for The Practice; and Mariska Hargitay, a first-time honor in the drama-actress category for Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
Which surprise Emmy nominee would you like to see win this year?
Steve Buscemi, 'The Sopranos'
Brad Dourif, 'Deadwood'
Bonnie Hunt, 'Life with Bonnie'
Amber Tamblyn, 'Joan of Arcadia'
Jeffrey Tambor, 'Arrested Development'
John Ritter, '8 Simple Rules'
James Spader, 'The Practice'
Hargitay and Tamblyn will compete with Alias' Jennifer Garner and three-time winners Edie Falco (The Sopranos) and Allison Janney (The West Wing). Spader will face perennial nominees Kiefer Sutherland (24), Martin Sheen (The West Wing) and three-time winner James Gandolfini (The Sopranos), along with Anthony LaPaglia, nominated for his lead role in Without a Trace and as a guest on Frasier.
Jennifer Aniston and Matt LeBlanc (who stars in upcoming spinoff Joey) were the only two among Friends' six actors to win nominations.
But all four stars of another departed series, Sex and the City, won kudos, Sarah Jessica Parker in the lead-actress category and co-stars Cynthia Nixon, Kim Cattrall and first-timer Kristin Davis in supporting actress.
In movies and miniseries, the controversial The Reagans, which CBS punted to Showtime, won three major bids, for lead actors James Brolin and Judy Davis and as best movie.
Among networks, HBO topped the list with a record 124 nominations, up from 109 last year, followed by NBC (65), CBS (44), ABC (33), Fox (31) and PBS (27). Emmys will be awarded Sept. 19 on ABC, with host Garry Shandling.
|"Oh no please dahlings, no adulation... I only do it for the art"