Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Collected Fiction of NBA

Organizers of the National Book Awards want to know the best fiction in their 60 years.

On Monday the finalists were announced:

Ralph Ellison's "Invisible Man" 

Thomas Pynchon's "Gravity's Rainbow"

"The Stories of John Cheever"

"Collected Stories" by William Faulkner

"The Complete Stories" by Flannery O'Connor

"The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty"

The American public may vote online up to October 21. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Wowza! That's Legen-

Wasn't he awesome?

Yesterday's Emmy ceremonies were amazing, and the tone was set wonderfully by Neil Patrick Harris singing "Put Down the Remote," composed by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman (Hairspray).

One of my favorite moments was when a team of three accountants walked to the stage to explain how the votes were tallied- only to be interrupted by Harris showing up as Dr. Horrible

Another one was a clip of Family Guy with re-recorded dialogue involving Brian the talking dog voting for How I Met Your Mother for best comedy series. Stewie the baby beats him up, only to say in the end, "Hey, suit up."

Just like the Oscars this year, the montages focused on genre highlights in the past year (e.g., the year in comedy, the year in drama, etc.), and the In Memoriam segment was set to a live musical performance. Sarah McLachlan sang- fittingly- "I Will Remember You."

The one segment I always tune in for is the presentation of the nominees for outstanding writing for variety, music, or comedy series. This year's standout was that of Conan O'Brien's, with him ignoring on Facebook friend requests from his writers.

In the drama category, the winners were:

series: Mad Men, AMC

lead actor: Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), AMC

lead actress: Glenn Close (Damages), FX

supporting actor: Michael Emerson (Lost), ABC

supporting actress: Cherry Jones (24), Fox

For comedy, the trophies went to:

series: 30 Rock, NBC.

lead actor: Alec Baldwin (30 Rock), NBC

lead actress: Toni Collette (United States of Tara), Showtime

supporting actor: Jon Cryer (Two and a Half Men), CBS

supporting actress: Kristin Chenoweth (Pushing Daisies), ABC

miniseries: Little Dorrit, PBS

made-for-TV movie: Grey Gardens, HBO

variety, music, or comedy series: The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, Comedy Central.

reality-competition program: The Amazing Race, CBS

Saturday, September 19, 2009

How I Handicap the Emmys

In the drama categories, here's who should win:

best series- Mad Men (AMC)

directing- Battlestar Galactica (Syfy)

writing- Mad Men (AMC)

lead actor- Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), but Gabriel Byrne (In Treatment) has a good chance, and Hugh Laurie (House) is overdue.

lead actress- Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer), but Glenn Close (Damages) is going to take it.

supporting actor- John Slattery (Mad Men), but Michael Emerson (Lost) should have won it two years ago.

supporting actress- Sandra Oh (Grey's Anatomy)

In the comedy categories, here's who will win:

best series- 30 Rock (NBC), but I'd like to see Entourage (HBO) take it this time.

directing- 30 Rock (NBC)

writing- 30 Rock (NBC) is the prohibitive favorite.

lead actor- Steve Carell (The Office), but I'd like Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords) get the trophy.

lead actress- Tina Fey (30 Rock), but I'd like to see Mary-Louise Parker (Weeds) this time.

supporting actor- Jon Cryer (Two and a Half Men), but it should be Rainn Wilson (The Office). Or Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother).

supporting actress- Amy Poehler (Saturday Night Live). Vanessa Williams should have won last year, but how about Elizabeth Perkins (Weeds) this year?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Quickening Race

Finalists in the Man Booker Prize were announced Tuesday. 

They are:

A.S. Byatt- for "The Children's Book"

J.M. Coetzee- for "Summertime"

Adam Foulds- for "The Quickening Maze"

Hilary Mantel- for "Wolf Hall"

Simon Mawer- for "The Glass Room"

Sarah Waters- for "The Little Stranger"

Byatt received the award for "Possession" in 1990. Coetzee has won the award twice previously, for "Life & Times of Michael K" (1983) and "Disgrace" (1999). If he wins again this year, he will be the first to win the Booker thrice. Reportedly, though, the favorite is Mantel. All the finalists are British, aside from Coetzee.

The chair of the judging panel this year is journalist James Naughtie. The winner will be known on October 6.

The prize comes with 50,000 pounds ($82,000). To be considered for the award, the writer must be from Britain, Ireland, or the Commonwealth of former British colonies. The awards started in 1969.

Friday, September 4, 2009