Golden Globe choices leave room for surprises

  • By Victor Balta / Herald Columnist
  • Wednesday, January 12, 2005 9:00pm
  • LifeGo-See-Do

Y ou’ve got to hand it to those foreigners.

They really seem to know when to do away with the norm and try something different.

The Golden Globes, dished out each January by the Hollywood Foreign Press, are the ones we can generally rely upon to take chances. The ceremony will air at 8 p.m. Sunday on KING-5.

The Globes still make an occasional slip.

Some voters, for example, may have accidentally mailed in last year’s ballot when nominating Matt LeBlanc in the best actor in a comedy category for “Joey.”

The dreadful “Friends” spinoff fulfilled offseason expectations this year about as well as my beloved Seattle Seahawks.

I’m still hoping Ashton Kutcher will jump in LeBlanc’s face Sunday evening and tell him he’s been punked.

But while the Emmys usually leave me feeling punked – stuck with the same old nominees and winners year after year – I generally struggle to pick a favorite among the Golden Globes’ choices.

A quartet of LeBlanc’s, uh, peers in the comedy actor category is a perfect example.

With the exception of Charlie Sheen (“Two and a Half Men”), the other nominees – Jason Bateman of “Arrested Development,” Zach Braff of “Scrubs,” Larry David of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and Tony Shaloub of “Monk” – represent my favorite comedy actors on my favorite shows.

But this should be the year for Braff to make the breakout complete. Fans of “Scrubs” have known about this guy for a few years now.

This year, in addition to another fine season as Dr. John Dorian on the NBC sitcom, Braff wrote, directed and compiled the soundtrack for the simply perfect movie, “Garden State,” which unfortunately was snubbed by the Globes.

Best actress in a comedy: Another category that is a toss-up pits three “Desperate Housewives” – Marcia Cross, Teri Hatcher and Felicity Huffman – against each other and Sarah Jessica Parker of “Sex and the City” and Debra Messing of “Will &Grace.”

The answer to the controversial question of why Eva Longoria, the fourth housewife, wasn’t nominated is pretty simple: She isn’t very good.

Of the whole bunch, Cross best balances subtlety and caricature as Bree Van De Camp on “Housewives.”

Best drama: ABC’s “Lost” and HBO’s “Deadwood” are the trendy choices here, and “Lost” should prevail. Other nominees are “Nip/Tuck,” “The Sopranos” and “24.”

A totally original idea, albeit a little far-fetched, “Lost” has fans hooked and is one of a handful of shows responsible for ABC’s recent extreme makeover.

Best comedy: “Scrubs” should easily take the place of “Will &Grace” in this category, but every other choice here has merit.

Fox’s “Arrested Development,” ABC’s “Desperate Housewives,” and HBO’s “Entourage” and “Sex and the City” all had fantastic years. While “Housewives” is tremendously hyped, it lives up to it and could take the Golden Globe home to Wisteria Lane.

Best actor in a drama: Denis Leary on F/X’s “Rescue Me” puts in a remarkable performance as firefighter Tommy Gavin. In a show that manages to wade through the wreckage of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in an honest and intelligent way, Leary is the ultimate cornerstone.

Other nominees are Michael Chiklis (“The Shield”), Julian McMahon (“Nip/Tuck”), Ian McShane (“Deadwood”) and James Spader (“Boston Legal”).

Best actress in a drama: Edie Falco of “The Sopranos” deserves to rise again. Other nominees are Jennifer Garner of “Alias,” Mariska Hargitay of “Law &Order: Special Victims Unit,” Christine Lahti of “Jack &Bobby” and Joely Richardson of “Nip/Tuck.”

And while I promised myself I would lay off the supporting categories, I must give a nod to Jeremy Piven of “Entourage” and Oliver Platt of Showtime’s “Huff.”

Coming from two of the best new shows on cable, these guys have nailed their characters so well they leave me just waiting for the next time they’ll be on the screen.

Either way, I’ll be happy.

Columnist Victor Balta: 425-339-3455 or vbalta@heraldnet.com.

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