x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

The full Neil deal: what to expect from Emmys 2013

The Emmys 2013 promise a return to sparkling form as the omni-talented host Neil Patrick Harris brings pure magic to the hosting podium for television’s annual kudos fest.

Nikki Hahn and Lily Rabe in American Horror Story: Asylum, the show with the most Emmy nominations of 2013. Byron Cohen / FX
Nikki Hahn and Lily Rabe in American Horror Story: Asylum, the show with the most Emmy nominations of 2013. Byron Cohen / FX

Even if your formal invite embarrassingly got lost in the mail, you won’t want to miss the 65th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, as TV’s finest gather to cop angel-winged statuettes. Coming at you live from the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, this year’s red carpet and presenters’ list includes Heisenberg himself, Bryan Cranston – already a triple Emmy winner for Breaking Bad and cooking for a fourth – along with fan favourites such as Will Arnett, Alec Baldwin, Claire Danes, Sofia Vergara, Matt Damon and Michael Douglas.

Horror, dragons & Liberace

While predicting winners is a mug’s game, do keep an eye on American Horror Story: Asylum, which leads the 2013 pack with 17 nominations. Nipping at its para­normal heels is Game of Thrones with 16, while Saturday Night Live and the HBO made-for-TV movie, Behind the Candelabra, are also in the race with 15 nods apiece. The renowned ivory tickler Elton John will channel his own inner candelabra to perform a tribute to Liberace during the show.

No Harold & Kumar

… but we’re over the moon with the choice of host and presenter Neil Patrick Harris, the comic genius who stole every one of his scenes in this trilogy of comedy flicks – from White Castle to Guantanamo Bay to a 3D Christmas – and as Barney, the serial-playboy star of How I Met Your Mother. With his Broadway chops, love of magic and former child-star survival instincts (Doogie Howser, MD), this writer-director-producer is back for his second tour of duty. On his first outing in 2009, Harris rocked the show’s opening with a song-and-dance number, Put Down That Remote, that brought down the house. He’s no stranger to hosting; indeed, he also has four Tony telecasts under his belt.

No reheated leftovers

But Harris isn’t one to cannibalise his past victories – so don’t expect a rehash of 2009.

“Having just done the Tonys, I really want to make sure that I’m not just repeating myself like a broken record,” he recently told Entertainment Weekly. “It’s a whole different medium – theatre is live and a little more razzmatazz. The Emmys are honouring things on the small screen, so you can be a little broader in your scope and break the rules a little bit more. We’re going to do some things that haven’t been done before.”

Presenter pairings

The first-time Emmy nominee Kerry Washington (Scandal), the first ­African-American woman since 1995 to be nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, will team up with the iconic, four-time Emmy nominee Diahann Carroll (White Collar). The Fox stars and sisters Zooey (New Girl) and Emily Deschanel (Bones) and new CBS co-stars Allison Janney and Anna Faris (both of Mom) will also present.

The digital revolution

Coming into its own this year is online streaming video – the thin edge of a cultural wedge – with 14 nods for three original Netflix offerings: House of Cards, Arrested Development and Hemlock. In addition to its nomination for top drama series, House of Cards has its leads Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright on deck for the top drama acting awards.

Winter is coming

… so will someone please give more Emmys to Game of Thrones? The previous supporting-actor Emmy winner Peter Dinklage could repeat – and the “Mother of Dragons” Emilia Clarke has scored her first nod for supporting actress. As well, the one-time Avengers’ icon Diana Rigg easily deserves her nod for guest actress for her blunt and flinty turn as the family matriarch, Olenna Tyrell.

The bottom line

“I want it to be classy and smart,” says Harris. “If I can make the three-hour show feel even like it’s two-and-a-half hours long, then I’ve done my job.

“I’m just hoping to keep the ­energy, the mood in the room, light and celebratory.”

• The 65th Primetime Emmy Awards will be broadcast live at 4am and 8pm on Monday (Sept 23) on OSN First HD