Saturday's Creative Arts ceremony, a precurser to Sunday's Primetime Emmys, can offer clues to who the big winners might be.
What to expect at this year's Emmys
Let's confess: people are watching TV's annual kudos fest, the 64th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, for the star power. The higher the celebrity wattage, the better the buzz. This year's red carpet and presenters' podium will crackle with the likes of Claire Danes, Tina Fey, Zooey Deschanel, Emily Van Camp, Ricky Gervais and Amy Poehler, to name a few. But how much you time you get to coo and fuss over them will all depend on…
Kimmel in your face
The talk-show innovator Craig Ferguson could make a one-bite snack of this year's host, Jimmy Kimmel. Folks like him but he's way too middle-of-the-road and safe - kind of like corn starch when we'd prefer cayenne pepper.
For better or for worse, depending on your talk-show politics, be prepared to see lots of Kimmel. "I want it to be jazzy from beginning to end," Kimmel told a press conference in Los Angeles. "I don't have a ton of control over how things go, but what I do know is I'd like to be part of the show throughout."
Translation: he hates shows where the host disappears for long stretches, and likes to "comment on things as they're happening... Hopefully I'll be able to insert myself in the entirety of the broadcast".
Harbinger of kudos to come?
Some of Emmy's chrome candy has already been handed out. On Saturday, the Creative Arts ceremony - a precursor to Sunday's Primetime Emmys - recognised a few acting categories as well as technical and artistic achievements. So far, in a no-brainer, the leading network is HBO (17 awards), trailed by CBS (13). George RR Martin fans will be tap-dancing on their broadswords to hear that the early front-runner is HBO's Game of Thrones, with six awards so far for categories including make-up, visual effects and costumes. Other winning notables so far include Saturday Night Live (four awards) and Boardwalk Empire (three). Can Game of Thrones behead and hoist its drama-category competitors Mad Men and Breaking Bad to win the best series Emmy? Not if the three-time-consecutive acting Emmy-winner Bryan Cranston, who portrays the ominous meth dealer Walt on Breaking Bad, has anything to say about it.
Isn't it ironic, don't you think?
Charlie Sheen must be irritated. Eight seasons and four nominations as the irrepressible playboy Charlie Harper on Two and a Half Men never spun him into Emmy's "winning" circle. Then along comes Kathy Bates in a single guest spot as his cigar-puffing ghost, and scores TV's most-coveted statuette (at the above-mentioned Creative Arts night).
"My thanks and respect to the inimitable Charlie Sheen, without whom this recognition simply would not have been possible," the classy Bates put on Twitter. We can't help but concur with the Los Angeles Times: "Charlie Harper is worth more dead than alive - at least to Emmy voters."
It's all arithmetic
The three-hour broadcast includes 26 awards presentations. That leaves barely 22 minutes for Kimmel, the memorial tribute and other scripted pieces. It's going to be one lickety-split night, with rude waves of orchestra music swelling up to shut up any long-winded honorees. "We want to keep the show paced really quickly and keep it funny," says Don Mischer, the show's producer.
Little big man
But it will all be worth it if last year's Best Supporting Actor Emmy winner and Rolling Stone cover stud, Game of Thrones's Peter Dinklage (whose cunning as Tyrion Lannister rocked the HDTV this past year) can once again dwarf the competition.
The 64th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards will air live in the UAE Mondayat 4am, and repeat at 8pm, on OSN First and OSN First HD. Red-carpetfans can turn to E! Entertainment for Countdown to the Red Carpet at1am and Live from the Red Carpet at 2am. See OSN's online listings for moretimes. For more Emmy information, visit www.emmys.tv