British directors Benjamin Ross and Stephen Frears, cross-dressing comedian Eddie Izzard and the BBC's acclaimed documentary series Walking With Dinosaurs are among the European talents and productions to pick up nominations for the 52nd primetime Emmy awards.
Ross received a best director nod in the miniseries or TV movie category for RKO 281, about the making of Orson Welles' classic Citizen Kane. Produced for HBO and BBC Films by Ridley and Tony Scott's Scott Free Productions, the film picked up a total of 13 nominations including those for best television movie. Melanie Griffith, Liev Schreiber, James Cromwell and John Malkovich were all nominated for their acting. Ross, who made his debut with Young Poisoner's Handbook, is next scheduled to direct Jack Sheppard And Jonathan Wild for FilmFour.
Ross find himself up against two other known filmmakers in the best director for a miniseries or movie category: Martha Coolidge (for HBO's Introducing Dorothy Dandridge), and Frears for Fail Safe, a remake of the Sidney Lumet 1964 Cold War classic that was aired as a live drama with a stellar cast that included Richard Dreyfuss, Harvey Keitel and George Clooney (who also produced). The Maysville Pictures production, which aired on CBS, picked up two other nods for camerawork and sound mixing
Walking With Dinosaurs, a co-production between the BBC, Discovery Channel and Japanese and German partners, picked up an impressive six nominations, ranging from best animated programme and best visual effects to picture editing, sound editing, sound mixing and music composition. The six-part series, a documentary format using digitally recreated dinosaurs, is one of the BBC's biggest ever productions with a budget of about £6.1m. Also receiving multiple nominations was another Discovery series about dinosaurs, Raising The Mammoth, which was made in association with France 3
Meanwhile David Copperfield, a co-production between the BBC and WGBH/Boston, was nominated for best actress in the mini-series or TV movie category for Maggie Smith's performance. UK actress Vanessa Redgrave was also nominated in this category for HBO's If These Walls Could Talk.
Another European co-production, Arabian Nights, produced by Germany's Babelsberg International Film Produktions and the US' Hallmark Entertainment, was nominated in the best miniseries category and also picked up nods for art direction, hairstyling, make-up and costumes. Competing in the same category is the CBS Biblical mini-series Jesus, which was in association with Italy's RAI and Lux Vides S.P.A.
Austrian actor Klaus Maria Brandauer received a best supporting actor nod for playing Otto Preminger in Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, which picked up a total of 11 nominations.
Leading the pack overall this year were two dramatic series. HBO's celebrated mobster saga The Sopranos and NBC's The West Wing, a behind-the-scenes look at the White House that stars Martin Sheen as the US President, each collected 18 nominations. RKO 281 came next with 13, followed by ABC's Annie with 12. This year's network bragging rights belonged to NBC, whose shows collected a total of 97 nominations. Pay-TV network HBO came in second with 86, followed by ABC with 64, CBS with 41 and Fox with 26.
Last year, The Sopranos also boasted a large haul of nominations but walked away largely empty handed except for honours in the acting categories. Critics attributed this disappointment to a voting process that seems skewed against shows seen as edgy or avant-garde. In response to this criticism, and in an effort to bolster ratings for September 10 Emmy Awards broadcast by having the winners better reflect audience sentiment, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences has changed the system for voting in the top categories. Instead of asking panels of voters to spend a weekend viewing tapes in a hotel, a process that tends to draw in an older generation of academy members, all prospective judges will be allowed to watch those shows on their own.
THE FULL LIST OF PRIMETIME EMMY NOMINATIONS:
OUTSTANDING MADE FOR TELEVISION MOVIE
Annie ' ABC
Storyline Entertainment, Chris Montan Productions, Columbia TriStar Television and Walt Disney Television. Craig Zadan, Neil Meron, Chris Montan, Marykay Powell, Executive Producers; John Whitman, Producer
If These Walls Could Talk 2 ' HBO
A Team Todd ProductionSuzanne Todd, Jennifer Todd, Ellen DeGeneres, Executive Producers; Mary Kane, Producer.
Introducing Dorothy Dandridge ' HBO
An Esparza/Katz Production in association with Berry/Cirrincione. Moctesuma Esparza, Robert Katz, Joshua D. Maurer, Halle Berry, Vincent Cirrincione, Executive Producers; Larry Y. Albucher, Producer
Oprah Winfrey Presents: Tuesdays With Morrie ' ABC
Harpo Films. Oprah Winfrey, Kate Forte, Executive Producers; Jennifer Ogden, Supervising Producer
RKO 281 ' HBO
A Scott Free Production. Ridley Scott, Tony Scott, Executive Producers; Diane Minter Lewis, Chris Zarpas, Co-Executive Producers; Su Armstrong, Producer
OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES
ER ' NBC
Constant c Productions/Amblin Television in association with Warner Bros. Television. Michael Crichton, John Wells, Lydia Woodward, Executive Producers; Neal Baer, Jack Orman, Co-Executive Producers; R. Scott Gemmill, Supervising Producer; Penny Adams, Patrick Harbinson, Jonathan Kaplan, Wendy Spence Rosato, Richard Thorpe, Producers
Law & Order ' NBC
Wolf Films in association with Studios USA Television. Dick Wolf, Ed Sherin, Executive Producers; Rene Balcer, Kathy McCormick, Jeffrey Hayes, Co-Executive Producers; Lewis H. Gould, Produced by; Billy Fox, Richard Sweren, Supervising Producers; Lynn Mamet, William N. Fordes, Producers
The Practice ' ABC
David E. Kelley Productions in association with 20th Century Fox. David E. Kelley, Executive Producer; Bob Breech, Co-Executive Producer; Gary M. Strangis, Pamela Wisne, Christina Musrey, Jeffrey Kramer, Producers
The Sopranos ' HBO
Chase Films/Brad Grey Television in association with HBO Original Programming. David Chase, Brad Grey, Robin Green, Mitchell Burgess, Executive Producers; Frank Renzulli, Co-Executive Producer; Ilene S. Landress, Martin Bruestle, Allen Coulter, Todd A. Kessler, Terence Winter, Producers
The West Wing ' NBC
John Wells Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television. Aaron Sorkin, Thomas Schlamme, John Wells, Executive Producers; Kristin Harms, Producer;
Arabian Nights ' ABC
Produced for Babelsberg International Film Produktion by Hallmark Ent., Inc. Robert Halmi, Sr., Dyson Lovell, Executive Producers; Howard Ellis, Supervising Producer; Nigel Wooll, Producer
The Beach Boys: An American Family ' ABC
Storyline Entertainment Productions in association with Columbia TriStar Television. Craig Zadan, Neil Meron, John Stamos, Executive Producers; Jeff Bleckner, Co-Executive Producer; John Whitman, Producer
The Corner ' HBO
Blown Deadline/Knee Deep Productions in association with Home Box Office. Robert F. Colesberry, David Mills, Davis Simon, Executive Producers; Nina Kostroff Noble, Producer