I’ll leave it to those more embedded in Emmy history to tell us whether Oscar winners landing a slew of nominations from the TV Academy is typical or not. But it was nevertheless striking to me how many Academy Award winners popped up on today’s nominations list.
At the top we have to mention Steven Soderbergh, who landed a nomination for directing HBO’s “Behind the Candelabra.” He was also cited for the TV movie’s cinematography and film editing under his pseudonyms Peter Andrews and Mary Ann Bernard respectively. Soderbergh picked up the Oscar for Best Director for the 2000 film “Traffic.”
Sticking with the Liberace biopic, one of the stars of “Traffic,” Michael Douglas, headed up “Candelabra” and unsurprisingly scored a nomination for his efforts. Co-star Matt Damon was nominated right alongside him in the Best Actor in a Miniseries or Movie category. Douglas won the Best Picture Oscar for 1975’s “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and Best Actor in 1987 for Oliver Stone’s “Wall Street,” while Matt Damon scored a Best Screenplay win as a baby in 1997 for “Good Will Hunting” (along with best bud and “Argo” Best Picture winner Ben Affleck).
A couple of other HBO movies/miniseries picked up some attention. First there’s David Mamet’s “Phil Spector.” The film’s two leads, Al Pacino and Helen Mirren, were each nominated for Emmys this morning. Pacino won the Best Actor Oscar in 1992 for “Scent of a Woman” (hoo-ahhhh!), while Mirren won Best Actress in 2006 for “The Queen.” And then there’s “Parade’s End,” which landed the great Tom Stoppard his first Emmy nod. Stoppard won the Best Original Screenplay Oscar alongside Marc Norman for 1998’s “Shakespeare in Love.”
Also in the HBO stable was Aaron Sorkin’s “The Newsroom.” The “Social Network” Oscar winning scribe was NOT nominated for an Emmy, but guest actress Jane Fonda was. Fonda is a two-time Best Actress Oscar winner, for 1971’s “Klute” and 1978’s “Coming Home.” Oh, and one more HBO player of note is Alex Gibney, nominated for writing and directing the documentary “Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God.” The film was sadly left off the nominees for Best Documentary at the Oscars last year, though Gibney won in that category for 2007’s “Taxi to the Dark Side,” however.
Moving away from HBO finally, Kevin Spacey is a two-time Oscar winner, for Best Supporting Actor (1995’s “The Usual Suspects”) and Best Actor (1999’s “American Beauty”). He was nominated for Best Actor in a Drama Series for his work in Netflix’s “House of Cards.” (You would think the show’s nominated director, David Fincher, could be mentioned in this space — alas, not an Oscar winner yet. He’ll get there one day.)
Jane Campion was a double nominee this morning for writing and directing the miniseries “Top of the Lake” (which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year). She won the Best Original Screenplay Oscar for 1993’s “The Piano.” Melissa Leo, meanwhile, was nominated for her work on FX’s “Louie” three years removed from her Best Supporting Actress Oscar win for “The Fighter,” while Ellen Burstyn was recognized for USA’s “Political Animals.” Burstyn won the Best Actress Oscar for 1974’s “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore.”
All of these folks join recent Emmy regulars Maggie Smith and Julian Fellowes of “Downton Abbey” and Jessica Lange of “American Horror Story.” Smith won a pair of acting Oscars for 1969’s “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie” and 1978’s “California Suite,” while Fellowes won Best Original Screenplay Oscar for 2001’s “Gosford Park” (which, coincidentally, landed Smith her most recent Oscar nomination). Lange, meanwhile, won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for 1982’s “Tootsie” and the Best Actress trophy for 1994’s “Blue Sky.”
I think that about covers it, though we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the Oscars themselves. The 85th annual Academy Awards telecast was nominated for nine Emmys this morning, including Outstanding Special Class Program.
UPDATE: A few more readers are reminding me of (I knew they’d show up) — Composer Alan Menken, who holds the record for most Oscars of anyone alive for his work on Disney animated films (eight) picked up a songwriting nomination for “The Neighbors,” while last year’s Best Original Score Oscar winner Mychael Danna (“Life of Pi”) landed a nod for the music of “World Without End.” Menken, by the way, will be in EGOT territory if he happens to win.
Elsewhere, Robert Redford, Best Director Oscar winner in 1980 for “Ordinary People,” was Emmy-nominated for the documentary/non-fiction special “All The President’s Men Revisited,” while Gwyneth Paltrow (Best Actress Oscar winner in 1998 for “Shakespeare in Love”) was nominated this morning as executive producer of the informational series “Stand Up to Cancer.” Danny Boyle, who won Best Director for “Slumdog Millionaire” in 2008, was nominated for the art direction of the 2012 Olympics, while Patrizia von Brandenstein (Best Costume Design winner for 1984’s “Amadeus”) was nominated for the art direction of “Phil Spector.”
The 65th annual Primetime Emmy Awards will be held on Sunday, September 22.