The Hollywood Foreign Press Assn.'s January award show has always been considered -- rightly or wrongly -- as a harbinger for the Oscars. But now these journalists from such cultural hotbeds as Serbia, Bangladesh and Norway are developing something of a track record for picking Emmy nominees.
In January, the group awarded its golden statuettes to new TV stars Steve Carell ("The Office"), Geena Davis ("Commander in Chief") and Sandra Oh ("Grey's Anatomy"); all were nominated for top Emmy Awards. The group also championed Hugh Laurie, whose show "House" was fully recognized by the Emmy voters, even if his individual contributions were ignored.
They did miss the mark on a few shows, however: In the category of lead actress in a comedy, they nominated the "Desperate Housewives" and Mary-Louise Parker for "Weeds" -- all women who were shut out of this year's Emmy race. They also bestowed honors on "Lost" and "Desperate Housewives," shows that were largely overlooked Thursday.
Not about to be shoved into a closet
The long arm of megastar Tom Cruise does not extend to Emmy voters, who nominated the "Trapped in the Closet" episode of Comedy Central's "South Park" for outstanding animated program, for programs less than one hour.
The episode takes a big satirical swipe at the Church of Scientology, of which Cruise is a devotee.
The "Trapped in the Closet" installment, which first aired last November, sparked a firestorm when Comedy Central yanked a scheduled March repeat, allegedly because Cruise threatened to halt his promotional activities for Paramount's "Mission: Impossible III." (Both Comedy Central and Paramount are owned by Viacom Inc.)
Cruise later denied that he made any such threat, adding that he was not even aware of the episode.
More applause for school musical
TV academy members have joined kids all over America singing "Breaking Free" from the music-TV phenom "High School Musical," the $5-million Disney Channel movie that has drawn record ratings for the cable channel and sparked a hit album. The TV movie, about two high school students bucking the social hierarchy to try out for the school's winter production, nabbed six nominations, including outstanding children's program, choreography, music and lyrics.
Nominations are a family affair
Two families -- the Sheens and the Sutherlands -- had lots to celebrate Thursday: Charlie Sheen earned a nomination for lead actor in a comedy for "Two and a Half Men," while father, Martin Sheen, got a lead actor in a drama nod for playing President Bartlet on "The West Wing." Kiefer Sutherland was nominated for lead actor in a drama for "24," while dad Donald was recognized for his work on the miniseries "Human Trafficking."
Sept. 11's Flight 93 earns admiration
Two of the made for TV movie nominees focused on the passengers aboard Flight 93 who seized control of the highjacked plane back from terrorists: A&E's "Flight 93" and Discovery's "The Flight That Fought Back."
Greg Braxton, Susan King and Rachel Abramowitz contributed to this report.