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`Boston' BFFs make the cut once again

Passed over last year, Shatner and Spader get nods, as does the series. Still, new faces abound.

July 20, 2007|Maria Elena Fernandez | Times Staff Writer

ALAN SHORE and Denny Crane have always loved each other. But Thursday the academy showed the legal eagles and BFFs on "Boston Legal," played by James Spader and William Shatner, respectively, that they love them too.

"Boston Legal," which begins its fourth season this fall on ABC, received six nominations, including its first for outstanding drama series. Spader earned his third nomination in the leading actor category, an honor he has won twice. And Shatner was nominated for the fourth time for his supporting role. (He's won twice.)

"They form quite the couple," series creator David E. Kelley said of the Spader-Shatner chemistry. "They've been great for us, both in front of the camera and off. I think there's something nostalgic that plays on an unconscious level because those balcony scenes do seem to be everybody's favorite part of the show. We all wish we could have five minutes to take out of our day and talk to a close friend."

The show, which also received nominations for director Bill D'Elia and for outstanding sound mixing, is known for taking on societal issues in a funny way. Guest actor Christian Clemenson also received a nomination. Accordingly, Kelley said he was most taken aback by the nod for best series.

"We consider there's a town crier component to it and certain issues are integral to every episode, but we try not to be too heavy-handed and creep up on them under the guise of entertainment," Kelley said. "We make it a point not to preach until we get to Alan Shore's closing argument, and then he preaches and preaches and preaches."

Spader and Shatner were not the only actors who rebounded after being overlooked last year. Hugh Laurie of Fox's "House" and Patricia Arquette of NBC's "Medium" both made a return to the leading actor categories.

But this year, several actors became first-time nominees -- among them, Minnie Driver of FX's "The Riches"; Ricky Gervais of HBO's "Extras"; Rainn Wilson and Jenna Fischer of NBC's "The Office"; Kevin Dillon of HBO's "Entourage"; T.R. Knight and Katherine Heigl of ABC's "Grey's Anatomy"; and Neil Patrick Harris of CBS' "How I Met Your Mother."

"This is AWESOME," Harris said Thursday morning, in the guise of his mischievous phrase-catching character for a moment. "I feel like I've been doused with Tabasco and I'm hot saucesome."

Then in Harris mode: "OK, I'll stop. This is so crazy. A CBS car whisked me away to talk about this today. It's like a scandal. I feel like [David] Beckham."

Harris said he submitted an episode in which his character Barney goes on "The Price Is Right" because he thinks Bob Barker is his father "because for no other reason, people can now see that I hang out with Bob Barker."

To quote Barney: "Nice!"


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