Emmy picking begins

Friday, September 19, 2003

— Tony Shalhoub, clear shelf space for your Emmy.

I think you're going to win as best actor in a comedy series for your neurotic performance in "Monk." More importantly, psychic Linda Georgian sees you taking home the trophy Sunday.

"I certainly know Ray Romano makes $1.8 million an episode, and obviously he's hot and would probably be the other main contender. But I got Tony," Georgian said this week, peering into the future.

And why not consult a psychic on the Emmys?

Given the unpredictability of the awards, her picks are at least as likely to be right as those of any so-called TV expert.

Last year, I scored 60 percent in my major-category picks on the Goldderby.com awards handicapping Web site, behind front-runner Ken Tucker (70 percent) of Entertainment Weekly. Georgian claims a 90 percent success rate, and she doesn't bother watching much outside of Court TV.

Without anything riding on the outcome -- except my reputation as an Emmy maven -- here are the nominees and my picks for the 55th Annual Primetime Emmys, airing at 7 p.m. on Fox, along with Georgian's.

Drama series: Finally, "The Sopranos" and creator David Chase get what's coming to them. Voters will break with tradition and give the best drama trophy to a non-network series for the first time, acknowledging the show's daring and brilliance. The leaders, "Six Feet Under" and "The West Wing," faltered this season.

Georgian's prediction: "Six Feet Under."

Comedy series: The sour, petty and hilarious "Curb Your Enthusiasm" will become the second cable comedy (after "Sex and the City") to win the top prize. How can any of the standard yuk-yuk sitcoms compare? They can't. And neither can "Sex and the City," which still has its charms but not the belly laughs of "Curb."

Georgian's prediction: "Sex and the City."

Actor, drama series: Who's going to say no to Tony? James Gandolfini won the last two times he was nominated for playing mobster Tony Soprano (in 2000 and 2001) and he's going to be boss again. That's despite the fact his submitted episode, the season finale, wasn't his best. Martin Sheen, inexplicably overlooked every year, will miss out one more despite rising above a weak season.

Georgian's prediction: Michael Chiklis.

Actress, drama series: If there's a super-Emmy, Edie Falco should get it. Playing a woman pushed to the marital breaking point in "The Sopranos" finale, she was absolutely mesmerizing. Emmy voters adore Allison Janney, and this year she got an episode of her own in which she tended her ailing father. But Falco will not be denied.

Georgian's prediction: Frances Conroy.

Actor, comedy series: Tony Shalhoub is a delightful bundle of tics as "Monk," a brilliant private detective nearly undone by his obsessive-compulsive disorder. A sitcom veteran ("Wings") and a fine dramatic actor, Shalhoub has the advantage of an hourlong series that combines comedy and drama. But, really, would Ray Romano be up to the task?

Georgian's prediction: Shalhoub.

Actress, comedy series: This may be more of a should-happen than a will-happen: Jane Kaczmarek finally deserves an Emmy for her performance that matches "Malcolm in the Middle's" outlandish tone while keeping her character's humanity intact. She conveys wonderfully manic madness, and it's sheer madness not to reward her.

Georgian's prediction: Sarah Jessica Parker.