‘Normal Heart,’ ‘Modern Family’ and Jim Parsons win Emmy Awards

916137691In what could have been a night for firsts, the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards last night stuck with the predictable.

The night was still a great night for LGBT characters, stars and media, however. Houston native Jim Parsons, who plays Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory, the ABC comedy Modern Family and HBO’s adaptation of The Normal Heart all won Emmys in their respective categories. The latter was produced by Ryan Murphy, the out gay director who also produced nominees American Horror Story and Glee.

Among notable nominees in other categories were AHS‘s Sarah Paulson; Orange is the New Black‘s Laverne Cox, who was the first transperson to ever be nominated for an Emmy; Nathan Lane, for a guest appearance on Modern Family; and Kevin Spacey for his performance as a ruthless congressman in House of Cards. (While Spacey isn’t out, he frequently dodges questions about his sexuality.)

You can see a full list of the winners here.

 

—  James Russell

More gays at the Emmys!

The Hofstadter InsufficiencyLast week, I pointed out some gay honorees and content at the creative arts portion of the 65th annual Emmy Awards, and last night, the big guns turned out … and once again, there was gay aplenty.

Chief among them: Out actor Jim Parsons, pictured, took home his third Emmy for lead actor in a comedy series as the repressed genius Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory. Modern Family once again took best comedy series (its fourth consecutive win), though out nominee Jesse Tyler Ferguson was again a bridesmaid as supporting actor. Modern Family also won for comedy direction, while 30 Rock won for comedy writing.

The gay-friendly Colbert Report finally beat The Daily Show‘s 10-year streak for best variety series, as well as for writing. Gay TV producer Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story: Asylum won for best supporting actor in a miniseries for James Cromwell. In fact, miniseries is where we really got our gay on, with Behind the Candelabra, the biopic about Liberace, winning for best actor (Michael Douglas, who offered to share it with fellow nominee Matt Damon — offering him “top or bottom”), best director (Steven Soderbergh) and best miniseries/TV movie.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Gays at the creative arts Emmy Awards

HeidiTimWhile we were all getting our Pride on Sunday, in Hollywood, the gays were dressed up (sans Speedos) to attend the creative arts Emmy Awards ceremony — the precursor to next Sunday’s primetime ceremony. And if these awards (for design, casting, guest actors and such) are any indication, the gays have some mo(mentum) headed into the big game.

Among the big winners were Project Runway‘s Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn (co-winners for best reality show host) and Behind the Candelabra, the HBO film about Liberace, which won a staggering eight awards (casting, costumes, art direction, hairstyling, editing, sound mixing, prosthetic makeup and non-prosthetic makeup). It’s still up for six more next week, including two for best actor, best miniseries/movie and best director.

Other gay interest winners: Gay actor Dan Buchatinsky, who won best best actor in a drama for Scandal; American Horror Story: Asylum (for sound editing); Lily Tomlin’s narration of An Apology to Elephants (for best voice-over performance); and “IF I Had Time,” Neil Patrick Harris’ closing song at the 2012 Tony Awards (for best song).

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Niles no more

David Hyde Pierce knows what it means to be a ‘Perfect Host’

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor
jones@dallasvoice.com

On television and onstage, David Hyde Pierce has enjoyed the rare perk of being a character actor who gets leading-man attention — and money. By the time he ended his 11-year run on the acclaimed sitcom Frasier, Pierce had become the highest-paid series regular not to headline a series in TV history. (Four Emmy Awards will do that for you.) In 2007, he added stage superstardom to the resume when he won the Tony Award for best actor in a musical (against tough competition) playing a sad-sack cop in Curtains. (That followed a hit run as one of the leads in Spamalot.)

On film, though, Pierce has always been the second banana, often giving memorable supporting in movies like Wolf or voicing animated characters in A Bug’s Life and others, but never being asked to carry them.
Not anymore. Pierce finally gets above-the-title billing — but keeps his character-actor cred — in the indie comedy-thriller The Perfect Host.

“These opportunities don’t come around a lot except for the Tom Cruises of the world,” Pierce admits. “When they first showed me the poster, I saw my name big and my picture all over it. I realized that’s what it means to be the star of the movie.”

Of course, Pierce knows the box office expectations aren’t as high for his film as its opening-weekend competition, Transformers 3. The Perfect Host, which got its local premiere in April at the USA Film Festival but opens in some cities for a commercial run this week (it was screened earlier this week at the Texas Theatre as well), is a quirky and enjoyable romp full of twists — so many, in fact, it’s difficult to talk about without spoiling some of the surprises.

On the surface, it’s about a career criminal named James (Clayne Crawford) who talks his way into the home of a sophisticated but meek suburbanite named Warwick (Pierce). James plans to kill Warwick, but then the tables are turned on him, as the evening spins out in ways that recall such thrillers as Misery, Rear Window, Psycho and A Clockwork Orange.

Only not. And with more humor. Well, you gotta see it to get it.

“It’s a movie where what seems to be is continually not,” agrees Pierce, trying not to give away any secrets. “People who seem benign are not and those you think are dangerous maybe aren’t. At Sundance, many people said seeing it a second time is a lot of fun, knowing what’s real and what’s not.”

“The most influential film was Joseph Losey’s The Servant, but also Polanski’s early work — Cul-de-Sac, Compulsion,” says first-time feature director and co-writer Nick Tomnay. “Warwick is doing [this] to satisfy his fetish. He’s actually quite a happy guy — he’s not conflicted about it. But the last note of the film is very dark.”

For Pierce, it was an opportunity to stretch but without veering too far from his screen persona. Warwick is as fastidious as Niles Crane but has a kooky side Niles never did. It’s a transition that he embraced.

“Especially when you’re seen on a TV show, you can’t pretend the past didn’t happen,” he says. But Warwick allows Pierce to be both the “perfect host” of the title and act out deep, id-like compulsions. And it also gave Pierce the chance to do something he rarely has done in public: Disco dance.

“I got a friend of mine who was a dancing coach to choreograph that,” Pierce says. “That was great to do.”

Theater remains a passion for Pierce, though; in addition to his performances in Curtains and Spamalot, he was in New York seeing La Cage aux Folles — once with his former co-star, Kelsey Grammer (whose performance he raved over), and once with the replacement cast of Chris Seiber in Grammer’s role and Harvey Fierstein as his drag-queen boyfriend.

“Harvey was great,” he says. “There’s an added layer because of course Harvey has lived it in a way.”

Pierce, who is gay and lives with his long-time partner in California, has been very active in recent years coming out in support of same-sex marriage. But he’s not definitive about Warwick’s sexuality.

“I think Warwick would be up for anything,” he says with a wink.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 1, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Gay Dallas’ connection to the Emmy Awards: ‘Temple Grandin’ and Caven’s Rick Espaillat

Rick Espaillat of Dallas, right, appeared in the Emmy-winning HBO movie “Temple Grandin,” in which Claire Danes, center, portrayed autistic animal scientist Temple Grandin, left.

The HBO movie “Temple Grandin” — about the autistic woman noted not just for her advocacy on behalf of those with autism, but also for her work as an animal scientist — hit it big Sunday night at The Emmy Awards, taking home five awards.

Claire Danes won the trophy for “Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie.” The movie won for “Outstanding Made For TV Movie.” Mick Jackson won for “Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special.” Alex Wurman won for “Outstanding Music Composition for a Miniseries, Movie or Special: Original Dramatic Score.” And Leo Trombetta won for “Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Miniseries or Movie.”

But why should we care? I mean, what was so “gay” about “Temple Grandin” that an LGBT newspaper should take notice (aside from the fabulous black-and-red “rancher outfit” that Grandin herself wore to the Emmys)?

The answer is simple: Rick Espaillat.

Espaillat, the media/public relations manager for Caven Enterprises, has also made a name for himself on stages around Dallas, especially in productions with Uptown Players. He has performed in Uptown productions of “The History Boys,” “Southern Baptist Sissies,” “The Life” and “Equus.” And he has been in commercials for AT&T and Hasbro.

Check out his listing on IMDB, and you’ll find that he has also had roles in “A Thousand Cocktails Later,” “Karma Police,” “Midlothia” and “Love Machine.”

But “Temple Grandin” is the big news right now, and Rick played “the French lecturer” in that one. And even though he didn’t get to stand up on the Emmy stage and get a trophy, I think he deserves recognition for contributing to what was obviously one of the best movies on television this past year. So cheers Rick: Here’s to you.

—  admin

Could the Emmys have been any gayer?

Jane Lynch

The first half hour of the Emmy Awards on Sunday night were gay. Gay. Gay. Gay. And lesbian.

Ryan Murphy, winner of best director of a comedy, kissed his boyfriend before running up on stage to accept his award.

Jane Lynch, who won best supporting actress in a comedy, kissed her wife and then thanked her on stage.

The controversy about ABC’s gay-friendly comedy “Modern Family” has been when will Cam and Mitchell kiss? They answered that question last night. Erik Stonestreet won best supporting actor in a comedy. He kissed his wife and then kissed his TV husband, Jesse Tyler Ferguson.

Neil Patrick Harris won best guest appearance in a comedy by an actor. Golden Girl Betty White won best guest appearance by an actress. Harris thanked the Academy for allowing a gay man to host the show two years in a row. (Harris, who hosted last year, is gay. No one would be surprised if Jimmy Fallon, who hosted this year, came out.)

The show straightened up after the first awards, with a few more gay Emmys through the night. Aaron Paul, who won best supporting actor in a drama for his role in “Breaking Bad,” kissed his partner. The writers for the Tony Awards won best writing for a special and “Modern Family” won best comedy.

—  David Taffet