Fresh faces may enliven Emmys

Wed May 26, 2010 1:47am EDT
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By Randee Dawn

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Eric Stonestreet had a novel idea for his "Modern Family" audition.

The pilot script merely described the character Cameron as the more "passionate" and "expressive" of the show's gay couple. So a few nights before the audition, Stonestreet, who is not gay but prides himself on his ability to mimic almost anyone, decided he would do an impression of his mother.

"I wanted there to be a maternal quality to Cameron," he recalls. "That, coupled with how I look physically -- I'm tall and pretty big -- using a soft voice and dainty hands, that contrast would be funny."

Stonestreet was right, and ABC's "Modern Family" cast is poised to join a surprisingly large field of potential first-time acting nominees at this year's Primetime Emmy Awards.

Sure, the August 29 Emmy telecast will likely include perennial nominees like Bryan Cranston (AMC's "Breaking Bad"), Steve Carell (NBC's "The Office"), Glenn Close (FX's "Damages") and Alec Baldwin and Tina Fey (NBC's "30 Rock").

But what about Lea Michele, Matthew Morrison and the cast of Fox's buzzy musical "Glee"? Or the powerful ensemble on HBO's "Treme"? Timothy Olyphant is earning raves for his performance on FX's "Justified." And CBS' new hit "The Good Wife" also looks to make a strong first showing (star Julianna Margulies is already a six-time nominee and 1995 winner for "ER," but her win was in the supporting category; this could be her first Emmy as a lead).

Should they make the shortlist when nominations are announced on July 8, the Emmy newbies would bring a fresh look to what has become a familiar procession in the past few years. As an example, consider that the nominees in the supporting comedy actor category have remained virtually unchanged for the past three Emmys.

Michele, who already scored a Golden Globe nomination this year, had barely acted on television before being plucked from Broadway by "Glee" showrunner Ryan Murphy.   Continued...

<p>Cast members Sofia Vergara (L) and Ty Burrell from the show "Modern Family" answer questions during the Disney and ABC Television Summer Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, California August 8, 2009. REUTERS/Phil McCarten</p>