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LOS ANGELES (Back Stage) - Great casting directors know great acting. Back Stage asked several of them who they think should be recognized by the Emmy Awards this year. Nominations will be announced on July 8, with the main ceremony set for August 29.
"How about Julianna Margulies, remarkable week after week in 'The Good Wife,' with kudos to Josh Charles as well? Or Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic, who took 'Castle' to a whole new level with their work this year, maintaining their comedic chemistry while bringing the season to a close on a perfectly executed and truly touching note. For both shows, I can't wait to see what happens next season!"
-- MIKE LEMON ("Philadelphia," "The Sixth Sense")
"The scintillating Christina Hendricks of 'Mad Men' should not be neglected in this year's Emmy lineup."
-- NANCY BISHOP ("Wanted," "Prince Caspian," author of "Secrets From the Casting Couch")
"(In the guest star category,) Lynn Redgrave gave a beautiful, understated performance in the Season 4 premiere of 'Ugly Betty.' She played Olivia Guillemette, a celebrated designer from the 1960s who fell into obscurity. Betty rediscovers her living among beautiful butterflies that fly magically around her apartment, and (she) encourages Betty to transform herself, like the butterflies do. This television appearance would be Redgrave's last (she died in May), and the subtle, elegant performance is a reminder of how treasured she was to the acting profession and entertainment industry."
-- GEOFF SOFFER (ABC casting executive, 2003-08, and casting director of "Ugly Betty")
"I think Chris Colfer, who plays Kurt Hummel on 'Glee,' should be nominated for an Emmy, because his acting is simple and yet very deep. He's completely transparent and emotionally dynamic; he can express vulnerability, anger, and love all in a single moment. It's his courage in revealing all the qualities of this character, the light and the dark, that really hooks me in."
-- CATHY REINKING (casting associate on "Frasier" for eight years and on "Arrested Development," former manager of casting at NBC, author of "How to Book Acting Jobs in TV and Film")
"I think that if Katey Sagal does not get nominated for her work on 'Sons of Anarchy,' there is a serious problem in this industry. There is no one else I can see in that part. She is it; she owns that through her bones. I also think Justin Chambers has done the best work of his career this season on 'Grey's Anatomy.' He brought so much nuance and depth to a character we already knew and loved."
-- JEN LEVY ("The Go-Getter," the upcoming "Joint Body")
"The standout for me this year was Ryan Kwanten in 'True Blood.' Taking his character from a narcissistic, sex-addicted jock to a devoted Christian in the heightened style that is 'True Blood' but still managing to maintain truth and subtlety takes great skill. And if you've met Ryan, you will know exactly how far Jason Stackhouse is from Ryan's own personality. Which cannot be said for many."
-- KIRSTY MCGREGOR ("Spider," "Primal")
"Katey Sagal on 'Sons of Anarchy.' I think the performance is full and complex, and given the possibilities for grandstanding in that role, it is remarkably contained. The depth of mother love is vast, and I am so impressed that every scene seems to be played from a wholly honest place."
-- ALEXA FOGEL ("Oz," "The Wire," "Treme")
"Charlie Hunnam on 'Sons of Anarchy': His ability to lose his own British accent alone is worthy of an award. He is immensely appealing, always true; his work is riveting. The small screen is lucky to have him. Claire Danes in 'Temple Grandin': A knockout performance. Absolutely believable as the courageous, challenged Temple. Not a false note or moment to be found. Winona Ryder and Barry Pepper in 'When Love Is Not Enough': Their intelligent, heartfelt choices made this difficult love story believable and moving. Al Pacino as Jack Kevorkian in 'You Don't Know Jack': When I first heard of this casting match, I was skeptical. The actor and the man seemed so far apart, but Al rose to the occasion and gave us a believable portrait of an almost unbelievable man. Glenn Close in 'Damages': We know she's a wonderful actress, but in Patty Hewes she's found a repository for the many and varied sides of herself, which she seems to be able to access at will. Lauren Graham and Mae Whitman in 'Parenthood': Mae is one of the most talented young actresses we have. I think Lauren Graham walks on water, from 'Gilmore Girls' to 'Guys and Dolls' on Broadway: a comedienne who wears her heart and soul on her sleeve. What a gift she is to us, and her role in 'Parenthood' is a great showcase for her."
-- PAMELA RACK GUEST ("First Degree," "The Chosen One")