Thursday, July 19, 2007

Cowboys and Indians and Emmys

Westerns may be scarce at megaplexes these days, but they're attracting viewers -- and earning honors -- on television. Indeed, you could say the Emmys went Western this morning, as the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences announced 17 nominations for Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, the epic HBO movie based on Dee Brown’s non-fiction best-seller, and 16 for Broken Trail, the AMC miniseries starring Robert Duvall and Thomas Haden Church.

Wounded Knee loomed large in the marquee category of Outstanding Made for Television Movie, Broken Trail rode tall among the Outstanding Miniseries nominees, and, not surprisingly, Duvall was nominated as Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie.

In several other categories, however, the Westerns will be competing against each other for top honors. For example, Church will face off against Wounded Knee co-stars August Schellenberg (as Sitting Bull) and Aidan Quinn (Sen. Henry Dawes) for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie; Greta Scacchi (Broken Trail) and Anna Paquin (Wounded Knee) are rivals for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie; and Walter Hill (Broken Trail) and Yves Simoneau (Wounded Knee) are among the honorees for Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special.

Speaking of Hill: After Thursday's early-morning Emmy announcement, the veteran filmmaker (whose feature credits include the Westerns Wild Bill, The Long Riders, and Geronimo: An American Legend) seemed at once grateful and flabbergasted that Television Academy voters would be so appreciative of Broken Trail. "What can I say?” he told the Associated Press. “They're too kind. We were on so long ago, we were on last June, so I've been surprised and very pleased that people remember."

Dick Wolf, executive producer of Wounded Knee, said the clutch of nominations for his HBO movie was a validation of a very difficult project: "Anybody who says it's not nice or it doesn't mean anything to get this many nominations, it's the ultimate sour grapes because it sure feels great.”

(A complete list of all Emmy Award nominations is available here.)

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