Ellen Burstyn’s 15 Seconds of Fame


HBO’s Mrs. Harris was released on DVD today, and I’m baffled as to how a certain actor was nominated for an Emmy, which in my opinion, is the least deserving nomination from any awards group. Ever.

I’m talking about Ellen Burstyn for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a TV Movie. Six time Oscar nominee, Academy Award Winner, Ellen Burstyn. A fantastic actress? She’s one of the most talented in the business. But did anyone actually see her in Mrs. Harris? Because if you went to turn up the air-conditioning, tie your shoe or simply try to get something out of your eye, you may have missed her. I clocked her performance. Ms. Burstyn was onscreen for no more than 15 seconds. Seconds, people.

While you might suppose her near 15 seconds of screen time were ones of brilliance, this is not the case. She reminisces about her relationship with Ben Kingsley’s character and smokes a cig…which I guess could have enticed voters to check off her name, but I assume that Emmy voters didn’t bother to watch Mrs. Harris at all. Instead they saw a name they recognized, and checked it off…which may also explain why three women in this category are over 70.

And Ellen Burstyn might actually win. This is her third nomination and she has yet to take home Emmy gold. Veterans Cloris Leachman and Alfre Woodard are also competing in the category, but both have won numerous times. Sure, fellow nominee Shirley Jones is old too, but she’s not exactly an Emmy favorite, and doesn’t have the weight of HBO behind her like Burstyn.

Plus, Burstyn was nominated previously for playing the title role her nominated film (Jean Harris) in the 1980 TV movie, The People vs. Jean Harris. Knowing Emmy voters, they’ll think it will be cute to have her win. At least that's how they felt last year when Jane Alexander won in the same category for playing Eleanor Roosevelt, a role she was nominated for decades earlier. If they actually watch the nominees, Kelly Macdonald will probably take it for her performance in The Girl in the Café. But if they don’t, expect Burstyn to walk away with the win.

Despite her utter lack of deservingness, I’m actually rooting for Burstyn to be called up to the stage on the 27th. At least then, the unjustly snubbed Mary Louise Parker, Hugh Laurie, John Krasinski, Kristen Bell, Sopranos’ leads, and everything Lost could gloat in knowing that the 2006 Emmys were a complete bust.

By Intern Gordie Steiner