Sunday, September 21, 2008

I'll Say It

(Because I'm probably the only one who will.) 

In the three-hour snooze-fest that was this year's Emmy Awards, the one result that I was really quite pleased about is that Zeljko Ivanek picked up an Emmy for Supporting Actor in a Drama.  For Damages.  (And I've never even watched Damages.  Probably would have if I'd known he had a good juicy part in it, but, y'know, Glenn Close has just a smidge more name recognition, so she's the one in all the ads.)

Here's the thing -- Ivanek is one of those actors who has been in everything.  (Seriously.  Check him out on imdb if you don't believe me.)  And he's always solid.  But he's always in the background, doing solid work in the supporting parts, while other actors are out there in front in the flashy roles.  I first noticed him in Homicide (which, ironically, I just mentioned the other day).  He had a recurring role as the prosecuting attorney -- he'd show up every now and then to tell the guys whether they had enough evidence, but he wasn't involved in any of the real juicy stuff like interrogating suspects.  And then the writers of the show actually wrote a plot around him.  (IIRC, his character was getting married and his fiancee got murdered).  And all of a sudden, we actually paid attention to him -- this character who was always just around the periphery of the show was finally in the spotlight -- and Ivanek delivered the goods.

And then he goes on to do solid work in supporting but not flashy roles in a bunch of other shows (recurring in Oz and 24, and a load of one-offs).  He's been on Broadway, too.  I saw him a brilliant play called The Pillowman, in which (not surprisingly) he was chillingly good in what one might call a thankless role.  (The show, broadly speaking, is about a police interrogation of a writer.  Ivanek played the "other" cop.) 

And now he's got an Emmy.  He's potentially the one winner from tonight's show whose career can seriously be helped by this.  It's gotta increase his name recognition, and maybe we'll start seeing him get roles where he's somewhere higher than the third name below the title.  I've known he's been this good for about a decade now; glad to see the rest of the world is finally catching on.

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