A Fond Look Back at the Better, Less-Viewed 2007 Emmys-in-the-Round


While Movieline is divided regarding the quality of this year's Emmys, I found myself getting nostalgic during last night's ceremony for a strange time when America Ferrera was nominated for something and a big 30 Rock win was relatively unexpected. Come with us, in our magical Katherine Heigl love parade, to the little-watched, underrated Emmy ceremony of 2007.

James Spader said 2007's arena staging was distracting, and apparently so did the Emmy committee, because they soon buried its bastard heart at Wounded Knee. But I beg to differ with that year's winner for Best Lead Actor in a Drama. While the staging made it difficult for important people, like the director of Tony Bennett: An American Classic, to preach to their peers, the "round" stage added a patina of identity to the ceremony. The largest crime of last night's proceedings was the lack of signature anything, as even Neil Patrick Harris came across as a blithe, but uninteresting cipher. 2009's awards will fade into the not-so-revisited annals of award show history, but 2007's remain fresh even today. At least that ceremony was hosted by a cipher with gusto.

Here are Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart announcing the winner for Best Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. Their solution when dealing with Ricky Gervais's absence ranks among the funniest, genuinely spontaneous memories in recent Emmy history. And the in-the-round staging makes it even better! Stone me!

Note how Katherine Heigl's Emmy win is actually aided by the raked seating and arena staging. The shots of her co-stars and mother behind her seem more personal than the traditional clips of nominees seated near the backdoor.

And, just for the hell of it, here's Sally Field's speech for Best Actress in a Drama Series from 2007. Not that Glenn Close doesn't rule, but Sally Field ruled a little more.