Hugh Laurie and Ali G set to crash 'Lost' Emmys party

Ian McShane is also in with a chance of winning one of American TV's biggest awards tonight. Andrew Gumbel reports from Los Angeles

Three prominent UK actors are up for awards. Ian McShane stands perhaps the best chance of winning for his widely praised turn in the gritty Western series Deadwood. Among those he is likely to eclipse is Hugh Laurie, who plays a brutally frank doctor in the Fox drama series House.

Meanwhile, Ali G, aka Sacha Baron Cohen, is nominated for comic acting in Da Ali G Show, and the show itself is nominated in the "variety, music or comedy" category. The feeling among US critics, however, is that the show is beginning to outstay its welcome.

The outcome in the major categories is scarcely in doubt. ABC's runaway hit of suburban anomie, Desperate Housewives, is set to dominate the evening. It is the odds-on favourite in the outstanding comedy series category (even though, strictly speaking, it is not a comedy), and no fewer than three of its leading players - Teri Hatcher, Felicity Huffman and Marcia Cross - are up for outstanding lead actress in a comedy.

Another ABC show, Lost, about a group of plane crash survivors on a tropical island, is expected to pick up dramatic honours - not least because ABC made sure it would not be in direct competition with Housewives.The Washington Post asked last week: has there ever been less suspense to the prime-time Emmy Awards?

This year presenters will be asked to wear magnolias, the state flower of two Katrina-battered states, Louisiana and Mississippi. If the outpouring of news coverage and celebrity fundraising for the hurricane were not enough, tonight's Emmys telecast from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles also has to contend with plummeting ratings and the ever more sarcastic putdowns of television critics bored senseless by what they see as an exercise in self-congratulation by shows that frequently do not deserve it.

US television critics have had enormous fun in the past few days pointing to their favourite "outrages" in the nominations list - railing at the television academy's failure to recognise the much-praised comedy Arrested Development, for example, or its lazy recognition of bit-part actors in tired old sitcoms such as Everybody Loves Raymond, which has just ended a nine-year run.

One of the most caustic, Tim Goodman of the San Francisco Chronicle, said the whole spectacle was so sorry he had actually lost his usual "kill-kill-kill" impulse. "Anger at the Emmys is pointless," he wrote. "The Emmys manage to defuse rage by having so many outlandish oversights that one cannot muster up the energy to scream bloody murder."

The award show producers, meanwhile, are racking their brains to find ways to keep the audience engaged. A new feature will have television stars singing the theme songs from favourite old shows, with home audiences encouraged to vote for their favourite performance. The segment, shamelessly stolen from Pop Idol and its US counterpart American Idol, may just be cheesy enough to make the whole glitterfest worth ogling at.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Written protest: Julia Donaldson, author of The Gruffalo, has sent an open letter to the Culture Secretary
books
Arts and Entertainment
The teaser trailer has provoked more questions than answers
filmBut what is Bond's 'secret' that Moneypenny is talking about?
Sport
Lewis Hamilton secured his second straight pole of the season
f1Vettel beats Rosberg into third after thunderstorm delays qualifying
News
Johnny Depp is perhaps best known for his role as Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean
peopleBut how did he break it?
Sport
footballDoes Hodgson's England team have an identity yet?
Travel
travel Dreamland Margate, Britain’s oldest amusement park, is set to reopen
News
news
News
Founders James Brown and Tim Southwell with a mock-up of the first ever ‘Loaded’ magazine in 1994
media
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: Web Developer - ASP.NET, C#, MVC - London

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Web Developer -...

Ashdown Group: .NET Developer : ASP.NET , C# , MVC , web development

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits - see advert: Ashdown Group: .N...

Guru Careers: 3D Package Designer / 3D Designer

£25 - 30K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an exceptional 3D Package Designer / 3...

Guru Careers: Interior Designer

£Competitive: Guru Careers: We are seeking a strong Middleweight / Senior Inte...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss