Would it be wishful Emmy thinking that Carrie Fisher could win an Emmy Award for her HBO special “Wishful Drinking“? Even if she doesn’t take home the prize, there’s at least one consolation. “My daughter said that she was stunned that I was in the same category as Lady Gaga,” Fisher tells Gold Derby in a podcast chat. “If that is all it accomplished, that’s enough.”
Fisher’s one-woman theatrical show was filmed last summer at the South Orange Performing Arts Center in New Jersey. The autobiographical special tells the story of her life as the daughter of singer Eddie Fisher and actress Debbie Reynolds, including her own rise to fame as well as her divorce and struggles with mental illness and addiction. The show also includes an elaborate “Hollywood Inbreeding 101” presentation, in which she explains her complicated family tree. “The performance is fun because you have to be kind of fearless to do it,” she says.
The program, which premiered on HBO last December, is nominated for Best Variety Special against “Lady Gaga Presents the Monster Ball Tour: At Madison Squre Garden,” “Bette Midler: The Showgirl Must Go On,” “The Pee-Wee Herman Show on Broadway,” and the 2010 edition of “The Kennedy Center Honors,” which celebrated the career achievements of Merle Haggard, Jerry Herman, Bill T. Jones, Paul McCartney, and Oprah Winfrey; the 2009 “Kennedy Center” fest took home the Emmy in this category last year and several of the “Kennedy Center” specials have won in years past.
Fisher achieved stardom in 1977 with her role as Princess Leia Organa in “Star Wars” and its sequels “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi.” Her other on-screen credits include “The Blues Brothers,” “Hannah and Her Sisters,” “When Harry Met Sally…,” and “Soapdish.” She wrote the 1990 film adaptation of her own semi-autobiographical novel, “Postcards from the Edge,” which was directed by Mike Nichols and starred Meryl Streep and Shirley Maclaine. And she has been on the writing staff for the Academy Awards ceremony three times (1997, 2002, and 2007).
She received her first Emmy nomination in 2008 for her guest-starring role as a fading writer idolized by Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) on “30 Rock.” She lost to Kathryn Joosten (“Desperate Housewives”). And her “Wishful Drinking” performance, in addition to earning her another Emmy nod this year, also put her in contention for a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album in 2010; that prize went to Michael J. Fox for “Always Looking Up.”
After performances throughout the U.S. and Australia, she is currently on the road with “Wishful Drinking” in Canada. Considering that it’s her life story in her own words, Fisher says her biggest concern was “that I would forget my lines, which would be really stupid since I wrote them … I lived them — more to the point.”