"I've been acting for 36 years just so I could do that speech," reveals Jeff Daniels in a video chat with Gold Derby. "As they say, 'Didn't leave anything in the locker room with it'."
Referring to the opening five minutes of the pilot episode of "The Newsroom," which debuted last June on HBO, he called it "not the greatest country in the world speech," which introduced his character of news anchorman Will McAvoy to the viewers.
After a long and varied film career in such movies as "Terms of Endearment," "The Purple Rose of Cairo," "Something Wild," "Dumb and Dumber," "The Hours," and "The Squid and the Whale," Daniels now has his first regular series role. The reason? Creator and head writer Aaron Sorkin.
"A friend of mine said, "With Aaron, wait 'til you see what you get to say. And that speech along with a lot of other things we get to do in this show is evident of that."
The first season of the program will be eligible at this year's Emmy Awards. According to exclusive Gold Derby odds, Daniels is favored to be nominated as Best Drama Actor alongside previous winners Bryan Cranston ("Breaking Bad") and Damian Lewis ("Homeland") plus perennial nominees Jon Hamm ("Mad Men") and Steve Buscemi ("Boardwalk Empire"). If nominated, he reveals that the pilot episode would be the likely choice as his submission to Emmy judges.
Daniels adds, "Over a long career, you have your ups and downs. When it's up, the older you get the more you appreciate it. 'The Newsroom' is something, if we do it right for five years or so or however long HBO wants it, that it has the chance, the potential to outlive us."
One of the heartbreaking aspects of watching the Emmys is those times when we witness the snub a performer who we know could have won if only they had been nominated, because we know they had the episode to do it.
For instance, Emmy voters were notoriously unkind to "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and its star, Sarah Michelle Gellar. Had she been nominated in 2001, she could have submitted one of the show's most famous episodes: "The Body," in which she discovers that her mother has died and struggles helplessly to revive her.
That year, she would have faced eventual Best Drama Actress winner Edie Falco ("The Sopranos"), who submitted "Second Opinion," in which Carmela consults a psychiatrist about her marriage to mob-boss Tony.
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