Watch: Jeff Daniels on 'The Newsroom' and the speech of his career [Video]

By Chris Beachum
By Chris Beachum
Apr 22 2013 01:31 am
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"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."

Emmys: Episodes That Would've Been Winners

Sarah Michelle Gellar, 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' (2001: 'The Body')
Susanna Thompson, 'Once and Again' (2002: 'Gardenia')
Dennis Haysbert and Penny Johnson Jerald, '24' (2002: 'Day 1: 11pm - 12am')
Peter Krause, 'Six Feet Under' (2003: 'I'm Sorry, I'm Lost')
Lauren Graham, 'Gilmore Girls' (2004: 'Raincoats and Recipes')
Kristen Bell, 'Veronica Mars' (2005: 'A Trip to the Dentist')
Connie Britton, 'Friday Night Lights' (2007: 'I Think We Should Have Sex')
Jane Krakowski, '30 Rock' (2007: 'Hard Ball')
Blair Underwood, 'In Treatment' (2008: 'Alex: Week Six')
Vincent Kartheiser, 'Mad Men' (2008: 'New Amsterdam')
Walton Goggins, 'The Shield' (2009: 'Family Meeting')
Katey Sagal, 'Sons of Anarchy' (2010: 'Balm')
Zach Gilford, 'Friday Night Lights' (2010: 'The Son')
Danny Pudi, 'Community' (2011: 'Critical Film Studies')
The Cast of 'Lost' (2005-2010)
Mireille Enos, 'The Killing' (2012: '72 Hours')
Sarah Michelle Gellar, 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' (2001: 'The Body')

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.

Click arrow on right side of photo above to see 14 other sure-fire Emmy winners. 

 
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