May 22’s live re-creation of two classic Norman Lear sitcoms, “All in the Family” and “The Jeffersons,” provided ABC with boffo ratings and mostly glowing reviews for its cast, especially Marisa Tomei as Edith Bunker and Wanda Sykes as a sassy Louise Jefferson.
The ladies who originated those roles in the ’70s, Jean Stapleton as so-called dingbat Edith and Isabel Sanford as her onetime African-American neighbor Louise won their share of Emmys. Stapleton collected three trophies for best comedy actress and Sanford made history by becoming the second black American actress to win a Primetime Emmy and the first to win as a lead actress in a comedy series. As for the Jefferson’s wisecracking maid, Florence, an 86-year-old Marla Gibbs — who was Emmy-nominated five times for her supporting role — simply took up where she left off.
Woody Harrelson, taking over for four-time Emmy winner Carroll O’Connor as bigoted Archie Bunker, had the uncomfortable task of spewing the character’s racially insensitive declarations. Jamie Foxx had more fun with his irascible George Jefferson, originally played by Emmy-nominated Sherman Hemsley, even if he flubbed one of his lines and broke character.
So which of these actors, if any, will find themselves competing for awards in the movie/miniseries acting categories. If you think they stand a chance, you can pick them now. Tomei — who won a supporting Oscar for 1992’s “My Cousin Vinny” and has been nominated for her roles in 2001’s “In the Bedroom” and 2008’s “The Wrestler” — started her career on the small screen in the soap opera “As the World Turns” and on the “Cosby Show” spin-off “A Different World.” But her only TV nod was a 1997 Daytime Emmy nomination for “Marisa Tomei’s Salute to Shirley Temple.”
She currently has 15 predicting her in Gold Derby’s combined Oscar odds to be nominated. The Vulture blog declared Tomei the MVP of the cast, capturing Stapleton’s quivering voice and mannerisms but not simply doing an impersonation of her Edith. As for Sykes, who has been up for an Emmy nine times and won as a writer for “The Chris Rock Show,” delivered Weezie’s zingers with her own brand of verbal pizzazz. She currently has four choosing her as a nominee.
As for Foxx, the Oscar winner for 2004’s “Ray” and supporting nominee for “Collateral” that same year, has four backers placing him as in the lineup and one predicting him to win. Harrelson, who has been Emmy-nominated as an actor eight times and won once for his bartender, Woody, on “Cheers,” only has three supporters picking him to contend for his Archie performance.
It will be interesting to see if these sort of revivals done in front of a live studio audience will catch on and attempt to stage other classic TV series. One presumes an Emmy win for one of the participants might just make it so.
Be sure to make your Emmy predictions today so that Hollywood insiders can see how their TV shows and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions as often as you like until just before nominations are announced on July 16. And join in the fun debate over the 2019 Emmy taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our television forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.