Emmy voters: Pay attention to Kelly Bishop and her scene-stealing turn in ‘Halston’

Veteran actress Kelly Bishop is more than deserving of her first Emmy nomination for her memorable portrayal in “Halston” of Eleanor Lambert, the innovative fashion publicist who founded the Met Gala and New York Fashion Week.  TV academy members checking out Ewan McGregor‘s powerful performance in the title role have an extra treat in store with this sly turn by an actress clearly at the top of her game.

Lambert was a huge admirer of Halston. In the second episode of the Netflix limited series, she coerces the reluctant designer to represent the United States in the “Battle of Versailles” in which top American designers vied for international bragging rights with the top names from Europe. Having seen Halston browbeat his underlings mercilessly, it’s fun watching him getting a taste of his own medicine from the elegantly catty Eleanor.

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In Bishop’s hands, it’s delicious to watch her manipulate this temperamental client into doing her bidding. She is in complete command here, and her authority helps to give her episode an added punch. No wonder that Rebecca Nicholson of The Guardian called Bishop “fabulous,” Judy Berman of Time dubbed her “wonderful” and Daniel Feinberg of The Hollywood Reporter declared she was “great.”

Bishop became a Broadway star with her Tony Award-winning performance as Sheila, the tough-as-nails dancer in Michael Bennett’s 1975 musical classic “A Chorus Line.” She soon segued to film and is immortalized in the hearts of “Dirty Dancing” fans everywhere for her role as Jennifer Grey‘s mom, Mrs. Houseman.

But it was a mother of a very different sort for which she is best-known: Emily, the imperious matriarch on the much-beloved “Gilmore Girls.” While the role was written as a comparatively unsympathetic character, over the course of the series’ seven seasons, Bishop softened Emily’s sharp edges and brought a complexity to her that made her one of the most cherished.

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