Honour roles

It is 22 years since Nicole Kidman won a Silver Logie for most outstanding actress, in Bangkok Hilton. Now, after her incredible career in film, she is nominated for television's highest honour, an Emmy Award.

She won an Oscar in between (she was named best actress for The Hours in 2003), but Kidman appears to have come full circle in the television world.

Tomorrow morning, Australian time, she will be among the nominees attending the Emmys ceremony at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles. Kidman received a nomination for outstanding lead actress in a miniseries or movie for her role as Martha Gellhorn in Hemingway & Gellhorn. Despite her stellar credentials, Kidman is a bit of a dark horse in the category. The favourite to win is Julianne Moore, who played the role of Sarah Palin in Game Change.

Another renowned Australian actor, Judy Davis, is in the running for an Emmy again this year. She is nominated for her role in spy drama Page Eight, as outstanding supporting actress in a miniseries or a movie.

Davis's fellow nominees include Jessica Lange, who is touted as the favourite by US television commentators for her role in American Horror Story. It is the battle of the big US shows that is attracting the most buzz ahead of the ceremony tomorrow. Can Homeland topple Mad Men for outstanding drama series? The tense political thriller starring Claire Danes and Damian Lewis was a standout but, of course, Mad Men is in a league of its own.

I'm tipping a few surprises from Homeland, including a win for Danes in the lead actress in a drama series category and hopefully a deserved win for Lewis as outstanding lead actor. (US commentators are still picking Jon Hamm, Mad Men's Don Draper).

In comedy, this appears to be Modern Family's year. I'm tipping the show to win outstanding comedy series, and no fewer than four of its male stars - Ty Burrell (Phil), Ed O'Neill (Jay), Eric Stonestreet (Cam) and Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Mitchell) - are nominated in the same category for outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series. O'Neill has all the momentum behind him in the US and I'd love to see him win for his brilliant role as the family patriarch. (Next year, let's hope they nominate Manny, Rico Rodriguez, by far the funniest kid on television).

Melissa McCarthy appears to be hot favourite for yet another Emmy for lead actress in a comedy series (although, the truth is, Mike & Molly is not a great show) but fingers crossed the award will go to its rightful owner - Zooey Deschanel from New Girl.

Kidman is expected to jet back to the US from France for the Emmys ceremony. She shifted to Paris last week to prepare for her role as Grace Kelly in the film Grace of Monaco.

Emmys coverage begins on Fox8 at 9am. Visit smh.com.au from 9am Monday for all the Emmys action, including a live blog, red carpet fashion and all the winners.

Here we go again

Fame has not affected the Chaser team in any way.

Or perhaps the very lovely Andrew Hansen is ready to confess otherwise. ''Of course we've become demanding prima donnas, as you can imagine,'' Hansen says. ''I want roast boar on a spit in my dressing room nowadays.''

The Chaser team - Hansen, Chas Licciardello, Julian Morrow, Craig Reucassel and Chris Taylor - will bring back The Hamster Wheel for a second series, starting from Wednesday night.

Hansen says the show will continue their comedic take on the Australian media circus. ''If anyone caught series one it's a comedy show about the media,'' he says.

''Not just what's in the news, but I think it does something that I don't think any other comedy shows do, or at least not in Australia, which is have a look at how the news is made and how news stories unfold and sometimes seem to snowball out of control into something quite ridiculous.

''It's a show about having a laugh at the way that happens.''

Hansen says in the second series the scope will broaden a bit, with fun comedy sketches thrown into the mix.

Fellow Chaser member Reucassel says it's been a tough process getting the mix right for this series, but he hopes the results will show onscreen.

''There's just so much media [to consider] when you're in the middle of writing about it and boiling it down to something that's actually going to be funny,'' Reucassel says. ''I think sometimes if someone were to record our writers' meetings, you'd think we were a bunch of accountants. We're just sitting there analysing things …''

Reucassel says there is pride in the final result: ''It's a great show - it is the hardest show we've done but it can be really rewarding if you get that [mix] right.''

The Hamster Wheel airs on Wednesday night at 9.05pm on ABC1.

It beats Google Maps

Dorothea Mackellar was so right about the diversity of our beautiful country (her poem My Country says it all) and now it's time to see Australia in all its glory from above.

Our sweeping scenery, which is pivotal to ABC1's Great Southern Land, was filmed from all manner of aircraft - choppers, planes, even hot-air balloons - so viewers can get an incredible view of the landscape.

The show's host, Professor Steve Simpson, was charged with the task of hosting the four-part series, but spare a thought for the impressive camera work involved with those people behind the scenes capturing extraordinary images of the country.

The first episode tonight explores the themes of food production and the power supply chain in Australia, with snapshots from Tasmania, the Snowy Mountains and Queensland. Expect plenty of spectacular views along the way.

It's great to see the ABC (and Screen Australia) backing the type of documentary series that we usually only see from the BBC.

Great Southern Land screens tonight at 7.30pm on ABC1.

The story Honour roles first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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