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Big day for Emmy nominees

THE 2011 Primetime Emmy Awards will be presented today in Los Angeles. After the nominations were announced in July, many aspiring Emmy nominees were preparing to talk to the press. Others didn't know the nominations were being announced, and some were too excited to sleep. Here are what Kate Winslet, Cloris Leachman and Jane Lynch were doing that day.

Winslet butchers a chicken

While many aspiring Emmy nominees were in hair and makeup preparing to talk to the press when the nominations were announced in July, Kate Winslet was givin' a chicken a lickin'.

"Nobody knows this, but I didn't really know that the nominations were coming out that day," the 35-year-old actress said.

Winslet starred in the HBO miniseries "Mildred Pierce," based on the 1941 James M. Cain novel, which grabbed a top 21 Emmy nominations.

"I was in England, and I was doing some really great daylong cookery classes with my best friend," Winslet said. "And my best friend and I, that particular day, we happened to be doing a butchery class. And, literally, as the e-mail came through telling me that I had been nominated and that we had received 21 nominations overall - I am not kidding you - I was hacking up a chicken. Isn't that great? I love that story."

Winslet is nominated for lead actress in a miniseries or movie for her title role in "Mildred Pierce."

"I have never been nominated for an Emmy before. I've never been to the ceremony before," she said. "And it's a wonderful way actually to reconnect with all the people who were involved with 'Mildred' who I haven't seen for over a year now. So, I'm really, really excited."

"'Mildred' was a very special part of last year for me and for all of us who were involved," she said. "And it was a really extraordinary group of people who all stuck together for 17 weeks of really hard slog. So, you know, all the hard work paying off in these nominations is just fantastic."

Leachman hangs on to record

Cloris Leachman already holds the record for most Emmys won by an actor - male or female - with a total of nine.

She had a chance to top herself at last week's Creative Arts Emmy ceremony for her guest-starring role on "Raising Hope." Leachman plays the occasionally lucid Maw Maw on the sitcom, which also earned star Martha Plimpton a nomination for outstanding lead actress in a comedy series.

The 85-year-old Leachman has won one Daytime and eight Primetime Emmy awards, but - spoiler alert - she lost out on her 10th trophy to "Glee" guest actress Gwyneth Paltrow.

Still, Leachman's Emmy record remains intact.

"Well, I used to be tied with Sir Lawrence Olivier," she said. "But he was kind enough to die, and then I was able to continue. So I thought that was very, very big of him - especially since he's English."

Leachman, whose first credits date back to the late 1940s, is perhaps best known for her work on the 1970s sitcom classic "The Mary Tyler Moore Show." She said the Emmys have been cause for a friendly competition between her and her "MTM" costars, fellow multiple winners Moore and Ed Asner.

"I remember Mary saying, 'You have nine? I thought you had eight.' 'No, I have nine'," Leachman noted, adding "that was kind of a nice moment for me."

Lynch: I can sleep now

Jane Lynch is no longer losing sleep over her Emmy hosting duties.

"I'm OK," the "Glee" star affirmed with a smile after rolling out the red carpet in front of the Nokia Theater in downtown Los Angeles. "I actually slept OK last night for the first time in about a week. I've been having some anxiety issues."

Lynch has been hard at work backstage on the show with longtime pals Jill and Faith Soloway from Chicago. The trio previously worked together on Annoyance Theater's "The Real Live Brady Bunch" in the 1990s. (Lynch played matriarch Carol Brady.)

The first-time host promised that the Chi-Town ladies would bring "kind of a Chicago feel" to today's 63rd annual Primetime Emmy Awards.

"Jane is certainly going to be central to our experience," said Academy of Television Arts and Sciences chairman John Shaffner. "I think the host of a program like this is the best friend who sits on the sofa and tells you great stories as the evening goes on."


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