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By The Scoop
msnbc.com
updated 9/21/2008 8:36:20 PM ET 2008-09-22T00:36:20

2008 hasn't been the best year for awards shows.

The Golden Globes were all but cancelled. The Oscars seemed anticlimactic at best, and, in light of the writer's strike, a touch somber at their worst.

What a difference a few months makes. Emmy weekend here in L.A. has been nothing short of festive, the nominees incredibly hopeful and the festivities glamorous, but not ridiculously over the top.

Among the best places for celeb spotting during the days leading up the show: The Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills. "Project Runway's" Nina Garcia and her husband and son were fixtures at the pool, and the bar attracted most of the "30 Rock" cast. The second floor was home to the HBO Gift Lounge, which attracted such stars as Jorge Garcia, Peter Jacobson, Bryan Bratt, Rex Lee, Jean Smart, and even pro skateboarder Eric Ellington. (Some of the swag for the taking: Global Goddess beauty products, Invicta Watches, Guitar Hero, Klipsch Audio.)

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The place to really catch up with nominees and actors from nominated shows, however, was the NBC party at Spago on Sept. 20. (Yes, Msnbc.com is a joint venture of NBC and Microsoft, but this really was the best bash of the lot. It's not just a shameless plug).

Omar Epps from "House" behaved exactly as a nominated actor should: totally excited. "All I can think about is that statue," he said.

Even Tracy Jordan was remarkably tame — that said, he was the only person to really do some dirty dancing at the party (and while there was plenty of Mumm de Cramant champagne to be had, Jordan wasn't partaking).

Hayden Panetierre of "Heroes" was the belle of the ball. Judah Friedlander took countless pictures with fans, and Phyllis Smith of "The Office" couldn't walk more than a few feet without someone shouting her name. One surprise guest: Lindsay Lohan. Her girlfriend Samantha Ronson spun music for part of the party, but Lohan herself was a surprise guest.

The Entertainment Weekly/People party was also noteworthy. Among the attendees: Kelsey Grammer, Emile de Ravin, Lisa Edelstein, Drew Lachey and Julie Benz.

Slideshow: Emmy Fashions Sarah Silverman, who just a few months ago broke up with longtime beau Jimmy Kimmel, was at the party with new "Dancing With the Stars" castmember Jeffrey Ross. She seemed to be feeling no lingering breakup pain, so to speak. One of the features of the party —aside from copious amounts of Pinkberry frozen yogurt, which was a huge hit — was a photo booth that transmitted the pictures taken across giant screens. Any guesses as to Lauren Conrad's first stop?

And, what's an L.A. dispatch without a note about my good friend George Clooney? While he he isn't involved in the Emmys, he also isn't one to glom onto the festivities. Clooney was spotted having drinks with the guys at Jones in West Hollywood.

Vote for Fey
Tina Fey's absence during the Sept. 20 episode of "Saturday Night Live" was painfully obvious: what's an election sketch without Fey's eerily accurate portrayal of vice-presidential candidate Gov. Sarah Palin?

Fey couldn't be at "SNL" because, according to sources,  she wanted to be in L.A. all weekend to support her own "30 Rock" and participate in pre-Emmy events.

Will Fey be back as Palin? While the official word from NBC is that she's "week to week," sources close to Fey who say that we can expect to see her regularly in the role until the elections.

Will Ross the Intern keep his job?
If only the walls at Spago could talk (or if only the room was a little quieter). Conan O'Brien and Ross the Intern from "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" were spotted having a private chat.

Anyone in the vicinity put two and two together: Was Ross trying to ensure some job security once Leno leaves his post? A source close to Ross says that he isn't certain what the future holds. "I guarantee you he and Conan weren't hammering out a deal (at Spago) but of course they're going to chat," the source says.

Walk-and-whine on the red carpet
Celebrities, all things said and done, live lovely lives.

Yes, the hours they work can be long, their jobs demanding, but that's true of many professions. What's not true of many other professions, and what makes actors different from the rest of us: the incredible salaries, royal treatment, and other glamorous perks that come along with the job.

Slideshow: 2008 Primetime Emmy Awards That's why it rubs people the wrong way to hear the red carpet walk-and-whine. Yes, it's hot in L.A. on a sunny September afternoon. Men, you don't need to remind us that your suit is hot. You don't hear the women complaining about the long walk in heels.

Also, assume that the red carpet will be crowded. Teri Hatcher spent a significant portion of her red-carpet airtime with Ryan Seacrest complaining that there were too many people, and the carpet was too small.

"She's been in the business long enough to know that comes out sounding like she isn't getting enough attention," said a dismayed publicist within earshot. "Of course the red carpet at the Emmys is crowded."

‘Lakeview’ douses ‘Burn’
Thank you, moviegoers, for heading out to see "Lakeview Terrace" last weekend. The Samuel L. Jackson flick made a better-than-expected $15.6 million . "Terrace" bested last weekend's number one, "Burn After Reading", which came in second place.

The weekend's comedy release, Dane Cook's "My Best Friend's Girl," did a disappointing $8.3 million, good enough for third place. Translation: Cook can't carry a film on his own (for further evidence, I offer other box office disappointments, such as "Good Luck Chuck" and "Dan in Real Life").

Finally, the weekend's kid flick, "Igor" didn't do as well as expected. Early estimates had the  animated film doing $8 million — it only did about $6.

Scoop Shout-out
My bling for the night would not have been possible without the help of Sophia Fiori Diamond Jewelry. Many thanks, and it was fun while it lasted...

Courtney Hazlett delivers the Scoop Monday through Friday on msnbc.com.

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