Isaiah Washington has been embroiled in controversy for months. Ever since Washington (who plays Dr. Preston Burke on Grey's Anatomy) shouted a homophobic slur at castmate T.R. Knight, he's been caught in a maelstrom of bad publicity. Knight, as a result, was forced to officially come out of the closet, a poor choice of words at the Golden Globes caused a rift in the cast, and Washington has remained on shaky ground throughout.
So, what's the best way to climb out of the abyss of negative media coverage? Baby steps. It was recently announced that Washington will be the only member of the Grey's Anatomy cast to not submit himself for Emmy consideration. This is the sort of selfless gesture that Washington needs to start winning back fans. However, is it really a show of good faith, or is it an empty gesture?
Would Isaiah have been considered for an Emmy award if he had thrown his hat into the ring? I don't know. He's quite good as Preston Burke, playing him very intense and introspective. It's a unique portrayal, but the degree of difficulty seems low. Then again, I'm not an actor and can't really comment on how hard a certain role is for an actor, but that's just my feeling on Washington. So, I wouldn't give him my Emmy vote if I had one.
There have been questions on whether or not Isaiah will keep his job on Grey's for the long term, but that talk is mostly of the speculative gossip variety. For a show like Grey's Anatomy, losing a character like Preston Burke would have a ripple effect on the entire cast and, unless an actor is completely unbearable, you normally won't fire someone just because you don't like them.
In terms of nominations, Patrick Dempsey will likely get an Emmy nomination in the Lead Actor category, and I'm betting either Chandra Wilson or Katherine Heigl (or both!) will get a supporting nod. Other than that, I wouldn't expect anything more on the acting side of things for Grey's.
-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer