EYES ON THE PRIZE
Until this year, actor Zach Braff had never won any award. Nothing. Nada. Zip.
“Not even a Little League award,” laughs the New Jersey native and star of NBC’s “Scrubs.”
“I joked when I got my first award of this year that I was going to glue a little guy playing baseball to the top of it,” says Braff, “so I could have an award like my brothers.”
He’s going to need a steady supply of those little plastic guys in the future.
Braff scored a Humanitas Award nomination for the screenplay to “Garden State,” his directorial debut, which comes out on DVD tomorrow.
It’s a fitting place to start since the Humanitas is one of the few awards scored by the critically acclaimed “Scrubs” (Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m.) after four seasons of being mostly ignored by the Emmys.
But it’s not the last award he’s gotten.
“Garden State” ó the story of a fitfully successful actor headed back to New Jersey to bury his mother, make peace with his estranged father, and make out with Natalie Portman (not in that order) ó was also singled out by the National Board of Review, got two Independent Spirit Awards, and two People’s Choice Awards.
And the soundtrack Braff oversaw (featuring everyone from critical faves The Shins to suicidally sad, cult-figure Nick Drake) just went gold and is nominated for a Grammy.
So maybe he should have sensed something was in the air this year come Golden Globes time?
“Yeah!” says Braff, who was nominated for Best Actor in a sitcom for “Scrubs.” “But I didn’t even wake up early this year. I wasn’t expecting it.”
Fans worry all the success will make Braff step away from the clever medical comedy that started it all.
But Braff is delighted that “Scrubs” is still on the air despite never scoring huge ratings. His co-star, Donald Faison, is one of his best friends in real life and he’s in no mood to see it end.
“The show is so much fun to do,” says the 29-year-old Braff. “We don’t have a huge fan base but we have a really loyal one. It looks like we’re going to be around a little while longer. I know it will go another year. I don’t want it to be over. It’s a job where you come to work and make your friends laugh a lot.”
So despite some New Year’s resolutions posted on his blog (“Forego all exercise ó including walking” and “Learn to smoke ó something thin like Capris”), Braff seems unlikely to let this sudden success change him.
Just ask who his date will be to the Golden Globes on Jan. 16.
“I’m bringing my mom,” says Braff.
EYES ON THE PRIZE