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Canuck callback? Emmys again nominate Fox, Arnett, ‘Degrassi’

Actor Michael J. Fox attends a news conference at the University Health Network in Toronto on Thursday September 24, 2009.

Chris Young/CP

This year's Emmy Award nominations represent something of a Canuck callback.

Yes, the Canadian contingent of honorees could be forgiven for feeling a sense of deja vu as nominations were announced on Thursday.

There was Michael J. Fox nabbing his second consecutive nomination for outstanding guest actor in a drama series for his recurring role on The Good Wife. The Edmonton-born actor also earned a guest-actor nod for his appearance on Curb Your Enthusiasm.

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Similarly, Brampton, Ont., funnyman Will Arnett claimed his fourth nod for outstanding guest actor in a comedy series for his performance as the conniving Devin Banks on 30 Rock.

The Emmy echo for Canadians extended even further.

Veteran Toronto-born voice actor Maurice LaMarche received a second straight outstanding voice-over performance nomination for playing a cluster of wacky characters on the sci-fi satire Futurama (he won the category last year), while the unstoppable Canadian teen series Degrassi is once again up for outstanding children's program, a year after receiving its inaugural nomination. And Toronto-born SNL sage Lorne Michaels received his latest in a long, long line of writing nods.

But to most, being nominated for a major award simply doesn't get old.

"We were definitely excited last year – I guess we sort of thought that was our time, they acknowledged this Canadian show for the work we'd done," said Degrassi star, producer and writer Stefan Brogren in a telephone interview on Thursday.

"But it turns out they want us to come by again, which is fantastic."

Of course, there were Canadian first-time nominees as well, including Calgary-reared Mad Men scribe Semi Chellas, who is up for outstanding writing for a drama series. She's nominated alongside the moody period drama's creator Matthew Weiner for the jaw-dropping episode The Other Woman in which Pete asked Joan to sleep with a client to land a Jaguar account.

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Degrassi, meanwhile, landed its second nomination after submitting the episode Extraordinary Machine, which found the bipolar Eli refusing his medication with disastrous results. Last year, the show earned its nod after showcasing an episode depicting the plight of transgendered teen Adam.

Brogren said it's the honest way in which the show has tackled difficult subject matter that might have caught the attention of Emmy voters.

"Our show tries very hard to maintain a certain reality when it comes to what teens are going through," said Brogren, the 40-year-old who has portrayed Snake in the Degrassi franchise since the 1980s.

"I think it connects with a lot of kids because this is what they're going through.... We're always trying to find the stories that we know are out there, but they might not be necessarily be out there in the mainstream."

The Degrassi crew will head back down to L.A. when the awards are given out on Sept. 23 after having a "blast" last year, despite ultimately missing out on an award.

But even though this second nod proves the first wasn't a fluke, Brogren said he doesn't exactly feel like a front-runner.

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"I think we're the Canadian cousins sometimes – you feel like an underdog anyways," he said with a laugh.

"But we were so proud the first time and we're definitely proud this time to be recognized by the Emmys, absolutely."

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