Biggest Emmy Snubs of All Time Part 2: The Nominees
In my most recent blog post (found here), I discussed what I believe to be the 25 best actors/characters to never be nominated for an Emmy. However, that is not the only way someone can be snubbed at the Emmys. This post will cover the remaining two ways. First, I will do the top 5 people that were nominated for an Emmy for something besides their most memorable role, and then I will do the top 25 that were nominated for their best role, but never took home the award. Without further ado, here they are.
5: Charles Dance-Nominated for Bleak House; Should be nominated for Game of Thrones
Tywin Lannister is one of the best characters on one of the best shows currently on television, and much of that has to do with how Charles Dance brought this character to life. Again, knowing what we should be in store for in season four, I think he should have a great chance to rectify this snub, but until then, the current Hand of the King will remain on this list.
4: Tony Hale-Nominated for Veep; Should be nominated for Arrested Development
Hale is one of many members of the Bluth family to earn Emmy nominations, but as was the case with David Cross, it was for something else other than Arrested Development (Cross won an Emmy for his work on The Ben Stiller Show and is therefore ineligible for inclusions on the list, although Tobias was his best work in my opinion). While it’s nice to see Hale get some recognition for his work on Veep, it would have been even better to see him be nominated for Buster Bluth.
3: Martin Freeman-Nominated for Sherlock; Should have been nominated for The Office (UK)
First, although I haven’t watched Sherlock yet, I’ve heard good things, and I don’t doubt that Freeman does a good job as Watson. However, his best role will always be Tim on The Office. This show was not well represented at the Emmys (British shows are sometimes tough to earn nominations) but it did earn a few nominations, although none for the acting. While Ricky Gervais’ David Brent is the show’s best character, Gervais has gone on to win Emmys and is ineligible here. Tim is the next best thing about the show, and Freeman deserved some recognition for that.
2: Idris Elba-Nominated for Luther/The Big C; Should have been nominated for The Wire
As with Sherlock, I haven’t seen Luther yet but have heard nothing but good things. Again, though, Elba’s performance as Stringer Bell on The Wire is fantastic. I’m thrilled that his movie career has really taken off recently, but he deserved some award recognition (as did many other cast members) for his work on The Wire.
1: Andy Griffith-Nominated for Murder in Texas; Should have been nominated for The Andy Griffith Show
The Andy Griffith Show is one of my favorite shows of all time. While Don Knotts won 5 Emmys for his role of Barney Fife, Andy Griffth was never nominated for his role as Sheriff Andy Taylor which is baffling. Barney may have been the funniest character, but Andy was the glue that held the whole thing together. He brought charm and wit to the role and made everybody wish that Mayberry was a real town. He made the humor seem effortless, but he was just as capable of pulling at your heartstrings in any given episode. Television owes a lot to Andy Griffith, and the lack of an Emmy nomination is just one example.
Now we will have the 25 biggest Emmy snubs of all time for nominated actors/characters that never won an Emmy.
25: Daphne Moon (Jane Leeves)-Frasier
While Daphne wasn’t my favorite character on Frasier, you couldn’t deny how enjoyable scenes were between her and Niles. Leeves did a great job bringing depth to a character that began as sort of a one-note joke. She was only nominated once, losing to Lisa Kudrow, but it would have been nice if she was a more consistent nominee and winner like her cast mates.
24: Jay Pritchett (Ed O’Neill)-Modern Family
The Emmys love Modern Family. The show has taken home the past three awards in the Best Supporting Actor category (Eric Stonestreet twice, Ty Burrell once). While Jesse Tyler Ferguson’s Mitchell didn’t make the list, I put Ed O’Neill on here because I like his character better than Mitchell. Of course, if he wins at the upcoming Emmys, he won’t be snubbed any longer, and Ferguson can take his place on the list.
23: Gloria Delgado-Pritchett (Sofia Vergara)-Modern Family
As I just said, the Emmys love Modern Family. Vergara has lost twice to her costar Julie Bowen, and while I appreciate Bowen’s contribution to the show, to me, the funnier character is Gloria. Like O’Neill, Vergara is nominated this year as well, so she may soon be snubbed-no-more, but as it is now, she is the most snubbed person in the Modern Family cast.
22: Skyler White (Anna Gunn)-Breaking Bad
I know the internet/people at large hate Skyler White. She knows people hate her. But Anna Gunn has been putting work in recently as the woman behind the king. She is nominated at this year’s Emmys and may take home the award, but the development of this character recently has left me floored. I’m typing this after watching the most recent episode of Breaking Bad (Season 6 episode 4 or Season 5 episode 12 depending on how you’re counting), and she had one scene that left me just floored. In a show full of dynamic characters, she has found her own way to stand out, which is an impressive feat in and of itself.
21: Ali G/Borat/Bruno (Sacha Baron Cohen)-Da Ali G Show
While we may immediately think of the movie versions of these characters, Borat, Bruno and Ali G all came from Da Ali G Show. Sacha Baron Cohen was nominated as a writer/producer, but never as an actor when it came to these characters. He won a Golden Globe for his film portrayal of Borat and was nominated for an Oscar for Best Screenplay. However, moments on the show are just as good as the movies and it would have been nice if he could have won an Emmy for bringing these characters to life.
20: Major Charles Winchester (David Ogden Stiers)-M*A*S*H
In much the same way I recognized Frank Burns in the last post, Charles Winchester deserves recognition as well. Sure, he was stuck-up, pompous, and curmudgeonly, but he was also very funny. The moments when he showed his softer side are some of the best that the show ever produced. He brought some sophistication to the craziness of the 4077th, and although he lost both times he was nominated, he remains one of the best parts of one of the greatest shows of all time.
19: Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins)-Justified
As regular readers will know (if there are any), I’m a big fan of the show Justified. Boyd Crowder is a big reason why. Very few people make bad guys as consistently enjoyable as Goggins does. Boyd has many great one liners, but he is more than just his ability to turn a phrase. He is one of the best written and performed characters on tv, but has only been nominated once for his efforts. Hopefully he can earn a couple more before the show finishes.
18: Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan)-30 Rock
30 Rock is one of the best comedies of the past 20 years and Tracy Jordan was one of the funniest characters on the show. Taking elements from a few different celebrities, Tracy is one of the most outrageous characters in recent memory. Because of Morgan’s delivery, the insane dialogue is even funnier, but he was one of the least recognized cast members on the show, being nominated only once for his role, which is disgraceful for a man who lived every week like it’s Shark Week.
17: Roger Sterling (John Slattery)-Mad Men
Mad Men is arguably the best drama currently on television and has won more than its share of Emmys. The acting categories have been neglected, however, as you will see more of shortly. Slattery plays one of the more enjoyable characters on the show and has given one of the best shows on television some of its best moments. Without him, it’s plausible the show wouldn’t have won as many Emmys as it has, but it’s a shame he hasn’t been personally recognized.
16: Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss)-Mad Men
Continuing with the Mad Men snubs, Moss has played one of the best characters currently on television but hasn’t taken the award home yet. She is nominated this year and has a good chance to win, but so far, she, like her other costars haven’t been recognized for their individual contributions to the show. Olson has developed very much over the past few seasons and that is owed in no small part to Moss’ work.
15: Jemaine & Bret (Jemaine Clement & Bret McKenzie)-Flight of the Conchords
This is a bit of a loophole. These two comprise the titular band on Flight of the Conchords, so I felt it was fair to list them together. While only Jemaine was nominated for acting, they were both nominated for writing, best song, and as producers. Bret went on to win an Oscar for his work on The Muppets, but they both went home empty handed at the Emmys. Any fan of the show will tell you that’s a mutha-uckin shame.
14: Various Characters (Harry Shearer)-The Simpsons
Harry Shearer may not be the most recognizable name on this list, but he has provided one of the best shows of all time several of its best characters. He is also the only regular voice actor on The Simpsons that has never won an Emmy for his efforts. For a show that has a wealth of characters, I think it’s only fair that everyone that has had a hand in bringing those characters to life get some recognition for their efforts. It doesn’t hurt that Shearer voices many of the best.
13: Various Characters (Dave Chappelle)-Chappelle’s Show
(Editor’s Note: I had too hard a time selecting between Dave as Rick James, Prince, R. Kelly, Dylan, Silky Johnson, etc. so I chose Dave as himself) Chappelle’s Show was one of the most brilliant, ahead of its time show that I’ve ever watched. Dave made some of the funniest television moments ever. While some of the snub can be attributed to the sudden end to the show, it’s still a shame that Dave Chappelle didn’t win an Emmy for his show.
12: Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman)-Arrested Development
Now the story of a terrific television show, and the man who played the one son who had no choice but to keep them all together. It’s Jason Bateman on Arrested Development. All references aside, Bateman was the backbone of one of the best shows of all time. He is nominated this year for the long-awaited 4th season, so he could rectify this oversight, but until then, Bateman will have to remain here. Here? (Sorry for the shoddy references, but hey, maybe you chuckled. That’s why I do it. For small chuckles.)
11: Norm Peterson (George Wendt)-Cheers
NORM! In a place where everybody knows your name, George Wendt played one of the funnier characters. Always quick with a quip about how poor his life was, he constantly made us laugh at his pain. Without him, Cheers wouldn’t have been as great. It’s a shame that he wasn’t able to take home an award despite six nominations. Norm probably wouldn’t have been surprised given that he always considered the beer glass empty…primarily because he drank it.
10: Various Characters (Saturday Night Live)/Leslie Knope (Parks & Recreation)-Amy Poehler
With a combined eight nominations, Amy Poehler has yet to take home an Emmy despite outstanding work on a television institution and on what is currently the best comedy on tv. A nominee this year, she could take home the award, but it’s a shame she hasn’t won one yet. It’s ok, Amy. We love you and we like you.
9: Cliff Clavin (John Ratzenberger)-Cheers
Everyone’s favorite know-it-all, Cliff Clavin was brilliantly played by John Ratzenberger. While Norm may be most people’s favorite, I have a soft spot for Cliff. Nominated twice, Ratzenberger went home as empty-handed as Cliff did when he appeared on Jeopardy. However, he played a large part in making Cheers as great as it was, and the show wouldn’t have been the same without everybody’s favorite loudmouthed postal worker.
8: Gustavo Fring (Giancarlo Esposito)-Breaking Bad
To be fair, when Esposito lost, it was to costar Aaron Paul which isn’t exactly a travesty, because Paul is superb. However, being one of the best antagonists in television history means he should have earned a victory or at the very least more than just one nomination. Esposito played this character with a mix of quiet dignity and unsettling terror. Without him, Heisenberg may not have become the monster he currently is, and for being the catalyst in that development, Esposito deserved an award.
7: Chandler Bing (Matthew Perry)-Friends
While all three of the men on Friends were nominated but never won, the biggest disappointment is that Perry didn’t win. Chandler is the funniest character on one of the most popular shows of all time. The fact he didn’t win is a shame because without him, Friends wouldn’t have been anywhere near as enjoyable as it was.
6: Dr. Jennifer Melfi (Lorraine Bracco)-The Sopranos
Dr. Melfi brought a moral balance to The Sopranos, making Tony heavily ponder just why he was making the decisions he made. That relationship was one of the best things about arguably the best show of all time. So, it’s a shame that despite four nominations, Bracco didn’t ever win an Emmy. Without her, the show may not have been as complex and multi-faceted as it was. With her, it became one of the best shows ever.
5: Al Swearengen (Ian McShane)-Deadwood
Al Swearengen has about the most appropriate name of any character of all time, considering he used more expletives than any character I can remember. However, he was more than just a foul mouth. He was also smart, diabolical, and one of the best characters I’ve ever enjoyed watching. McShane dominated Deadwood, but lost to James Spader the only time he was nominated. It’s a shame because he was one of the first anti-heroes that we currently enjoy on television. If you haven’t watched this show yet, give it a watch, because it is fantastic.
4: G.O.B. Bluth (Will Arnett)-Arrested Development
GOB is my favorite character from Arrested Development. Whether it be his illusions, his chicken dance, or making a huge mistake, he was consistently hilarious. However, he was nominated just once for his outstanding work. He deserved a nomination this year, but unfortunately it wasn’t in the cards. Without Arnett, Arrested Development wouldn’t have been anywhere near as brilliant as it was, but he didn’t get his proper respect from the Emmys, which is a huge mistake.
3: Don Draper (Jon Hamm)-Mad Men
Don Draper is my 2nd favorite leading man on television right now behind Walter White. Hamm plays Draper brilliantly and has earned seven nominations for Mad Men including this year. Every year I think it’ll be his turn, but so far, he hasn’t been that lucky. This could be his year, but until they call his name, he’ll be one of the most snubbed characters of all time and the highest one still on television.
2: Michael Scott (Steve Carell)-The Office (US)
Michael Scott is one of the funniest characters of all time. Carell was nominated nine times including his nominations as a producer but never took the award home. While you can argue The Office peaked in its first half (and you would be right), Carell was consistently great until the end. He made us laugh, he made us cry, he made us shake our head in disbelief that someone could be so oblivious. He deserved a win, and the fact he didn’t is an enormous shame.
1: George Costanza (Jason Alexander)-Seinfeld
Jason Alexander is the only one of the four main actors on Seinfeld that didn’t win an Emmy for his work (Jerry won as a producer) which is a shame because he may have been the funniest. George was one of the unluckiest, most shallow people of all time, but he was undeniably hilarious. The Marine Biologist, Vandelay Industries, Shrinkage, and hundreds of other classic moments are owed to George Costnaza, and it’s inexcusable that despite seven nominations, he didn’t win a single time.
So, there they are, the top 25 actors/characters that were nominated but never won Emmys in addition to the top 5 that were nominated for something besides their best characters. Feel free to comment on people you think I missed, or how you would rerank them.
Hope you liked this post, and I hope you like what else I have to say.