There are some really good shows and actors who have never won an Emmy. That shouldn’t be held against them. Winning an Emmy isn’t just about talent. It’s also about timing, ratings, and being the right ‘type’ of show. Shows with complicated or controversial plots storylines have very little chance. Actors who play nice guys always lose. Shows about space…well… just forget it.
Here are just a few of the Emmys’ best oversights and the possible reasons behind them:
EVERYONE HATES A STRAIGHT MAN
Though the show was named after him, Andy Griffith never got a Best Actor in a Comedy Series nomination from the Emmy voters. And it’s not like they didn’t appreciate The Andy Griffith Show. The show got a handful of Best Comedy nominations. And sidekick Don Knotts, as eye-rolling deputy Barney Fife, won four Emmys. I suspect voters didn’t quite appreciate Griffith’s work as the subtle ‘straight’ man on the show – the one character who held everything together.
Co-star Ron Howard later experienced the same problem with Happy Days. Although the Fonz got three Emmy noms, Howard’s more subtle work as red-headed teen Richie Cunningham went unrecognized:
And don’t get me going about Desi Arnaz. On four occasions, I Love Lucy won awards for best comedy, actress (Lucille Ball), supporting actor (William Frawley), and supporting actress (Vivian Vance). But nothing for the Cuban band leader? Emmys! You’ve got some splainin’ to do.
IT’S JUST TOO GRIM/TOO COMPLICATED/TOO DIFFERENT
It’s notable that both Homicide and The Wire – considered two of the best crime dramas EVER – were created by the same guy (David Simon). And, in both cases, the shows were largely ignored by the Emmy Awards. Oh, they got a few nods for writing over the years, but neither was ever nominated for Best Drama.
Perhaps the ensemble dramas were just a little too gritty for most folks’ tastes. Or maybe they were just too relentlessly depressing. It’s hard to say. Despite the Emmy snubs, both shows continue to grow in popularity years after their cancellation:
HIGH CONCEPT/LOW EMMY EXPECTATIONS
If you had to list the most influential shows of the last two decades or so, it would be CSI and Law & Order. Both are much-loved, much-imitated, high concept shows where the characters are secondary to the torn-from-the-headline crime story. Yet despite the fact they add up to 33 years on the air, it has added up to only one win for Best Drama (for Law & Order).
Really? You dominate the dramatic landscape for two decades and that’s all you get – one win? Now that’s a crime…
NICE GUYS FINISH LAST
Michael Landon was real popular. His two hits – Bonanza and Little House on The Prairie – appealed to everyone from ages three to 90. They were family shows – about families – with Michael playing it straight and nice.
Maybe that explains why Landon never got an acting nomination in 23 years of success on the air. Maybe his work just looked too effortless:
Courteney Cox played the normal and nice character on Friends. The worst you could say about Monica Geller was she was a clean freak. Maybe that explains why, in the 10 year run of the series, every cast member got an Emmy nomination except her. Worse for Courteney was the fact her two female co-stars – Lisa Kudrow and Jennifer Aniston – both won.
SPACE – THE FINAL INSULT
Somewhere along the line, the Emmy voters decided that anything set in space was too stupid to win. But it wasn’t always that way. Back when Star Trek first aired (1966-1969), the show earned two Emmy nominations for Best Drama, and three more for acting (Leonard Nimoy). Altogether, the five Star Trek shows have combined for 33 wins and 155 nominations – all but one was in a technical category. Only one nomination was for Best Drama (The Next Generation) and none were for acting. Really? Not even Patrick Stewart? Come on! Make it so: