A By-The-Numbers Look At Some Of The Biggest Losers In Primetime Emmys History

Jon Hamm is a loser. Sure, he might be handsome, charming as hell, a fellow St. Louis Cardinals fan, and have a smile that can stop traffic and a bulge that breaks cameras. He’s also as compassionate and kind as the most giving of Hollywood’s elite, and to wrap it all up into one damn-near-perfect bundle, he’s one of the funniest men in the world when he wants to be. But at the end of the day, and especially Monday night, Jon Hamm is a loser in the eyes of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, because he just can’t seem to win a damn Emmy already.

Things won’t change for Hamm on Monday night either, unless there’s some sort of miracle in Mad Men’s favor that causes Breaking Bad and True Detective to be disqualified for using performance-enhancing drugs. To say he’s a longshot to break his Emmy curse is an understatement, as he’s set to lose for an acting performance for the tenth time since 2008. The man who plays Don Draper on Mad Men has been nominated for Outstanding Actor in a Drama seven times including this year, and he has lost all six of his previous nominations. On top of that, he was nominated three times for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for his performances as Dr. Drew Baird on 30 Rock and lost all of them (twice to stupid, sexy Justin Timberlake), and if we really wanted to pile on this poor, pathetic, perennial Sexiest Man Alive candidate, we could also include that Mad Men hasn’t won for Outstanding Drama Series since Hamm was promoted to producer status. That’s 11 losses, and most certainly 13 when all of my incredibly accurate predictions come true on Monday night.

In Hamm’s handsome defense, though, he’s hardly alone when it comes to being a loser that we should all laugh at because he’s a great actor but not the best. Television is full of actors, shows, writers, directors, etc. that are annually on the cusp of greatness but never quite grab the gold. Look at Harry Shearer, for example. As The Simpsons marathon is underway today, we can watch in awe at the fact that it took him 25 seasons before he finally won an Emmy for his work on the series, despite providing some of the best characters’ voices. What’s even more amazing is that Shearer had only been nominated one other time for The Simpsons, and that was in 2009. The Emmys are a bizarre, unfair science if anything else. Just ask these people…

Whenever people talk about so-called Emmy snubs, Courteney Cox is always in a special category of her own, because she was never nominated for Friends. Lisa Kudrow picked up a Supporting Actress Emmy in 1998 for her role as Phoebe (the quirky one!), while Jennifer Aniston struck out in the same category in 2000 and 2001 before she big-timed her female co-stars by jumping into the Outstanding Lead Actress category and somehow winning in 2002. Even David Schwimmer was nominated for an Emmy in 1995, and he played arguably the worst character ever written for TV. Ultimately, a case could be made that Friends, despite its bizarre success on both NBC and in vast, ridiculous syndication, was a terrible show, and Cox’s routine shouting was endearing to no one.

Speaking of the golden years of NBC programming, if you want to talk about snubs and robberies, Seinfeld winning Outstanding Comedy Series in 1993 was great, but the series losing that same Emmy the next five years to Frasier was, is and always will be criminal. (Still, Seinfeld actually won and went on to make gazillions in syndication, so I don’t think this matters to anyone but us rabid fans who believe that time travel should be invented just so we can go back and correct the injustices of Emmys past.)

During its run, Entourage was nominated for 25 Emmy Awards, winning six times. Three of those were for Outstanding Supporting Actor (Jeremy Piven, all three times) and the other three were for the very important category of Sound Mixing (2007, 2009-10). Unfortunately for dudes and bros everywhere, the HBO series went 0-for-3 for Outstanding Comedy Series from 2007-09.

Modern Family’s Sofia Vergara isn’t nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for the first time since 2010, perhaps because she needed a break or maybe a repetitive gimmick was getting old for some people. Either way, in those four years that she was nominated, Vergara never won for her role as Gloria Delgado-Pritchett. Her castmate Julie Bowen won twice in that period, and while it’s not really worth mentioning, even Jaime Pressly has a win in that category and that kind of has to sting for any actress who doesn’t win.

Jennifer Garner picked a bad time to become the star of a popular espionage series on ABC, as she was nominated for Outstanding Actress in a Drama for Alias each year from 2002 to 2006. This, of course, is what at least one TV historian (*points to self, shrugs*) refers to as “That Time When Nobody Could Beat Allison Janney or Edie Falco.” Except for 2006, of course, when Patricia Arquette won for Medium over Glenn Close on The Shield, because Emmy voters apparently love heroin.

Like Hamm, Jesse Tyler Ferguson is probably hoping to break out of his own Emmy slump on Monday, as he is nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for the fifth year in a row for Modern Family. In three of the last four years, Ferguson has lost to his castmates Eric Stonestreet (twice) and Ty Burrell. As I’ve predicted that Modern Family won’t win the Outstanding Comedy Emmy again this year, Ferguson’s win would be a nice consolation prize. Win or lose, at least he still gets into the Emmy spirit.

You know how when really famous people win awards, they say things like, “I’m just happy to be nominated alongside these incredibly talented people”? Michael C. Hall could have said that just for being nominated for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series for Dexter five years in a row, and we would have all believed it, because there was no way in hell he was going to beat the Bryan Cranston steamroller of 2008-10 or Damien Lewis in 2012. The only time he had to strike was in 2011 when Cranston and Breaking Bad were on vacation, and he couldn’t even murder Coach Taylor.

Trivia time: Is it a crime that Steve Carell lost Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series six years in a row for The Office (2006-11)? Or is it a crime that Ricky Gervais has only won two Primetime Emmys while being nominated for 20 (21, including this year’s Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series for Derek)?

Answer: This wasn’t really a trivia question. I just wanted to point out that the Emmys should create more awards so that there are less losers.

I don’t think I need to remind everyone how big of a deal it was that Bob Newhart finally won an Emmy last year for his guest appearance on The Big Bang Theory, but just in case… The year was 2013 and the nation was on the edge of its collective seat to see if a comedy legend would finally win a gold statue for a role that he had on a show that nerds love! Yadda yadda yadda, he did and it ended his run of six nominations without a win.

Sex and the City was nominated for 47 Emmys between 1998 and 2003 but only won seven times. Fortunately, those wins included Outstanding Comedy Series in 2000, Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series in 2003 for Sarah Jessica Parker and Outstanding Supporting Actress in 2003 for Cynthia Nixon, who beat her co-stars Kim Cattrall and Kristin Davis. The show’s writers, however, weren’t as celebrated by their TV peers, striking out seven times.

Here’s one for your parents or all the hipsters out there who believe that TV after 1990 was pure garbage compared to the classics. Hal Linden lost Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series from 1976-82 for Barney Miller. In his defense, though, he had some pretty tough competition from the legendary Carroll O’Connor, and far more importantly, Jack Albertson, who won for Chico and the Man in 1976.

Forget Courteney Cox, people. The real actress whose face should be found right next to “robbed like cray cray,” or perhaps another, adult phrase, is Jane Kaczmarek, who was nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series seven times for Malcolm in the Middle and never won. She lost to everyone from Patricia Heaton to Julia Louis-Dreyfus (that other, non-Seinfeld show she was on), and even Jennifer Aniston’s nipples in 2002.

As far as the role that he was best known for in regard to his television career, John Goodman found little Emmy success as Dan Conner on Roseanne. He was nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series every year from 1989 to 1995, but thanks to big, old jerks like Ted Danson, Craig T. Nelson, Kelsey Grammer, Burt Reynolds, and John Lithgow, he never won. Goodman has been nominated for 11 Emmys in his career, and his only win came for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. In fact, that’s the only way we remember that show ever existed.

Closing out the “Unlucky 7 Club” is Julia Duffy, who was nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress seven times for Newhart. In case you’re not good at following trends, she never won either. I’d expect that to be obvious by now.

30 Rock, perhaps the greatest show ever created, was celebrated as the Outstanding Comedy Series three times, but when it came to the people directing those amazing and hilarious episodes? Zilch. 30 Rock was nominated eight times for Outstanding Directing, including three episodes in 2009 – “Apollo, Apollo,” “Generalissimo” and “Reunion,” which is one of the best episodes of television ever created – but none of those directors, and specifically Beth McCarth-Miller, who was nominated three times, took home the gold.

The Andy Griffith Show was nominated for nine Emmys from 1961-1963 and ‘66 and ‘67, and not a single one of them was for the titular star. I know that makes the number a little misleading, but OUTRAGE!!! Don Knotts won for his role as Barney Fife in each of those years, but the show never won as a series (it lost to The Monkees in ’67, because people LOVED smoking marijuana cigarettes in the ‘60s). Griffith was also never nominated for Matlock, which is going to infuriate your grandparents even more.

Despite being a big star on the popular TV series Bewitched, Elizabeth Montgomery was nominated nine times in her career (five for Bewitched), but never won.

Curb Your Enthusiasm has been nominated for an incredible 39 Primetime Emmys, including seven for Outstanding Comedy Series, 10 for Outstanding Directing and five for Outstanding Lead Actor for Larry David. However, the show has only won twice – once for Outstanding Directing in 2003 and the other in 2012 for Outstanding Single Camera Picture Editing, whatever the hell that means.

We are legally required to mention in any post about actors and personalities on TV that have lost at the Emmys multiple times that Susan Lucci was once the queen of losing with 19 consecutive nominations without a victory. Sure, it was only the Daytime Emmys and the only award that actually matters at that event is Outstanding Game Show Host, so long as Steve Harvey wins every year for the rest of time, but people still love talking about this story every single year.

American Idol finally won a Creative Arts Emmy in 2007 after being nominated and losing 22 times in its first six seasons. Still, Fox’s talent show has never won Outstanding Reality Competition in nine nominations, and it hasn’t been nominated since 2011. To add insult to injury, NBC’s The Voice won the Outstanding Reality Competition Emmy in just its second season.

Bill Maher was basically the biggest Emmy loser in history, but a Creative Arts Emmy win for Vice finally ended his incredible shutout. Until this year, the host of HBO’s Real Time had 0 wins in 32 nominations for performing, writing and producing a variety of shows and performances over his long career. He’s also nominated this year as an executive producer for Real Time, but that will probably lose to The Daily Show or The Colbert Report, so it’s a good thing that his work as a producer on Vice was good enough to include him in the win column. Still, even if the shutout was still intact, Maher would be fine, because… he’s a gangsta.

(As always, this is not a comprehensive list, so if one of your favorite actors is a bigger loser than those mentioned, feel free to stick up for him or her. Unless they were on Friends.)