Bruce Campbell really wants an Emmy. Point of fact: Starz really wants its Ash vs Evil Dead star to get at least an Emmy nomination in the Outstanding Lead Actor In A Comedy Series category — the same award won by Transparent‘s Jeffrey Tambor last year, and The Big Bang Theory‘s Jim Parsons nearly every other year prior. They want it so bad, they’re lobbying Emmy voters with the #Ash4Emmy Twitter campaign and commercials featuring Campbell in character as Ashley “Ash” J. Williams. And you know what? The 58-year-old actor deserves the nomination and, if possible, the award itself. Not because Ash vs Evil Dead was one of the year’s best television comedies, because it wasn’t, though the clever series had more ups than downs. Rather, Television Academy voters should honor Campbell for how heartbreakingly funny his portrayal of a loser-turned-heroic loser often is — even in the midst of monsters, mayhem and general debauchery.
Campbell is one of the country’s most famous B-movie actors, a fact he embraced long before the 2002 publication of his first book, If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor. With high school friend Sam Raimi, he made The Evil Dead in 1981 — a cult classic among horror and comedy aficionados that spawned two sequels, a remake, and the current series. Yet Campbell’s acting prowess extends well beyond the confines of his iconic chainsaw-wielding anti-hero. From an aging Elvis impersonator in the 2002 horror-comedy Bubba Ho-Tep, to presidential candidate Ronald Reagan in the phenomenal second season of Fargo, the popular character actor’s oeuvre is a banquet of tasty treats.
Unfortunately, none of these other roles put Campbell in either the “leading” or “supporting” awards categories. Sure, Bubba Ho-Tep earned him Best Actor trophies from Fangoria, the Fantasporto International Fantasy Film Festival, and the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival; the Evil Dead movies and show have picked up occasional accolades; and, yes, his turn as Burn Notice‘s Sam Axe scored Campbell a Satellite Award nomination. But the Emmys? Nada. But this year offers several possibilities, including one for “Outstanding Guest Actor In A Drama Series.”
On Monday, November 9, 2015, “The Gift of the Magi,” the fifth episode of Fargo‘s fantastic second season, aired on FX. It’s also the day audiences saw Campbell’s brilliantly homey take on Reagan. His Gipper never devolved into straight mimicry, instead bringing to life writers Matt Wolpert and Ben Nedivi’s plausible lines. As our own Brian Grubb wrote, almost nothing compares to the scene in which the White House hopeful “[stands] at a urinal and [compares] Lou’s story about the evils of war to a movie he starred in once that he doesn’t remember the ending of.” The first season received a whopping 18 Emmy nominations, and the second is bound to garner a few more, so why not acknowledge Campbell with one?