Biggest Emmy Snubs in History

Ay, There's the Snub: 15 Actors Who Unbelievably Never Won an Emmy

With the announcement of the nominees for the 68th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards less than a month away, we thought we’d take a moment to speak directly to those actors who, no matter how brilliant their work has been this year, won’t win — and might not even get nominated. Our message to them?

Don’t feel bad. You’re in extraordinary company.

In fact, if you scroll through our gallery of egregious Emmy snubs, we bet you’ll realize pretty quickly the eliteness of the club to which you belong. And yes, whether you’re an actor with an unfortunate Emmy history, you can look, too.

After you check out our picks (and pics), hit the comments with the actors who you think our list of snubs… well, snubbed!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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67 Comments
  1. Marco says:

    Tatiana Maslany?

    • Right? They really want to compare Lauren Graham with Tatiana Maslany?

      I’d known Maslany for a long time (from Being Erica) before Orphan Black, and I had no idea the woman was such an acting monster in the best sense of the word! No one’s done what she’s done on tv in an even close capacity! I hate how undervalued her work is by EVERYONE!

    • Joey Connick says:

      This list is completely meaningless without her inclusion, I agree. Although Eva Green’s spot helps improve it a bit

    • MBF says:

      Couldn’t believe she was left off this list. With one season left hopefully they recognize her genius on this show. Such incredible acting to be able to portray not just half the cast of a show and make such individualized characters, but then to play those characters playing each other. It makes my head spin just thinking about it!

  2. DC says:

    #LAURENGRAHAMEMMY Next year!!!!
    Lauren’s acting is totally under-rated & she’s amazing

  3. Steven says:

    How is John Noble not on this list for his 5 amazing years on Fringe. He could make you laugh and cry in the same sentence. I’d also like to throw Courteney Cox’s name out there. 10 years on Friends and she’s the only one to never win the gold?!

  4. Kayte CookWatts says:

    It just goes to show you that talent, like beauty, is very subjective because I thought Katy Segal’s acting was so terrible on that show that I couldn’t watch it.

  5. Cas says:

    I agree with this entire list!

  6. Lala says:

    Katey Sagal…Yes!
    Pretty sure Eva is going to be snubbed again this year…which is sad.
    I disagree when it comes to Lauren Graham, Kelly Bishop maybe… you cannot call it snubbed when the show its self never delivered Emmy-worthy material.

  7. Cassie says:

    It does seem surprising that Hugh Laurie never won an Emmy for House but, in all sincerity, his competition was fierce. James Spader, IMO, gave the best performances in his Boston Legal courtroom scenes that I have ever seen. Five minutes of dialogue which I read were filmed in a single shot. Absolutely amazing acting. Then, just as Boston Legal went off the air and I thought it was Hugh’s time to finally win, Bryan Cranston came along with one of TV’s best shows. I didn’t watch Breaking Bad for the first couple of seasons and when they called Bryan’s name over Hugh’s I thought, “The guy from Malcolm and the Middle”? Finally, I watched the show and was blown away by Bryan’s performance. Hopefully, Hugh will finally be rewarded for his work on VEEP.

  8. Bozo says:

    John Noble deserves to be on this list for Fringe. He was amazing as Walter Bishop!

  9. Alex says:

    Vera Farmiga ?

  10. George says:

    Purely from a statistical standpoint I always thought it was crazy Angela Lansbury never won for MSW. You would have thought with that many nominations they would have at least Jon Hamm’d it to her in the end.

  11. Lerbert says:

    Adding Michael Cudlitz to the list!

  12. Jan says:

    John Noble and Martin Sheen. John Noble still makes me cry in Fringe and Martin Sheen stole even the smallest scenes in the west wing

  13. Steven says:

    I can’t believe Michael didn’t include Keri Russell on this list!

  14. Evelyn says:

    Jonny Lee Miller does an amazing job as Sherlock Holmes! Every year, he is completely overlooked. I think it’s time for a new voting committee! Why are some shows nominated year after year after year??

  15. Ron says:

    I’ve always been, and still am, baffled and upset about Poehler and Lansbury. I mean, HOW????? Egregious!

  16. makparis says:

    Very good choices. I would add Jensen Ackles and John Noble to that list. Anyone who’s seen seasons 4 and 5 of Supernatural knows that Jensen is one of the best actors on television. Seeing as the CW was completely ignored until recently and he is on a supernatural show, he never stood a chance. At least he had a few Daytime Emmy nominations, but his best work has been on Supernatural. Additionally, John Noble on Fringe was down right AMAZING and deserved at least a nomination. Emmy’s suck.

  17. sj says:

    Sarah Michelle Gellar has a daytime emmy for All My Children.

  18. Tina says:

    Mary Mcdonnell should have been nominated for her work as Laura Roslin on Battlestar Galactica. A hauntingly good performance from start to finish.

  19. Jimmy says:

    Lauren Graham and Katey Sagal are probably the most egregious snubs on that list. As much as I loved Buffy I never really thought Sarah Michelle Gellar was a particularly strong actress. She did win an Emmy, albeit a Daytime Emmy.

  20. Joey says:

    I know you were just making a joke, but Angel could’ve gotten a tan if he hadn’t smashed the Gem of Amara…

  21. Andrew says:

    Thanks for leaving Vera Farmiga off the list, TVLine!

  22. Amanda says:

    John Noble not ever getting a nomination is the reason is the reason award shows no longer hold value to me.

  23. pamill says:

    A few more :
    – MATTHEW PERRY – Not even a nomination. After 10 seasons of Friends.
    – COURTNEY COX – Ditto + 6 seasons of Cougar Town.
    – EMILY VANCAMP – Everwood, Brothers & Sisters, Revenge. 4 (!) season each.
    – JANE KRAKOWSKI – Ally McBeal (5 seasons), 30 Rock (7), Kimmy Schmidt (2).
    – MARCIA CROSS – Kimberly and Bree. Two pitch-perfect tv legends. Zero nods.
    – HAYDEN PANETTIERE – Also two great roles. (Save) The Cheerleader and Juliette.
    – CONNIE BRITTON – Not for FNL. Not for AHS. Not for Nashville. Got the nods at least.
    – ELLEN POMPEO – 12 seasons, getting stronger with each one. Not even a nomination.
    – KRISTEN BELL – Don’t even get me started. Veronica effin’ Mars !!!
    – CALISTA FLOCKHART – Shocked she didn’t win for Ally McBeal and never was nominated for Brothers & Sisters. Could her scenestealing Cat Grant be the ticket ? Doubt it.

  24. CK says:

    I’m a huge Buffy fan, but with the exception of 2 seasons and a small spattering of episodes, I completely understand why Sarah Michelle Geller is Emmy less for that show.

    • QueenB says:

      Correct me if I’m wrong but an actor or actress submits a single episode for consideration and the voters chose who they think gave the best performance? SMG gave an acting masterclass in The Body (one long take)which warranted not only a nomination and a win. Her performance was pitch perfect she gave several perfect performances as Buffy Summers

  25. Kate says:

    How could you miss including Martin Sheen for The West Wing on your list??? Hands down the most egregious Emmy snub in the past 15 years. The whole series is full of incredible moments from him – particularly Two Cathedrals.

  26. J Frost says:

    In reply to Pamill:

    Your list is inaccurate. A simple check of Imdb or Wiki would show you that some of the actors/actresses you mention HAVE been nominated. It’s quite easy to do two secs of research before you go off on a rant about something…

    Case in point:
    Matthew Perry nominated for lead actor in a comedy for Friends 2002 / Season 8. Nominated twice for guest actor in a drama series for the West Wing and also for a TV movie/mini-series in 2007.

    Marcia Cross nominated for lead actress in a comedy for Desperate Housewives / Season 1

    There you go. I’ve filled in your blanks. Also for the record I don’t think Perry should have won – nominated yes but Cross should have won without a shadow of a doubt for Bree Van De Kamp. She’s an incredibly gifted actress and I’m loving her in Quantico.

  27. Btm says:

    Sarah Michelle Gellar does not belong on this list. She won an Emmy for the role of Kendall Hart on All My Children.

  28. Bec says:

    I would add John C. McGinley to this list, his work on Scrubs was phenomenal.

  29. Kia says:

    David Boreanaz?

    • mooshki says:

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Thanks, I needed that gut-busting laugh! Hey, I love the guy, but a brilliant actor he is not.

    • kmw says:

      Yes both him and Emily Deschanel. Boreanaz at least should have won one for his directing episodes, but the Emmys( generally) don’t like procedurals but even though it will never happen they both are award winners to me. Also Courteney Cox from Friends really deserved one she was terrific and underrated. I agree with everyone you listed as well

  30. Gisèle says:

    You forgot Kate Mulgrew. You can think and say what you want about Kathryn Janeway in Star Trek Trek: Voyager but Mulgrew’s performance, was never faulted. And we can say the same thing about her role pf Red in OITNB,

  31. EMMY FOR EMMY ROSSUM!!! says:

    U didn’t put EMMY ROSSUM on that list?! That list automatically lost all credibility.

  32. Leo Wyatt says:

    Um why are Tatiana Maslany ,Elizabeth Mitchell,Ellen Pompeo,Emily VanCamp and Lea Michele missing from this list

  33. TvLover says:

    Wow, that’s crazy how many great actors have been snubbed by the Emmy’s over the years and continue to be snubbed.
    The two I would add to this list would be Tatiana Maslany, just a shame. And Emmy Rossum.

  34. You forgot Elizabeth Mitchell for LOST.

  35. steffi says:

    missing from this list: Toby Stephens for Captain Flint in Black Sails

  36. whisperintherain says:

    To this day, I am still baffled that while nominated every single year the show was on, Jane Kaczmarek never once won for her stellar work as Lois on Malcolm in the Middle!

  37. QueenB says:

    SMG deserved to win the Emmy for The Body. An epic performance from an amazing actress on an amazing show!

  38. I think you’ve missed to mention Mary McDonnell for Laura Roslin in Battlestar Galactica

  39. GMB says:

    Christopher Meloni! He played Detective Elliot Stabler on Law & Order SVU for twelve years with only one nomination. His co-star, Mariska Hargitay, was nominated eight times during the same period and won once, the same year Christopher was nominated. His SVU performances were far more real and engaging than Mariska ever considered giving!

  40. Shar says:

    Where some of these are more emotion based than talent oriented, may I also include Mark Harmon? Long before he was Gibbs, he was nominated several times for his work. His work in the Deliberate Stranger as Ted Bundy was amazing and so unlike anything he had done before.

  41. Andrea says:

    This goes to the larger argument in the Emmys…that more often than not, you have to be on a show of “standing” like Mad Men, The Good Wife, etc. Occasionally, everyday shows like Scandal or HTGAWM creep in there, but we don’t see that often. There can be Emmy-worthy performances in average, everyday, procedural, or whatever word you want to use, but those types of shows aren’t considered on the same level, and I think we see that in the drama nominations. (Comedies seem a bit more balanced in terms of representation.) I agree about Johnny Lee Miller and John Noble on Elementary, and I think Hayden Pantierre is at least worthy of a nomination for her work on Nashville. However, I doubt we’ll see any of that happen, and I think it has as much to do with the perception of the show itself as it does the actual performance

  42. Andrea says:

    I’ve tried to post a longer comment that the site doesn’t seem to like, so I’ll shorten it. While we do see everyday dramas like Scandal and HTGAWM get nominations and wins, I still think there’s a bias against dramas like Nashville and Elementary. (With representation from Big Bang and Modern Family, there seems to be more balance in the comedy categories. I’d agree that Johnny Lee Miller, John Noble, and Hayden Pantierre are all worthy of nominations, but we’ll likely never see it. I think it’s unfair to put a show like Elementary on the same plane as a show like Game of Thrones or Masters of Sex.

  43. SassyAF28 says:

    where’s connie britton omfg

  44. Ria says:

    Vera Farmiga!

  45. Gail says:

    I believe Elizabeth Montgomery never won for Bewitched or any of the TV movie roles like ” The Legend of Lizzie Borden”

  46. Kayla says:

    Hugh Laurie and John Noble are the ones that get me. It’s so weird seeing John Noble in another role, because his portrayal of Walter was so convincing I forget that the actor himself has all of his faculties. And Hugh Laurie’s portrayal of House is just unbelievable. The American accent and limp, the perfect delivery of the biting snark, and the incredible amount of time he was onscreen are all amazing.

  47. Spence says:

    Amy Poehler (and the show as a whole) bring countlessly ignored will always bother me. They missed a chance to recognize what will forever be one of the best tv comedies.

  48. fjjvkmcv says:

    Shannen Doherty deserved emmy for fantastic potrayal of Prue Halliwell. Also Elizabeth Mitchell – Juliet Burke was snubbed for The End same as Matthew Fox!

  49. HAP says:

    The very talented Emmy Rossum has never gotten a nomination!