Since the first-ever Emmy ceremony in 1949, the awards have aimed to reward the top television talent in acting, directing, writing, production, and more. Back in the 1940s, tickets cost $5 and only six awards were given. Today, the Television Academy comprises of over 23,000 members who are divided into 30 voting groups depending on their speciality. In fact, there are so many statuettes to give out that the Emmys now take place over a three-day period. Still, among those many prizes, the acting awards are among the most coveted.
Often times, the voters succeed at rewarding TV’s top talent. On other occasions, the Academy misses the mark. As a result, some vaunted actors who have been nominated countless times have gone home empty-handed despite immense performances.
Which television stars have been nominated for the Emmys but have never won? The answers may surprise you. Stacker took a look at some of the world’s most accomplished actors who have been snubbed by the Emmys again and again.
Actress Robin Wright’s first Emmy nomination came in 1986—a Daytime Emmy nod, that is, for her work on the soap opera “Santa Barbara.” This is the first of three such noms. After starring on the big screen in “The Princess Bride,” “Forrest Gump,” and others, the Primetime Emmy Awards were also a swing and a miss for Wright. She received nods for her Netflix series "House of Cards" for five consecutive years starting in 2013, plus two nominations for Outstanding Drama Series as the show’s executive producer. However, she has never won an Emmy.
Though Duchovny earned heartthrob status as Fox Mulder on “The X-Files,” he never earned an Emmy for the role, despite two nominations. Two other nominations for “Life with Bonnie” and “The Larry Sanders Show” didn’t pan out, either—and he was never nominated for an Emmy for his starring role in Showtime’s acclaimed “Californication.”
Playing secretary-turned-partner Joan on “Mad Men” earned Hendricks a place in pop culture history and six Emmy nominations, but no statuettes for her acting. In fact, despite nearly three dozen collective nominations, the only actor to win Emmys from “Mad Men” was star Jon Hamm—after eight years of misses.
If noms without wins were a race, Angela Lansbury would best everyone on this list. The actress has earned a whopping 18 nominations. Some thought that the 92-year-old actress had another shot at finally breaking the drought this year for her role as Aunt March on “Little Women,” but she was overlooked.
Schwimmer was first nominated for goofball paleontologist Ross Geller on “Friends” in 1995. He lost, but was nominated again 11 years later for playing Kardashian patriarch Robert on “American Crime Story.”
Leary got two nominations for his work on “Rescue Me” from 2005 to 2007. He had another go at it with a supporting nod for “Recount,” but lost out to Tom Wilkinson in “John Adams.”
While he has won three Golden Globes for his performance as the title character on “House M.D.,” Laurie’s six Emmy nominations never resulted in a win. Neither did he win his supporting actor nom for “The Night Manager,” his guest acting nom for “Veep,” nor his two producer noms. That’s 0 for 10.
TV powerhouse Connie Britton made a splash on “Spin City,” “24,” and “The West Wing,” but her first Emmy nomination wasn’t until 2010 for her role as Tami Taylor on “Friday Night Lights.” Another nomination for that show, a third for “American Horror Story,” and a fourth for “Nashville,” all ended with Britton empty handed.
Phylicia Rashad has been on television since 1976. Though she was nominated in 1985 and 1986 for her part on “The Cosby Show,” and then in 2008 for “A Raisin in the Sun,” Rashad hasn’t garnered a single Emmy. But the 70-year-old actress is still working, so there could be an Emmy in her future.
The English-Canadian actress changed television forever with the character Samantha Jones, one of Carrie’s feisty friends on HBO’s iconic “Sex and the City.” However Cattrall, who was nominated each year from 2000 to 2004 for the role, never snagged an Emmy.
Winkler has had five near-hits with several shows, including “Battery Park,” “The Practice,” and as the Fonz, the beloved goofy ‘50s greaser, on “Happy Days.” This year, he’s up again for his role in "Barry."
Hagman became a family name with 1965’s “I Dream of Jeannie,” but he became a television titan as J.R. Ewing on “Dallas.” He got two nominations for “Dallas” in 1980 and 1981, but no Emmys. In fact, his family claims he was snubbed again in 2013 when, after his death, he appeared for mere seconds in the Emmy’s “In Memoriam” segment.
It’s a “Scandal” Washington hasn’t won yet despite two noms for her part as the show's Olivia Pope and another as Anita Hill in "Confirmation.""Scandal" has concluded, but maybe one of her upcoming projects will finally snag her a win.
Despite four nominations for “Moonlighting” and “Cybill,” Shepherd has never won an Emmy. Adding salt to the wound? Her “Moonlighting” co-star Bruce Willis did. Don’t worry: She got her revenge at his Comedy Central roast.
Two nods for “Family Ties” and another for the titular role of “A Woman Scorned: The Betty Broderick Story” didn’t win Baxter any Emmys. However, she did snag a Daytime Emmy for an after-school special titled “Other Mothers.”
The powerhouse comedian earned six nominations for playing the most absurd boss in the world, Michael Scott, on “The Office.” Carrell, star of “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” and “Despicable Me,” has largely stuck to film since then.
Though he played dozens of television parts in the 1950s, the late Leonard Nimoy was best known as Spock in "Star Trek." That character got him three nominations in the 1960s. Nimoy got another Emmy in the 1980s for “A Woman Called Golda,” but he never left a winner.
Russell stepped into the spotlight starring on “Felicity” in the 1990s and early 2000s. Later, she began her role on period-piece, spy-thriller “The Americans” in 2013. However, it wasn’t until 2016 that she began racking up nominations for the latter role. So far, she has had three nods and no wins.
Gleason, known for his big personality and physical presence, created and starred in "The Honeymooners," an over-the-top sitcom hit of the 1950s. He was nominated four times, including for his work on “The Honeymooners” and “The Jackie Gleason Show,” but lost every time.
The late Bernie Mac became famous for his stand-up comedy and was known by many as Uncle Bernie on “Moesha,” but earned his place as a beloved household name with “The Bernie Mac Show.” Despite being nominated for that character in 2002 and 2003, he never won.
Though the 72-year-old actor has been on plenty of shows, including his iconic part on “Married with Children,” he wasn’t nominated until he played patriarch Jay Pritchett on “Modern Family.” Alas, three noms and no wins. At one point, he submitted himself as a supporting actor rather than a lead actor, acquiescing that “Modern Family” was a true ensemble show. Unfortunately, that may have contributed to the fact that he didn’t get a nomination at all that year.
Hall has received six nominations for his fantastic, yet morbid, roles as a serial killer on “Dexter” and as a funeral director on “Six Feet Under.” However, he’s received no statuettes—yet.
The off-the-wall comedian was nominated as an outstanding host of “Saturday Night Live” and for his acting on “30 Rock.” He never won, but in 2015 he did make a special Emmy appearance. After suffering from serious injuries after a car accident, including traumatic brain injury, he took to the Emmy stage to present the award for best drama series.
As Cristina Yang, Oh played an integral character on hospital drama “Grey’s Anatomy,” for which she was nominated five times from 2005 to 2008. This year, she’s nominated for the titular role in “Killing Eve,” making her the first Asian-American actress nominated for a lead actress Emmy.