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Is It Beneficial to Have Multiple Actors Nominated from the Same Show?

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP/Shutterstock (10337894b) Emmy statuettes appear on stage prior to the start of the 71st Primetime Emmy Nominations Announcements at the Television Academy's Saban Media Center, in Los Angeles 2019 Primetime Emmy Nominations Announcements, Los Angeles, USA - 16 Jul 2019

Certain shows know how to dominate a category at the Emmy Awards. Last year, Game of Thrones made waves when it set a new record for Emmy nominations with 32 in one year. This also meant it had three supporting actor nominees and four nominees for supporting actress. While Peter Dinklage was the sole winner of the bunch, the actresses lost in a split vote to Julia Garner for her performance in Ozark

 

This begs the question: Does having multiple nominees from one show help or hurt the chances that show wins in a given acting category?

 

This year, four categories feature one show taking up three nomination slots. How many of them will prevail this year? The categories are as follows:

  1. Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series – Succession – Nicholas Braun, Kieran Culkin, Matthew Macfadyen
  2. Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series – Watchmen – Jovan Adepo, Louis Gossett Jr., Yahya Abdul-Mateen II
  3. Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series – Mrs. America – Uzo Aduba, Margo Martindale, Tracey Ullman
  4. Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series – Saturday Night Live – Adam Driver, Brad Pitt, Eddie Murphy

 

In the Emmy’s 71-year history, three actors from one show have been nominated in the same category in as many years. One of those nominated actors has prevailed about 62 percent of the time. While the odds are on the side of the dominant show, this statistics has altered since Emmy voting rules changed in 2015. When looking specifically at the results from 2015-2019, shows with three actors in one category only won 47 percent of the time.

 

Before 2015, shows would submit one episode per actor to be judged by a small blue ribbon panel featuring dozens of people. This often led to surprise wins, such as Merritt Wever’s 2013 win for Nurse Jackie. However, it also gave shows with multiple acting nominees a strategic advantage. For example, when Desperate Housewives had three women nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, many thought Marcia Cross would win. However, Felicity Huffman walked away with the statue due to her being heavily featured in each actor’s episode submission. 

 

Modern Family would strategically submit episodes where each actor would pick an episode that highlighted their “best bet” at a win. For instance, Eric Stonestreet would choose three-to-four stronger episodes than just one. 

 

Since 2015, these blue ribbon panels were removed and voting has opened up to the over 19,000 members of the Television Academy, which meant that episode submissions mattered far less. Because of this, multiple nominees per category became less of an advantage and more of an opportunity to see a split vote.  

 

This trend is even more pronounced when you look at recent years where at least four nominees from a given show were nominated in the same category. 

 

Prior to 2015, that had only happened eight times, and the actor from the dominant show prevailed, with the exception of one time. In 2014, the four nominees from The Normal Heart were beaten by Martin Freeman in Sherlock: His Last Vow. In that case, The Normal Heart was a TV movie, so the actors did not get the benefit of being able to pile four submissions to win. However, since 2015, we’ve only seen four actors from the same show get nominated in one category twice — Game Of Thrones and Saturday Night Live. Both times, everyone from the show lost. Under the new voting system, the more internal competition, the worse an actor’s chances are. 

 

Based on this data, we’re likely to see two of the four shows with three nominees in a category prevail, but which two will it be? 

 

Succession and Watchmen are the most likely to win in the top categories, drama series and miniseries, respectively. Though, Matthew Macfadyen and Nicholas Braun made the miscalculation of submitting the same episode (“This Is Not For Tears”), removing a major advantage. Still, Kieran Culkin is the frontrunner of the category and comes off the best between both Succession episodes submitted. He could very much still win. 

 

Meanwhile, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II may be the least well-known actor in his category, but his role in Watchmen gives him plenty of room to shine. A win for him would be similar to when Sterling K. Brown won for his breakout role in American Crime Story: The People vs. OJ Simpson, despite stiff competition from his more well-known co-stars John Travolta and David Schwimmer. Currently, many are predicting Jim Parsons will win for his hammy Hollywood performance, even though the show under-performed in terms of nominations.

 

Mrs. America did well in terms of nominations. However, many were shocked that Emmy darling Sarah Paulson and Rose Byrne weren’t among the supporting actress lineup. This may signify vote splitting among Mrs. America fans in the Television Academy. That gives Jean Smart (Watchmen) and Toni Collette (Unbelievable) room to win.

 

A second win could come in the guest actor comedy category for Saturday Night Live. Legendary comic Eddie Murphy’s hosting job was widely praised as one of the best episodes in recent memory. An SNL host has won five of the last 11 times since hosts were deemed eligible for the guest actor category. Incumbent Luke Kirby (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) could challenge Murphy for the win, but a posthumous win for Fred Willard (Modern Family) is also possible. 



List of Categories with Three Nominees from the Same Show

1956

  1. Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series – Producer’s ShowcaseMary Martin, Eva Marie Saint, Jessica Tandy

1959

  1. Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series – Playhouse 90 – Robert L. Crawford, Jr., Paul Muni, Rod Steiger

1962

  1. Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series – The Dick Powell TheatrePeter Falk, Milton Burle, Mickey Rooney

1966

  1. Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series – Hallmark Hall of Fame – Ed Begley, Melvyn Douglas, Trevor Howard

1969

  1. Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series – Hallmark Hall of Fame – Bill Travers, Ossie Davis, David McCallum

1976

  1. Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series – Eleanor and FranklinRosemary Murphy, Lilia Skala, Irene Tedrow
  2. Outstanding Single Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Comedy or Drama Series – Rich Man, Poor Man – Bill Bixby, Norman Fell, Van Johnson
  3. Outstanding Single Performance by a Supporting Actress in a Comedy or Drama Series – Rich Man, Poor ManFionnula Flanagan, Kim Darby, Kay Lenz

1977

  1. Outstanding Single Performance by a Supporting Actress in a Comedy or Drama Series – Rich Man, Poor ManOlivia Cole, Sandy Duncan, Cicely Tyson

1979

  1. Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series – The Rockford Files Stuart Margolin, Noah Beery Jr., Joe Santos
  2. Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series – Roots: The Next Generation Marlon Brando, Al Freeman Jr., Paul Winfield

1980

  1. Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series – Lou GrantNancy Marchand, Nina Foch, Linda Kelsey

1981

  1. Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series – Hill Street BluesMichael Conrad, Charles Haid, Bruce Weitz

1983

  1. Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series – Hill Street BluesMichael Conrad, Joe Spano, Bruce Weitz
  2. Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series – The Thorn Birds Richard Kiley, Bryan Brown, Christopher Plummer

1984

  1. Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series – Hill Street Blues – Michael Conrad, James Sikking, Bruce Weitz
  2. Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series – Hill Street Blues – Barbara Bosson, Betty Thomas, Alfre Woodard

1985

  1. Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series – Cheers – Nicholas Colasanto, John Ratzenberger, George Wendt 

1986

  1. Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series – The Golden Girls Betty White, Bea Arthur, Rue McClanaghan

1987

  1. Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series – The Golden Girls – Betty White, Bea Arthur, Rue McClanaghan
  2. Outstanding Guest Performer in a Drama Series – St. Elsewhere – Steve Allen, Edward Herrmann, Jayne Meadows
  3. Outstanding Guest Performer in a Comedy Series – The Golden Girls – Herb Edelman, Lois Nettleton, Nancy Walker

1988

  1. Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series – The Golden Girls – Betty White, Bea Arthur, Rue McClanaghan
  2. Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series – Cheers – Kelsey Grammar, Woody Harrelson, George Wendt 
  3. Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series – L.A. Law Larry Drake, Alan Rachins, Jimmy Smits 
  4. Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series – Baby M John Shea, Dabney Coleman, Bruce Weitz

1989

  1. Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series – The Golden Girls – Betty White, Bea Arthur, Rue McClanaghan
  2. Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series – L.A. Law Larry Drake, Richard Dysart, Jimmy Smits 
  3. Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series – L.A. Law – Amanda Plummer, Susan Ruttan, Michele Green 

1990

  1. Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series – L.A. Law – Larry Drake, Richard Dysart, Jimmy Smits 

1992

  1. Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series – Miss Rose WhiteAmanda Plummer, Penny Fuller, Maureen Stapleton

1994

  1. Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series – And the Band Played On Alan Alda, Richard Gere, Ian McKellen
  2. Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series – NYPD Blue – Amy Brenneman, Sharon Lawrence, Gail O’Grady

1996

  1. Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series – Chicago Hope – Michael Jeter, Richard Pryor, Rip Torn

1997

  1. Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series – ER – Laura Innes, CCH Pounder, Gloria Reuben

1998

  1. Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series – Mad About You – Hank Azaria, Mel Brooks, Nathan Lane

1999

  1. Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series – The PracticeHolland Taylor, Lara Flynn Boyle, Camryn Manheim

2000

  1. Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series – The Practice – Paul Dooley, Henry WInkler, James Whitmore

2001

  1. Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series – The West Wing – Richard Schiff, John Spencer, Bradley Whitford

2002

  1. Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series – The West WingStockard Channing, Janel Moloney, Mary-Louise Parker
  2. Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series – The West Wing – Mark Harmon, Tim Matheson, Ron Silver
  3. Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series – Frasier – Alan Arkin, Anthony LaPaglia, Brian Cox
  4. Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series – Six Feet UnderPatricia Clarkson, Illeana Douglas, Lili Taylor

2004

  1. Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series – Sex and the City – Kim Cattrall, Kristen Davis, Cynthia Nixon

2005

  1. Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series – Desperate HousewivesFelicity Huffman, Marcia Cross, Teri Hatcher

2007

  1. Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series – Grey’s AnatomyKatherine Heigl, Chandra Wilson, Sandra Oh

2008

  1. Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series – John AdamsTom Wilkinson, Stephen Dillane, David Morse
  2. Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series – 30 Rock – Carrie Fisher, Edie Falco, Elaine Stritch

2009

  1. Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series – 30 Rock – Alan Alda, Jon Hamm, Steve Martin
  2. Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series – Law & Order: Special Victims UnitEllen Burstyn, Brenda Belthyn, Carol Burnett

2010

  1. Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series – Modern FamilyEric Stonestreet, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Ty Burrell

2011

  1. Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series – Mildred Pierce – Melissa Leo, Mare Winningham, Evan Rachel Wood
  2. Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series – GleeGwyneth Paltrow, Dot-Marie Jones, Kristen Chenoweth

2013

  1. Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series –Modern Family – Ed O’Neill, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Ty Burrell

2014

  1. Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series – American Horror Story: CovenKathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Frances Conroy
  2. Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series – Orange is the New BlackUzo Aduba, Laverne Cox, Natasha Lyonne

2015

  1. Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series – American Horror Story: Freak Show – Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Sarah Paulson

2016

  1. Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series – American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. SimpsonSterling K. Brown, John Travolta, David Schwimmer
  2. Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series – Game of Thrones – Lena Headey, Maisie Williams, Emilia Clarke
  3. Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series – House of Cards – Mahershala Ali, Reg E. Cathey, Paul Sparks
  4. Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series – Orange is the New BlackTina Fey & Amy Poehler, Melissa McCarthy, Amy Poehler

2017

  1. Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series – Saturday Night Live – Vanessa Bayer, Leslie Jones, Kate McKinnon
  2. Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series – This Is Us – Brian Tyree Henry, Gerald McRaney, Denis O’Hare
  3. Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series – Saturday Night Live – Tom Hanks, Dave Chappelle, Lin-Manuel Miranda

2018

  1. Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series – American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace – Ricky Martin, Edgar Ramirez, Finn Wittrock
  2. Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series – Saturday Night Live – Aidy Bryant, Leslie Jones, Kate McKinnon
  3. Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series – The Handmaid’s Tale – Alexis Bledel, Ann Dowd, Yvonne Strahovski
  4. Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series – The Handmaid’s TaleSamira Wiley, Cherry Jones, Kelly Jenrette

2019

  1. Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series – Barry – Anthony Carrigan, Stephen Root, Henry Winkler
  2. Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series – Game of ThronesPeter Dinklage, Alfie Allen, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau
  3. Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series – When They See Us – Asante Black, John Legiuzamo, Michael K. Williams

List of Categories with Four Nominees from the Same Show

1977

  1. Outstanding Single Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Comedy or Drama Series – Roots Ed Asner, Moses Gunn, Robert Reed, Ralph Waite

2002

  1. Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series – The West Wing – Dule Hill, Richard Schiff, John Spencer, Bradley Whitford

2004

  1. Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series – Angels in AmericaJeffrey Wright, Justin Kirk, Ben Shenkman, Patrick Wilson

2005

  1. Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series – Will & GraceBobby Cannavale, Alec Baldwin, Victor Garber, Jeff Goldblum

2008

  1. Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series – 30 RockTim Conway, Will Arnett, Steve Buscemi, Rip Torn

2011

  1. Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series – Modern Family – Ed O’Neill, Eric Stonestreet, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Ty Burrell

2012

  1. Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series – Modern FamilyEric Stonestreet, Ed O’Neill, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Ty Burrell

2014

  1. Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series – The Normal Heart – Matt Bomer, Joe Mantello, Jim Parsons, Alfred Molina

2019

  1. Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series – Game of Thrones – Lena Headey, Maisie Williams, Sophie Turner, Gwendolyn Christie
  2. Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series – Saturday Night Live – Matt Damon, Robert De Niro, John Mulaney, Adam Sandler

 

Full Categories Taken Up By One Show

1977

  1. Outstanding Lead Actor for a Single Appearance in a Drama or Comedy Series – RootsLouis Gossett Jr., John Amos, LeVar Burton, Ben Vereen

1982

  1. Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series – Hill Street BluesMichael Conrad, Taurean Blacque, Charles Haid, Michael Warren, Bruce Weitz

1986

Outstanding Guest Performer in a Comedy Series – The Cosby ShowRoscoe Lee Browne, Earle Hyman, Danny Kaye, Clarice Taylor, Stevie Wonder

Comments

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  1. “In the Emmy’s 71-year history, three actors from one show have been nominated in the same category in as many years.”

    *spit take*

    I am highly uninitiated when it comes to Emmy predicting… so when I saw this stat my brain exploded because I immediately equated this to being told that there were 71 times in OSCARS history where three actors from one film shared a category. They’re much different beasts, sure, but I’m still like, this happens all the time!?!?

    Anyways, the paragraph towards the middle starting with ‘Prior to 2015’ is ultra convincing, and I think I’m gonna switch from Culkin to Crudup just because I now have the data to back up the nagging suspicion that the split is going to matter here. If I’m picking two of the four shows to win with the split, I’m going Watchmen and SNL. Excellent research here.

    On an unrelated spit take: There was a sequel to Roots starring Marlon Brando???

  2. Thank you so much for your kind words, Ryan. The Emmys are very different for the Oscars for many reasons, but this is one of the many. Happy predicting (also I too didn’t know about the Roots sequel.

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Written by Chris James

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