Each year, television actors and actresses wait to hear if they’ve been nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award. With those nominations, though, come some of the biggest snubs in history — people that deserve recognition and get completely overlooked.
From Sadie Sink and Millie Bobby Brown to Angela Lansbury and Steve Carell, here are some of the biggest snubs in the history of the award show.
The contests of all contests: Jason Alexander going up against his Seinfeld co-star Michael Richards for a Primetime Emmy Award. Alexander was snubbed seven times, with Richards winning three.
While Richards’ character Kramer is a fan favorite, the sitcom wouldn’t be much without the inappropriate, grouchy, and pretty character of George Costanza.
Best known for his role as Michael Scott in the critically acclaimed series The Office, Steve Carell should have not only been nominated for his performance but won.
Sadly, Carell has been snubbed by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, the organization that decides who wins the Emmy Awards, ten times for The Office and once for The Morning Show.
For her roles in the dramas Grey’s Anatomy and Killing Eve, actress Sandra Oh earned 13 Emmy Award nominations, a majority being for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series and Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.
Even with her amazing performances, range, and intense on-screen characters, Oh has never walked away with a trophy.
Actor Anthony Anderson has been snubbed 11 times for a Primetime Emmy Award for his performance as Andre “Dre” Johnson in the comedy Black-ish.
TV Guide senior critic Matt Roush says, “The problem is that broadcast TV is basically invisible to many Emmy voters. The problem is that broadcast TV is basically invisible to many Emmy voters.”
One of the biggest snubs in Emmy Award history is arguably how the legendary Angela Lansbury’s been nominated 18 times and has never won. An amazing actress, Lansbury was nominated a consecutive 12 times for her role as Jessica Fletcher in Murder, She Wrote.
Considering Lansbury has an Academy Award and six Tony Awards under her belt, how she never walked away with an Emmy is a total mystery.
Between 2005 and 2017, British actor Hugh Laurie was nominated for ten Primetime Emmy Awards, seven for House, two for The Night Manager, and one for Veep. Sadly, he never scored a win for any of them.
Upon his sixth nomination, Laurie even joked he was going to forgo a lucky rabbit foot and put an entire rabbit on his keychain for good luck. Alas, a rabbit didn’t help his luck any.
Between the detective series McMillan & Wife and the Mary Tyler Moore Show spin-off series Rhoda, Nancy Walker was nominated seven times for a Primetime Emmy Award. She never wound up winning.
In fact, she lost out on the award a solid three times to none other than Betty White for her performance in the Mary Tyler Moore Show!
Between 1999 and 2020, Don Cheadle was nominated for seven Primetime Emmy Awards, three of which were for his performance in the comedy House of Lies.
One of the lucky actors to be nominated for the awards making up the prestigious EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony), Cheadle has been cheated out of only the Emmy Award.
One of the grandfathers of late-night television, Steve Allen, was the first host on The Tonight Show. Even though his program was highly regarded, Allen never won an Emmy Award.
Fast-forward to the creation of Meeting Minds. Thankfully, the show wound up winning an Emmy for Outstanding Informational Series, but Allen was still snubbed out of an Emmy for his writing. In the end, Allen lost out on six Emmy Awards.
Millie Bobby Brown
In 2017, actress Millie Bobby Brown received a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series her role as Eleven in Stranger Things. While she ultimately didn’t win the award, her nomination snub in 2022 had fans reeling.
Her performance in the fourth season of Stranger Things was impeccable, showing her range as a grieving daughter, a high school student who wants nothing more than to fit in, and a friend who would do anything to help those she loves.
Between his performance as drug kingpin Gus Fring in Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul and the former imperial officer Moff Gideon in The Mandalorian, Giancarlo Esposito has been nominated for five Primetime Emmy Awards.
Despite his amazing skills, range, and performances in each of the shows, Esposito has been snubbed out of a win each year he’s been nominated.
Setting the stage in shows such as American Horror Story, Friday Night Lights, Nashville, and The White Lotus, fans would think actress Connie Britton would have at least one Emmy Award under her belt.
With five nominations under her belt, Britton is yet to win one of them, getting snubbed out of the trophy each year.
While Gracie Allen was called “…one of the greatest actresses of our time” by co-star Bea Benaderet, the compliment didn’t help Allen win any of her six Primetime Emmy nominations.
A must-see during her time on The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, Allen was unfortunately always getting snubbed out of an Emmy trophy, falling behind the talents of Lucille Ball and Dinah Shore.
For his performance as oil baron J. R. Ewing in the soap opera Dallas, actor Larry Hagman earned two Primetime Emmy Awards. Snubbed, he didn’t win either.
Amazingly, those are the only Emmy Awards credits he has on his resume, as his performance as astronaut Major Anthony Nelson in I Dream of Jeannie got zero recognition.
Phylicia Rashad’s performance as Clair Huxtable on the sitcom The Cosby Show did not go unnoticed. She was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series three times! Each time, she was snubbed, losing the trophy.
In total, Rashad received six Emmy nominations, never winning one.
In the fourth season of Stranger Things, Sadie Sink arguably had the best performance of her career, namely in the episode “Dear Billy.” While the Actress has never received an Emmy nomination, if she were to get the honor, it would have been for that particular season.
Fans were not happy when the nominees were announced, and Sink was not on the list for Supporting Actress in a Drama Series.
Despite being one of the greatest actors of his generation and the only choice to play the mouthiest New York bus driver in The Honeymooners, Jackie Gleason never won an Emmy Award, even though he was nominated six times.
While he never won, Gleason’s co-stars Jane Kean and Art Carney walked away with a few trophies. In fact, rumor has it Carney hid his Emmys whenever Gleason came to visit.
While Don Knotts and Frances Bavier received Emmy Awards for their comedic performances on The Andy Griffith Show, Andy Griffith himself was never even nominated — a huge snub for the legendary actor.
His sole nomination, and subsequent loss, was for Murder in Texas. According to Griffith, “It would be nice to have one when my mother comes over. But I can manage without it.”
Bringing Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation, Sir Patrick Stewart, has never earned an Emmy nomination for the space epic. According to TV Guide senior critic Matt Roush, it all has to do with the genre.
Even so, that doesn’t explain how Stewart was snubbed out of an Emmy win for his four other nominations.
While Selena Gomex was nominated as a producer for an Outstanding Comedy Series at the Emmy Awards for Only Murders in the Building, she was snubbed out of an acting nomination, despite both of her co-stars getting nominations.
According to Steve Martin and Martin Short, “We’re a little dismayed that Selena didn’t get nominated because she’s so crucial to the trio, to the show. She kind of balances us.”
Out of 160 nominations, actress Lena Heady was only nominated five times for her portrayal of the crazy Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones.
Even though she knocked the part out of the park, showing a range few actors can master, Headey was snubbed out of winning all five of her nominations.
Along with the rest of the Modern Family ensemble cast, Sofía Vergara was placed in the Outstanding Supporting Actress category, Actor for her male co-stars. Nominated for an Emmy four times, Vergara was snubbed out of a win again and again.
According to TV Guide senior critic Matt Roush, “sometimes when you outshine your cast with stunning beauty, people don’t take you seriously as a comedian.”
Between 1986 and 1997, actress Cybill Shepherd was nominated for four Emmy Awards, one for her performance in Moonlighting and another three for Cybill. She never won.
In her autobiography, Shepherd addressed the rumors that she was jealous of her co-stars Bruce Willis and Christine Baranski’s respective Emmy wins. She wrote, “The grain of truth in this controversy was that, of course, I was envious. Who doesn’t want to win an Emmy?”
Comedian Jerry Seinfeld is the perfect case of “just because you’re the title character of the show doesn’t mean you’re going to win the award.” For Seinfeld, Seinfeld was nominated for a Primetime Emmy 13 times, only winning Outstanding Comedy Series with the rest of the cast.
In total, Seinfeld has been nominated for 19 Emmy Awards and was snubbed, not winning any of his nominations.
For her portrayal of KGB spy Elizabeth Jennings, actress Keri Russell has been nominated not once, not twice, but three times for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.
Sadly, Russell was snubbed each year she was nominated. Her co-star, Matthew Rhys, however, wound up winning one of those years (he was nominated five times).
While Game of Thrones won an astounding 59 Primetime Emmy Awards, Kit Harington, who played Jon Snow, was left in the dust, getting snubbed for two awards, one for Outstanding Lead Actor and the other for Outstanding Supporting Actor.
The only actor to actually receive an Emmy for their performance in the show was Peter Dinklage. He won four.
George Clooney climbed the ladder of Hollywood thanks to his portrayal of Dr. Ross on ER. His performance landed him two Primetime Emmy Award nominations, of which he never won (somehow). In total, Clooney was nominated for three Emmys.
It’s amazing to think he never won, considering he has two Academy Awards under his belt.
With credits such as Little House on the Prairie, Highway to Heaven, and Bonanza under his belt, it is a marvel that actor Michael Landon was never once nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for any of his performances.
According to Landon’s daughter, her father was not all that interested in awards, where he had to nominate himself in order to win.
Amazingly, Courteney Cox was never nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for her role as Monica Geller in the hit sitcom Friends. The real kicker is the fact that she was the only main cast member that was never nominated, something the actress later said actually hurt her feelings.
Eventually, Cox was nominated for an Outstanding Variety Special (Pre-Recorded) for Friends: The Reunion as a co-producer. She still didn’t win.