Louis C.K. has never been nominated for a Golden Globe Award or a SAG Award. It’s a curious statistic, given the meteoric rise that C.K. has seen in his popularity and profile in the last couple of years. Now, at the upcoming derbies, can he finally get the last laugh?
His stand-up tours spark frenzied stampedes from loyal fans who clamor for tickets as soon as dates are announced. His recent stand-up specials, which C.K. distributes on his website, bypassing physical and broadband media, end up breaking download records.
His FX series “Louie” is widely praised by TV critics. It scored an impressive 90 at Metacritic (denoting “universal acclaim” among critics polled by the review aggregator). Alan Sepinwall (Hitfix) doesn’t mince words when he concludes in his review that “Louie is one of the best shows on television.” Kris King (Slant) commends the show’s second season as “smart, cinematic, and bitterly honest, constantly dancing between revelatory moments and hysterical bursts of humor that are both surprising and touching” while Maureen Ryan (Huffington Post) proclaims the show “always interesting, occasionally profound and frequently funny.”
The TV Academy has responded with schizophrenic results. In the last two years, Louis C.K. has personally amassed a staggering 11 Emmy nominations, including seven last year, a record for an individual in one year.
Three of those bids came for writing, directing and starring in “Louie,” which was snubbed in the Best Comedy Series race. That’s crazy. How can the show earn bids for being one of the best written, directed and acted shows on the tube, but not make the list for Best Comedy Series?
C.K. lost Best Comedy Actor this year to Jon Cryer (“Two and a Half Men”) having been bested last year by Jim Parsons (“The Big Bang Theory”). However, he did pick up the Best Comedy Writing award for penning the second season premiere episode (and he won a second Emmy for writing his stand-up special “Live at the Beacon Theater”).
“Louie” has also been a regular at other television awards in recent months. At the Television Critics Assn. Awards, C.K. won Outstanding Achievement in Comedy for “Louie” as well as the prize for Individual Achievement in Comedy. At the 2nd Annual Critics’ Choice Television Awards, C.K. was honored with the Best Actor prize. And at the Writers Guild of America shindig earlier this year, he received his first nomination (alongside frequent collaborator Pamela Adlon), which was ultimately won by the writing team from “Modern Family.”
The question now remains whether the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. (HFPA) and Screen Actors Guild voters will belatedly recognize “Louie” when nominations are announced next month.
Although the Golden Globes are usually quick to recognize new talent and hit freshman shows, sometimes cutting edge fare like “Louie” takes time to build awards momentum. Take “Breaking Bad,” for example. It has yet to break into the race for Best Drama Series, but, after a two-year wait, star Bryan Cranston finally got nominated for Best Drama Actor last year and he made the list again this year. Comedy powerhouse Amy Poehler was snubbed for the first two seasons of “Parks and Recreation,” but she finally nabbed a bid at the Globes this year.
To reap a Best TV Comedy Actor bid, C.K. will have to knock out one of last year’s nominees be it six-time nominee Alec Baldwin (“30 Rock”) who won in 2006, 2008 and 2009), David Duchovny, clearly a HFPA favorite with four nominations (and one win) to his credit for his role on “Californication,” Thomas Jane, nominated three times for “Hung,” Johnny Galecki (“The Big Bang Theory”) and last year’s winner Matt LeBlanc (“Episodes”).
SAG voters, on the other hand, love to reward their favorites, even at the expense of snubbing stars generously recognized elsewhere. Multiple Emmy and Golden Globe nominee and winner Jim Parsons (“The Big Bang Theory”) has never been nominated at the SAGs. Recent Emmy nominees Jemaine Clement (“Flight of the Conchords”), Matt LeBlanc (“Episodes’), Melissa McCarthy (“Mike & Molly”), Martha Plimpton (“Raising Hope”) and Laura Linney (“The Big C”) have come up short with SAG too. And while “Homeland” was obliterating its competition at every awards ceremony in the last 12 months, SAG voters ignored it entirely.
The Best Comedy Actor category combines lead and supporting performances and has only five slots. Baldwin has won for the last six years running and is likely to return for the final season of “30 Rock.” Expect many of the “Modern Family” to contend as well as a repeat nomination for recent Emmy champ Cryer.