Does six-time Emmy also-ran Bob Newhart have any hope of claiming victory in the Comedy Guest Actor race despite all the tough competition? He sure does… just ask last year’s winner Kathy Bates who finally prevailed with her tenth bid!
Ever since “Saturday Night Live” hosts were allowed to compete in the guest acting races in 2009, they have trounced all over their competitors. But all hope is not lost for veteran actor Newhart, who’s in the hunt for the very first Emmy of his career despite being nominated against “SNL” hosts Justin Timberlake and Louis C.K.
With five wins over the years (Timberlake in 2009 and 2011, Tina Fey in 2009, Betty White in 2010 and Jimmy Fallon in 2012) “SNL” hosts have only failed to secure a victory on two occasions. In 2011 nominated host Fey lost out to Oscar winner Gwyneth Paltrow (“Glee“), and last year two “SNL” contenders — Melissa McCarthy and Maya Rudolph — were beaten by Bates (“Two and a Half Men“)
While Paltrow likely won thanks to her star stature and buzzy song-and-dance numbers, the road to Bates’ win is eerily similar to Newhart in particular this year.
As the ghost of Charlie Sheen‘s character, Bates didn’t have the longest episode submission or the showiest role in 2012; she only appeared in three relatively brief scenes. Newhart’s screentime and impact, while memorable, isn’t the most dominant in his race either. His character Professor Proton gives biting jabs to Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco for only about 11 minutes.
In both cases, the biggest competition for Bates and Newhart came from “SNL” hosts who, due to the variety nature of that show, got to showcase several sides of their acting chops while imitating nearly a dozen different characters. This year Timberlake acts, sings and dances on “SNL” for an entire hour, while fellow nominated host Louis C.K. gets to do his award-winning stand-up live in addition to playing a mass of funny characters.
Bates prevailed for the aging “Two and a Half Men,” a half-hour CBS multi-camera comedy series produced by Chuck Lorre, while Newhart is up for his guest stint on “The Big Bang Theory,” also a 30-minute CBS Lorre-produced show filmed before a live studio audience. Noticing a pattern here?
The Bates/Newhart similarities continue when you factor in that neither of them had won an Emmy despite numerous nominations. With nine previous losses across all categories, there’s a good chance voters decided to honor Bates last year because she was such a well-respected actress in their field. Likewise, Newhart is equally beloved with six previous Emmy nominations spanning 50 years and a variety of categories.
Vote at the bottom of this post using our easy drag-and-dropm menu as to whether Newhart be able to follow in Bates’ footsteps and win his first career Emmy despite the tough competition? Find out when the Creative Arts Emmys are held Sept. 15 at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.
Below, Senior Editor Chris Beachum talks with Newhart about his career.