Psst: Here’s how Joe Morton (‘Scandal’) pulled off that Guest Actor Emmy shockeroo

When Joe Morton (“Scandal“) won the Emmy for Best Drama Guest Actor at the Creative Arts Awards on Saturday (Aug. 16), there were many dropped jaws and shouts of surprise backstage in the Emmys press room.

But for all of those Emmy watchers that did their research, Morton’s win shouldn’t have been a shockeroo at all. So how did this industry vet pull off such an upset?

Emmy Episode Analysis: Read our Pros and Cons for
Dylan Baker | Beau Bridges | Reg E. Cathey

Only three of Gold Derby’s 14 Experts predicted Morton for the win: Joyce Eng (TV Guide) and Gold Derby’s own Tom O’Neil and Paul Sheehan. These three savvy Experts knew what all of the other Emmyologists failed to realize: that when actors submit episodes to the Emmy judges featuring passionate speeches, that’s usually a shoo-in to claim Emmy gold.

But speeches weren’t the only factors that pushed Morton over the edge. Emmy voters love over-the-top, bombastic performances, which is why “Scandal” is essentially an actor’s awards showcase. Dan Bucatinsky won this same category last year, which should have been a tell-tale sign that Morton was being underrepresented by our Experts.

Since the Experts didn’t favor Morton, who were their favorites in this category? Seven Experts incorrectly assumed Beau Bridges (“Masters of Sex“) would win, but as Gold Derby Editors warned you all in our slugfest of this category (watch below), Bridges’ performance in his episode submission was likely too dry and unemotional to sway voters.

The remaining four Experts all thought Robert Morse (“Mad Men“) would win, forgetting (or perhaps ignoring) the fact that “Mad Men” has never won a single Emmy for acting. We understand why they voted for Morse, though, as there was extra love headed his way this year because he was killed off the show.

Emmy Episode Analysis: Read our Pros and Cons for
Paul Giamatti
| Robert Morse | Joe Morton

We can’t punish the Experts too much here, as they most likely didn’t watch all of the episode submissions. After all, who has the time to watch dozens of hours of TV episodes over the course of only three weeks? Why, Gold Derby’s Editors do, of course!

Seven out of eight of our Editors correctly predicted Morton for the win after watching his episode submission. The lone holdout was David Schnelwar, who reigns supreme as Gold Derby’s Grammy guru.

Do you agree with the Emmys’ decision to honor Joe Morton as Best Drama Guest Actor? Sound off in the comments section below or join the discussion in our Emmys forum.

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6 thoughts on “Psst: Here’s how Joe Morton (‘Scandal’) pulled off that Guest Actor Emmy shockeroo

  1. How did he win? I don’t understand. Over Beau Bridges? Have you seen his performance in Master’s of Sex? Joe Morton’s character and others on that show cannot have a normal conversation. They are always yelling and giving long, unnecessary, righteous, meandering speeches about what I have no idea. How can the Emmy judges or whoever they are base their decision upon that? What about actual acting. My God.

  2. Don’t forget, actors only get to submit ONE episode. Whether that’s a good system of judging or not is debatable. But Morton gave a more powerful performance in his single episode than Bridges gave in his single episode. Thanks for reading!

  3. “How did he win”?
    Ummm his character LIVES on speeches. Everytime Poppa Pope was on screen, he delivered these long intense over the top speeches. This isn’t a shock to most people(I would like to believe). I knew he would win the day he was nominated. Stevie Wonder could see that. Plus this category seems like the only category Scandal can win an Emmy in acting. 2 years in a row! But I like Joe Morton(not a big fan of Scandal) so I’m happy for him.

  4. “You have to be what? You have to be WHAT?”
    “Twice as good…”
    “TWICE as good as they to get HALF of what they have.”

    This Emmy was won about a year ago within the first few minutes of Scandal’s season 3 premiere. Do experts even watch TV?

    In all honesty, though, this was pretty blatant category fraud. Morton was a full supporting character if ever there was such a category. He was nearly in all of the season’s 18 episodes.

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