While the Emmys are often reward the same programs and performers over and over, that has not been so with the Drama Supporting Actor category. Only four men have ever won this race twice. The last performer to see double was Ray Walston ("Picket Fences") in 1995 and 1996. Since then, there have been a slew of actors young and old who've succeeded in this category, with no one repeating in 16 years.
Of the past 16 champs, four fellows from "The West Wing" were elected. Other winners include two men who played lawyers created by David E. Kelley, two mobsters from "The Sopranos," and two adversaries from "Lost" -- Terry O'Quinn (2007) and Michael Emerson (2009). Among the other victors were men who played a suicidal lawer, a Chicago doctor, a New York detective, and a small town judge. VIEW GALLERY
In 2010, how did "The Good Wife" star Julianna Margulies lose to "The Closer's" Kyra Sedgwick? "The Good Wife" was the season's hottest new drama, while the five-year-old "Closer" had greatly diminished buzz. That's the kind of result that often shocks and baffles many Emmy-watchers – unless they know how Emmy voting works. At the Emmys, nominees submit sample episodes to a panel of judges who evaluate them to determine the winner. A powerful submission can overcome even the most deafening hype. Anyone who considered the sample episodes last year knew Margulies chose poorly and that the perenially snubbed Sedgwick submitted perfectly. Though many pundits predicted Margulies for the win anyway, voters proved that the sample episodes really do matter and checked off Sedgwick's name instead.
Emmy history has often been made by underdogs with powerful sample episodes and by popular performers making crucial errors. It's surprising, then, that some pundits – and even some of the stars themselves – don't understand how winners are chosen. After she won Best Supporting Drama Actress for "Judging Amy" in 2003, Tom O'Neil asked Tyne Daly about her episode submissions and she confessed ignorance about the process. Luckily, her decision-makers have proven skilled at selecting her best work, resulting in five career Emmy wins for Daly, but the same can't be said for the following contenders, who have spoiled their own chances with their baffling episode choices. For those who dream of future Emmy glory, learn from the mistakes of these unfortunate Emmy contenders. VIEW GALLERY
From "Rizzoli & Isles" and "Bones" to new offerings like "Unforgettable," female crime fighters are a common sight on television these days, so it might be surprising to learn that only a dozen actresses have won Emmys for playing them.
Several others have tried and failed, including Angela Lansbury, a twelve-time nominee (1985-1996) for playing author and sleuth Jessica Fletcher on "Murder, She Wrote"; Angie Dickinson, who earned three nods (1975-1977) as Sergeant Suzanne "Pepper" Anderson on "Police Woman"; and Jennifer Garner, who received four bids (2002-2005) for playing CIA agent Sydney Bristow on "Alias."
Following are the twelve successful female crime fighters who have come before. VIEW GALLERY.
What do all of the following have in common: Patricia Arquette, Michael Chiklis, Jon Cryer, Ricky Gervais, Katherine Heigl, Archie Panjabi, and James Spader? They all pulled off jawdropping upsets at the Emmys. Sometimes the surprise was because of who they beat. Sometimes it was because their episode submission was not great, making us wonder if other factors -- buzz, hit films, industry love -- gave them the edge on Emmy night.
What are some of the possible shockers that might happen this year? Could Comedy Actress contender Melissa McCarthy ("Mike & Molly") capitalize on the success of her hit film "Bridesmaids"? Could the final season of "Friday Night Lights" beat frontrunners "Mad Men" and "Boardwalk Empire" for Best Drama Series? Can Lady Gaga take down Paul McCartney, Oprah Winfrey and Bette Midler to claim the prize for Best Variety Special? Take a tour of the top 12 potential upsets before you make your Emmy predictions. VIEW GALLERY
Frontrunners, beware! Unlike another top industry award, the Oscars, where the expected winners have a tendency of winning, Emmy history is full of shocking victories and surprising defeats. Just ask Steve Carell, who last was widely expected to win Best Comedy Actor for his final season of "The Office" but was bested by Jim Parsons ("The Big Bang Theory"), who had won the year before. Because the Emmys are decided by panels viewing sample episodes and not by a straight popular vote, upsets are par for the course.
Who would have guessed that CBS's "Picket Fences" could beat "Northern Exposure" and "NYPD Blue"? Or that the quirky, low-rated "Arrested Development" could defeat TV's top comedy, "Everybody Loves Raymond"? Katherine Heigl's own mother expected her to lose Best Supporting Drama Actress in 2007 for "Grey's Anatomy," but she won anyway, edging out her co-stars Sandra Oh and Chandra Wilson, neither of whom has ever won. Those and more are among Emmy's all-time biggest jaw-droppers. VIEW GALLERY