While some performers like Melissa McCarthy ("Mike & Molly") and Margo Martindale ("Justified") win with their first Emmy bid, others are doomed to lose year after year. Sunday's most high profile also-ran was Steve Carell ("The Office"), who lost Best Comedy Actor a sixth consecutive time. This was his final chance as he left the NBC sitcom last May.
Both this year and last, Carell was defeated by Jim Parsons of "The Big Bang Theory." While repeat wins at the Emmys are a matter of course, all our pundits and editors expected Carell to prevail when he submitted his farewell episode, "Goodbye, Michael." In years past, there had been speculation that Carell's character Michael Scott was just too awkward and unlikable to appeal to Emmy voters, but Michael has rarely been more relatable than in his final episode.
Carell's last attempt was a valiant one, and the loss is difficult to explain, but he has had a checkered history with the Emmys. While he entered episodes that showed Michael at his worst during the show's second season ("The Injury") and fifth ("The Cover-Up"), the sweet "Business School" from season three and charming "Goodbye, Toby" from season four still weren't enough to put him over the top.
Perhaps Carell can take solace in knowing he is not the category's biggest loser -- Hal Linden ("Barney Miller") and John Goodman ("Roseanne") both lost seven bids.
When "House" star Hugh Laurie lost his sixth Best Drama Actor race Sunday, he equalled Martin Sheen ("The West Wing") for most rebuffs by the academy. Laurie has lost despite several Emmy bait entries, including last year's "Broken." In that two-hour episode, Dr. Gregory House entered rehab and finally found redemption. This year on "After Hours," House performed surgery on his own leg in a bathtub. Despite Laurie's best efforts, Emmy voters went for three-time champ Bryan Cranston ("Breaking Bad") last year and the low-key work of Kyle Chandler ("Friday Night Lights") this time around.
"Mad Men" may have dominated the Best Drama Series race four years straight, but it has yet to win any Emmys acting. This year, seven performers were nominated across the six acting categories. None won.
Lead actor Jon Hamm and supporting player John Slattery were favored to finally win on their fourth attempts, but they lost to first-time champs Chandler and Peter Dinklage ("Game of Thrones") respectively. Elisabeth Moss lost for the third time and Christina Hendricks was rebuffed with her second bid as Julianna Margulies ("The Good Wife") and Martindale ("Justified") prevailed.
Chandler also edged out Michael C. Hall, who is now a four-time loser for his leading role as "Dexter." Others who struck out for the third time Sunday were Supporting Comedy Actress contenders Jane Krakowski ("30 Rock") and Kristen Wiig ("Saturday Night Live") who lost this time to Julie Bowen of "Modern Family."