Alfre Woodard makes history with 17 Emmy nods for 16 roles

By Marcus James Dixon
By Marcus James Dixon
Jul 26 2013 08:38 am
See Marcus's
Mar 26 2015 20:27 pm
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This year's Movie/Miniseries Supporting Actress nomination for "Steel Magnolias" brings Alfre Woodard's career Emmy tally to an impressive 17 bids. Because these nods are for 16 different roles, Woodard enters Emmy's record book as TV's most versatile performer.

Without a doubt, Woodard is one of the industry's favorite actresses. Besides winning four Emmys over her career, she also earned an Oscar nomination (Best Supporting Actress, "Cross Creek," 1983) and a Golden Globe (TV Movie/Miniseries Actress, "Miss Evers' Boys," 1997).

The fact that she has appeared in six different Emmy races -- including all three Drama categories (lead, supporting, guest), both of the Movie/Miniseries categories (lead, supporting) and one Comedy category (supporting) -- makes Woodard's distinct haul even more impressive.

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But even though Woodard has amassed a record number of Emmy nods for different roles, there are two TV titans who have more career nominations overall. Cloris Leachman is the most-nominated performer with 22 acting nods, while Betty White and Angela Lansbury come in second with 18 acting bids apiece. White's number jumps to 20 if you count her back-to-back Reality Host nominations for the now-cancelled "Betty White's Off Their Rockers."

Woodard's two nominations as Dr. Roxanne Turner on "St. Elsewhere" (1986, 1988) make that her only character recognized more than once by the TV Academy. To compare, Leachman's most-nominated character was Grandma Ida on "Malcolm in the Middle" with 6 nods, while White's most-nominated role was Rose Nylund on "The Golden Girls" with 7 nods. Lansbury's turn as Jessica Fletcher on "Murder, She Wrote" remains on top, with 12 consecutive nominations (but zero wins).

If Woodard prevails for "Steel Magnolias" this year, she will join an elite group of five-time winners that includes Kelsey Grammer, John Larroquette, Candice Bergen, Don Knotts and Peter Falk, but to win her fifth, Woodard will have to overcome odds of 15/2 and take out frontrunners Sarah Paulson ("American Horror Story: Asylum") and Ellen Burstyn ("Political Animals").

By achieving her 17th Emmy nod, Woodard just tied Edward Asner (17) and surpassed Tyne Daly (16). Also with significant nomination tallies for acting are Mary Tyler Moore (15), Grammer (14), Falk (12) and Glenn Close (12).

Below is a list of Woodard's 17 career Emmy nominations arranged by category. The four highlighted entries indicate her Emmy wins.

Drama Lead Actress
"St Elsewhere" (1986)

Drama Supporting Actress
"Hill Street Blues" (1984)

Drama Guest Actress
"L.A. Law" (1987)
"St Elsewhere" (1988)
"Homicide: Life on the Street" (1998)
"The Practice" (2003)
"True Blood" (2011)

Movie/Miniseries Lead Actress
"Unnatural Causes" (1987)
"A Mother's Courage: The Mary Thomas Story" (1990)
"The Piano Lesson" (1995)
"Miss Evers' Boys" (1997)

Movie/Miniseries Supporting Actress
"Words By Heart" (1985)
"Gulliver's Travels" (1996)
"The Water is Wide" (2006)
"Pictures of Hollis Woods" (2008)
"Steel Magnolias" (2013) -- pending

Comedy Supporting Actress
"Desperate Housewives" (2006)

Find out if Alfre Woodard can win her fifth acting Emmy when Neil Patrick Harris hosts the 65th Primetime Emmys on CBS Sept. 22.

Special thanks to Gold Derby user Adam Davenport for bringing this to our attention.

Emmys: 38 Winners from David E. Kelley Shows

David E. Kelley

As a writer and producer, David E. Kelley has amassed a total of 10 individual Emmys. But perhaps his biggest claim to fame is that he's responsible for winning 30 different actors and actresses their own Emmy awards, across many competetive categories. Thanks to repeat winners such as Kathy Baker ("Picket Fences"), James Spader and William Shatner ("The Practice," "Boston Legal"), the total number of acting wins is even more staggering at 38... and counting!

Click arrow on right side of photo above to see all of Kelley's acting champs, beginning with the most recent.

Text: Marcus Dixon

David E. Kelley
2011: Paul McCrane ('Harry's Law')
James Spader ('Boston Legal' in 2007 and 2005; 'The Practice' in 2004)
2006: Christian Clemenson ('Boston Legal')
William Shatner ('Boston Legal' in 2005; 'The Practice' in 2004)
2004: Sharon Stone ('The Practice')
Alfre Woodard ('The Practice' in 2003; 'L.A. Law' in 1987)
2002: Charles S. Dutton ('The Practice')
2001: Peter MacNicol ('Ally McBeal')
2001: Michael Emerson ('The Practice')
2000: Beah Richards ('The Practice')
2000: James Whitmore ('The Practice')
1999: Michael Badalucco and Holland Taylor ('The Practice')
1999: Edward Herrmann ('The Practice')
1999: Tracey Ullman ('Ally McBeal')
1998: Camryn Manheim ('The Practice')
1998: John Larroquette ('The Practice')
1998: Christine Lahti ('Chicago Hope')
1997: Hector Elizondo ('Chicago Hope')
1993, 1995, 1996: Kathy Baker ('Picket Fences')
1995, 1996: Ray Walston ('Picket Fences')
1995: Mandy Patinkin ('Chicago Hope')
1995: Paul Winfield ('Picket Fences')
1994: Fyvush Finkel ('Picket Fences')
1994: Leigh Taylor-Young ('Picket Fences')
1994: Richard Kiley ('Picket Fences')
1993: Tom Skerritt ('Picket Fences')
1992: Richard Dysart ('L.A. Law')
1990: Jimmy Smits ('L.A. Law')
1989, 1988: Larry Drake ('L.A. Law')
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