The Emmys are supposed to honour greatness in television.
Sometimes they fall short.
All award shows have their controversies. The Oscars, too, have snubbed greatness in favour of mediocrity. But the Emmys, in particular, are really easy to win. So it’s a particular shame when they don’t give an award to the person or show that deserves it.
Here’s a list of 12 Emmy winners that don’t deserve statues on their mantelpieces.
Steve Carell was nominated for lead actor in a comedy series for 'The Office' five times, and lost every time. The most undeserved loss was in 2011, the final time Carell was nominated and therefore the last chance the Emmys had to give him a win. He lost to Jim Parsons in 'The Big Bang Theory.' For the second year in a row. Come on.
Look, I love Patricia Arquette. Kissin' Kate Barlow in 'Holes' will always hold a special place in my heart, as will her performances in 'True Romance' and 'Boyhood.' But it's bizarre that she won a leading actress Emmy in 2005 for the utterly forgettable 'Medium' when she was up against Glenn Close in 'Shield' and Jennifer Garner in 'Alias.'
Jeremy Piven won an Emmy in 2007, as a supporting actor in 'Entourage,' which is a dumb show. That year, he wrongly beat out Neil Patrick Harris for his role in 'How I Met Your Mother,' as well as Rainn Wilson in 'The Office.' It set the trend of Emmy losses for Harris in the role.
Craig T. Nelson wasn't bad in 'Coach.' But does anyone remember that show? Instead, his 1992 Emmy win for leading actor in a comedy should have gone to Jerry Seinfeld for 'Seinfeld,' or maybe Ted Danson in 'Cheers.'
Helen Hunt is great, and 'Mad About You' is a fine show. But did she really need to win Emmys for outstanding actress in a comedy four years in a row? Her 1996 to 1999 wins meant that Ellen DeGeneres's groundbreaking work in 'Ellen' was shut out.
He won the category for lead actor in a comedy series in 2012. Leaving aside the question of whether 'Two and a Half Men' can be fairly categorized as a 'comedy,' Cryer is simply not as funny as fellow nominees Louis C.K. in 'Louie' or Larry David on 'Curb Your Enthusiasm.'
The year is 2007. 'The Sopranos,' one of the most important shows in the history of television, just finished its final season. James Gandolfini, the lead actor in the series, who holds the whole series together, is up for an Emmy as an outstanding lead actor in a drama series.
Who does the award go to? Fedora-wearer James Spader in 'Boston Legal.' How does that make any sense?
The internet collectively groaned when it was announced that 'Modern Family' was nominated for its eighth consecutive best comedy series Emmy. The show is way past its prime.
The show's win in 2014 -- given to several producers -- was too much. It beat out 'Louie,' 'Orange is the New Black,' 'Silicon Valley,' and 'Veep.'
Ward got her good reviews for her lead performance in the drama 'Once & Again,' but her 2000 Emmy would be better off given to Margulies for her final season of 'ER.'
Sometimes an actor wins an Emmy just because they're really famous and the Emmy voters want to throw an honour that way. One example is 'Star Trek' icon William Shatner winning in the supporting actor category for a drama in 2005, for 'Boston Legal.' Other nominees, like Naveen Andrews and Terry O'Quinn in 'Lost,' did more deserving work.
He won a supporting actor award for a comedy series in 1990, when 'Cheers' was at its peak. Kelsey Grammer or Woody Harrelson would have been better winners.
In 2013, Jeff Daniels won the best actor in a drama series award for his performance as Will McAvoy in the often tone-deaf show 'The Newsroom.' He's a solid actor. Hammy, sometimes. He definitely isn't better than some of the other nominees, like Damian Lewis in 'Homeland,' Bryan Cranston in 'Breaking Bad,' or Jon Hamm in 'Mad Men.'
More from INSIDER:
- People are saying Martha Stewart may have just owned Gwyneth Paltrow with one brutal question
- 11 celebrity couples who said they waited to have sex until marriage
- Goop’s new magazine admits that some of its outlandish health advice may not work
- 12 great artists who died at the age of 27
- Miley Cyrus revealed why she’s not planning a wedding with Liam Hemsworth — and it makes total sense
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.