The Emmys giveth, and the Emmys taketh away.
Just like any splashy televised awards ceremony, the Emmys have had their share of controversy over the years — including pivoting on whom to honor with trophies and nominations.
The Oscars might have made the biggest splash in recent memory for the infamous 2017 “Moonlight”/“La La Land” snafu, but the movies don’t get to dominate award season scandals. The Emmys have a surprisingly colorful history of revoked nominations and awards.
The disgraced ex-governor of New York, 63, is the most recent winner of the dubious honor. He was given the International Emmy Founders Award in 2020 for his much-lauded communication during his press conferences throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. However, after he resigned in August following allegations that he sexually harassed 11 women during his tenure in office, the International Academy of Arts and Sciences stripped his Emmy. “His name and any reference to his receiving the award will be eliminated from International Academy materials going forward,” the organization said in a statement.
Unlike Cuomo, Winkler, 75, got his Emmy honor taken away for innocent reasons — a quirk of TV scheduling. Nearly two decades before he finally won his first trophy in 2018 for HBO’s “Barry,” Winkler was nominated for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy for NBC’s short-lived 2000 series “Battery Park.” Winkler’s episode was set to air that April, but when the show was axed after only four episodes, the network booted the show to the summer. Since that made Winkler’s appearance on the show happen after the May 31 cut-off for Emmy eligibility, it was deemed ineligible. Bruce Willis went on to take home that category’s trophy that year (for “Friends”), while Winkler still got a nomination in 2000 (for the guest actor in a drama category) for “The Practice.”
In the summer of 2017, the Academy announced that Spacey, 62, would receive the International Emmy Founders Award in November’s ceremony for his global contribution to the arts — mostly due to his starring role in the political drama “House of Cards,” which helped Netflix become a force and changed the game for streaming. In October of that same year, “Star Trek’s” Anthony Rapp, 49, alleged that Spacey made a sexual advance toward him in 1986 when Rapp was 14. Soon after, a slew of men followed with similar accusations and Netflix severed ties, removing Spacey from the final season of “House of Cards.” On Oct. 30, 2017, the International TV Academy announced that it would no longer present Spacey with the 2017 International Emmy Founders Award “in light of recent events.”
“This Is Us”
Yes, even the hit crowd-pleasing tearjerker hasn’t emerged from the Emmys unscathed. The reason? All of the show’s time-hopping within its story. In 2017, NBC’s then-freshman drama racked up an impressive 11 nominations, including the category for Outstanding Contemporary Costumes. However, in August of that year, it was announced that “House of Cards” would replace it on the ballot (bringing the show’s nomination count down to 10) because, in order to be eligible for “contemporary” costumes, 51% of the submitted episodes must be set within the last 25 years. The show’s submitted episode, “Moonshadow,” mostly took place in the 1970s, focusing on Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca’s (Mandy Moore) relationship. So, blame them for the revoked Emmy nod.
Even Ted Lasso himself got rejected. Sudeikis’s warm and fuzzy AppleTV sports series might be the Emmy darling this year – with a whopping 20 nods — but the former “SNL” star wasn’t always so lucky. In 2016, he was initially given a nod in the category of guest actors in a comedy for the Fox series “The Last Man on Earth.” However, Season 2 of that show had 18 episodes, and because Sudeikis appeared in 11 of them (playing Mike Miller, astronaut brother of Will Forte’s character, Phil), he was in over 50% of the episodes. This made him no longer eligible as a guest star, per Emmy rules. Unfortunately for Sudeikis, it wasn’t possible to switch him to the “supporting actor” category instead of “guest” because the error didn’t come to light until voting had already started. So, he was disqualified. At least he’s having the last laugh this year.