There is a deja vu aspect to the Emmy Awards, the annual television celebration that usually begins with a gimmicky musical number or comedy sketch and ends with “Mad Men” winning a best drama statuette. (For more on that, see Lisa de Moraes’s piece on the predictable nature of the Emmys.)
The repetitiveness of the affair may have convinced some viewers that all the repeat Emmy nominees we see year after year already have at least one win to their credit. But a number of them do not. Let’s call them the non-victorious veterans, the often nominated but (so far) never triumphant TV stars. Ten of them have earned nods in some major categories again this year. If you’re seeking underdogs to root for during Sunday’s big event, airing on ABC, these may be the people to champion. Assuming, of course, that one can view people like Christina Hendricks and Ryan Seacrest as underdogs.
1. Jon Hamm: For all the hype about how “Mad Men” wins every year, it’s worth noting that not a single one of its actors has captured an Emmy yet. And that includes the man who brings Don Draper to heavy-drinking, smooth-sales-pitching life; this year marks the fifth time he’s been nominated and, depending on how things shake out, possibly the fourth time he’ll lose to “Breaking Bad’s” Bryan Cranston..
2. Michael C. Hall: “Dexter’s” serial killer, like Hamm, is going for his fifth attempt to win in the best actor in a drama category. He also lost in the same race back when he was playing a non-murderous undertaker on “Six Feet Under.”
3. Elisabeth Moss: The actress who plays “Mad Men’s” Peggy Olson has struck out on three previous occasions but will step up to the Emmy plate for a fourth time Sunday night. Unfortunately, she’s up against Claire Danes, who was magnificent in “Homeland.” Then again, did Danes’s Carrie ever pick up a phone and yell “Pizza House” in such a genius manner? Don’t think so.
4. Christina Hendricks: Oh, look, another “Mad Men” star who hasn’t won. Hendricks, a.k.a. the shapely and smart-as-a-whip silent partner Joan Holloway, is up for her third nomination this year as best supporting actress in a drama.
5. Amy Poehler: Poehler’s Leslie Knope won an election on last season’s “Parks and Recreation.” So maybe she’ll finally win the Emmy for best actress in a comedy on her third try? (For those keeping score, she also lost twice in the supporting actress category when she was on “Saturday Night Live.”)
6. Ryan Seacrest: The ubiquitous media personality has been recognized for five years running in the best reality show host category, for his work on “American Idol.” With perennial winner Jeff Probst not nominated this time, maybe this will be his year. Unless ...
7. Tom Bergeron: ... it turns out to be the “Dancing With the Stars” emcee’s year. Like Seacrest, he’s landed in the reality host category annually since 2008, the year it was created.
8. Connie Britton: She was never nominated for her work on “Spin City” and missed the Emmy-winning cut twice for her role as Tami Taylor on “Friday Night Lights.” But Britton’s a contender again, this time for birthing a freaky baby on “American Horror Story.” She didn’t even need to submit an entire episode for consideration. All she gave to Emmy voters was this photo.
9. Ed O’Neill: This is only the second time O’Neill has gotten a nod as crusty Jay Dunphy on “Modern Family.” But given all his years on “Married With Children,” some may think he has more nominations or wins under the belt that used to provide such an ideal resting place for his hand. He doesn’t.
10. Larry David: Emmy voters have now nominated David five times for his etiquette-less portrayal of himself on “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” but his name has never been the one read from the dais. He does, however, have two non-acting Emmys to his credit from his “Seinfeld” days. So if he loses again on Sunday, you know, yadda yadda yadda.