So it seems as though it isn’t just–spoiler–President Selina Meyer that’s being given the boot this year.
Peter MacNicol, who appeared for multiple episodes of the fifth season of HBO’s political comedy Veep, kissed his dreams of winning an Emmy goodbye before they barely entered his head. The Academy of Television and Arts and Sciences snatched the nomination for outstanding guest actor in a comedy series back today, reports the Hollywood Reporter, on what appears to be a little technicality.
MacNicol, who is known around the studios as a “veteran character actor,” has made stops all over the TV scene, from 24 to Ally McBeal to Numbers to The Amazing Spider-Man (he is also a decorated movie actor as well). For Veep, MacNicol took on the role as Jonah, the Capitol-Hill-punching-bag’s, uncle. As a guest actor, of course, he didn’t appear in every episode–in fact, only five. Unfortunately for MacNicol, however, there were ten episodes this season–five, being exactly half of ten, is just one episode too many for the Academy.
For a nominated actor to really be considered a “guest,” he or she has to have been in less than fifty percent of the season–and that’s number of episodes, not actual screen-time. This would be the kind of thing that one could fairly assume that the Academy would have known about prior to recognizing MacNicol as a guest actor, but in fact, no one at the Academy ever had that lightbulb moment. In fact, it was the comments section under a post about the 2016 Emmy Nominees that raised a few red flags.
“Is Peter MacNicol’s nomination valid? IMDb lists him for five episodes,” said one commenter.
Just checked the credits for those five episodes,” said another, “and he is credited for each. We could see another Henry Winkler situation.”
Someone could say, “Hang on. They already nominated him; isn’t it cruel to take it back?” Unfortunately for let-down feelings, the Academy was well within their right to correct their mistake.
As it states in the Academy’s rulebook, “Correct entry information is the responsibility of the entrant. Ineligible entries will be disqualified at any stage of the competition.”
Now, the Academy wasn’t clumsy when it picked MacNicol as a nominee. Many decisions are made weeks, sometimes months in advance to the announcement; sometimes, even before the entire season of a show has been finalized. When the Academy slotted MacNicol as a guest actor, he was actually only supposed to appear in less than five episodes.
That fifth appearance was not actually even a true, whole scene. MacNicol appears in the ninth episode this year for exactly ten seconds.
Nonetheless, he now joins a small, sad club of actors who kissed their Emmy noms goodbye on technicalities. Dennis Miller lost his for his comedy special “Dennis Miller Live” in 1995, and then in 2000, Henry Winkler–who the commenter mentioned–lost his own guest actor nomination after the Academy realized that his cameo in Battery Park actually aired after the Emmy nomination cutoff day.
Still, it isn’t a total loss for MacNicol. The actor has already snagged a golden trophy of his own for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for his role on Ally MacBeal.
Said a spokesperson for HBO, “We are very sorry that Peter’s brilliant performance will not be recognized.”
As per the procedure for this unusual situation, someone else–the actor with the runner-up number of votes–will be nominated instead. That name will be announced shortly.