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The Best Actresses Who've Never Won an Emmy (for Acting)

Updated June 14, 2019 22.9k votes 3.4k voters 14.2k views40 items

List RulesActresses, primarily known for TV work, who have been eligible for an Emmy award in an acting category - but haven't won.

Despite years as television mainstays, some of the brightest starts of the small screen have never been recognized by Emmy voters for their work. We're talking big names like Amy Poehler, Zooey Deschanel, and Connie Britton. All are extremely talented women who've never managed to take home the trophy. Tatiana Maslany brilliantly plays multiple characters on Orphan Black, and the girl still can't get any Emmy love!

Angela Lansbury is the queen of the TV actress Emmy snubs with 18 nominations and no trophy. She published 18 books and played Jessica Fletcher on Murder, She Wrote for so many years she could probably have solved actual crimes for law enforcement. The Television Academy sure teased Lansbury with all those nominations and yet she’s one of those great actresses who never won Emmys. Despite all the top TV performances turned in by these ladies, they're all a reminder of how TV actress Emmy snubs go.

How many times will Melissa McBride blow up the screen on The Walking Dead before she gets to be one of the chosen few actresses who won Emmys? Perhaps she should bake them some cookies. Courteney Cox had to watch her female Friends costars take home trophies and be repeatedly nominated while she got left out in the cold. The Television Academy knew that Monica wasn’t a real person, right? And that Cox was just as compelling as Lisa Kudrow and Jennifer Aniston. No?

Another one of those TV actress Emmy snubs belongs to Kim Cattrall. As Samantha Jones on Sex and the City, Cattrall talked about sex, infidelity, younger men, and menopause in a groundbreaking way. Her bold and flawed Jones opened up the dialogue about sexuality and a woman’s right to choose who she shares her bed with. Cattrall joins those actresses who never won Emmys, though she did win a Razzie in 2011 for Sex and the City 2.

Some of these TV actress Emmy snubs are so frustrating, it makes you want to ask the Television Academy what they're even looking for in an actress's performance. Which TV actress Emmy snub gets your goat the most? Vote her up and show some Emmy love for these Hollywood women who deserve recognition.

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  • 1
    Melissa McBride
    834
    296

    Melissa McBride

    The Walking Dead
    The Walking Dead as Carol Peletier
  • 2
    Katey Sagal
    1,130
    750

    Katey Sagal

    Futurama, Sons of Anarchy

    Sons of Anarchy as Gemma Teller Morrow; Married with Children as Peggy Bundy

  • 3
    Robin Wright
    232
    113

    Robin Wright

    House of Cards, Santa Barbara

    House of Cards as Claire Underwood (Nom. Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series 2013 - 2016)

  • 4
    Amy Poehler
    639
    526

    Amy Poehler

    Parks and Recreation, Saturday Night Live
    Parks and Recreation as Leslie Knope (Nom. Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series 2010 - 2015)
  • 5
    Angela Lansbury
    546
    435

    Angela Lansbury

    Murder, She Wrote
    Murder, She Wrote as Jessica Fletcher (Nom. Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series (1985 - 1996)
  • 6
    Courteney Cox
    560
    499

    Courteney Cox

    Friends, Family Ties
    Friends as Monica Geller-Bing
  • 7
    Connie Britton
    416
    353

    Connie Britton

    American Horror Story, Friday Night Lights
    Friday Night Lights as Tami Taylor (Nom. Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series 2010 - 2011) Nashville as Rayna James (Nom. Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series 2013)
  • 8
    Mary Steenburgen
    232
    111

    Mary Steenburgen

    Bored to Death, Joan of Arcadia

    The Attic: The Hiding of Anne Frank as Miep Gies (Nom. Outstanding Lead Actress - Miniseries or a Movie 1988);

  • 9
    Alyson Hannigan
    657
    595

    Alyson Hannigan

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer, How I Met Your Mother

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer as Willow Rosenberg; How I Met Your Mother as Lily Aldrin

  • 10
    Kristen Wiig
    434
    396

    Kristen Wiig

    Saturday Night Live, Bored to Death
    Saturday Night Live (Nom. Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series 2009 - 2012)
  • 11
    Mindy Kaling
    331
    278

    Mindy Kaling

    The Office, The Mindy Project
    The Mindy Project as Mindy Lahiri, The Office as Kelly Kapoor
  • 12
    Joanne Froggatt
    246
    124

    Joanne Froggatt

    Downton Abbey, The Royle Family

    Downtown Abbey as Anna Bates (Nom. Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series 2012, 2014, 2015)

  • 13
    Mary McDonnell
    221
    119

    Mary McDonnell

    Battlestar Galactica, Major Crimes

    Major Crimes as Sharon Raydor; The Closer asS haron Raydor on(Nom. Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series 2011)

  • 14
    Conchata Ferrell
    352
    303

    Conchata Ferrell

    Two and a Half Men, L.A. Law
    Two and a Half Men as Berta (Nom. Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series 2005, 2007)
  • 15
    Mayim Bialik
    532
    506

    Mayim Bialik

    The Big Bang Theory, Blossom
    The Big Bang Theory as Amy Farrah Fowler (Nom. Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series 2012 - 2015)
  • 16
    Lauren Graham
    446
    442

    Lauren Graham

    Gilmore Girls, Parenthood
    Parenthood as Sarah Braverman, Gilmore Girls as Lorelai Gilmore
  • 17
    Debra Jo Rupp
    513
    524

    Debra Jo Rupp

    That '70s Show, The Jeff Foxworthy Show
    That '70s Show as Kitty Forman, Friends as Alice Knight Buffay
  • 18
    Keri Russell
    321
    328

    Keri Russell

    Married... with Children, The Americans

    The Americans as Elizabeth Jennings (Nom. Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series 2016)

  • 19
    Kerry Washington
    354
    416

    Kerry Washington

    Scandal, Black Panther

    Scandal as Olivia Pope (Nom. Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series 2013 - 2014); Confirmation (Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or a Movie 2016) 

  • 20
    Paula Malcomson
    269
    262

    Paula Malcomson

    Deadwood, Ray Donovan
    Deadwood as Trixie, Sons of Anarchy as Maureen Ashby, Ray Donovan as Abby Donovan
  • 21
    Lena Headey
    51
    25

    Lena Headey

    Game of Thrones, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
  • 22
    Zooey Deschanel
    500
    555

    Zooey Deschanel

    New Girl, Weeds

    New Girl as Jess Day (Nom. Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series 2012)

  • 23
    Kim Cattrall
    276
    335

    Kim Cattrall

    Sex and the City, My Boy Jack
    Sex and the City as Samantha Jones (Nom. Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series 2000 - 2004)
  • 24
    Brooke Smith
    238
    274

    Brooke Smith

    Grey's Anatomy
    Ray Donovan as Frances
  • 25
    Natalie Dormer
    32
    33

    Natalie Dormer

    Game of Thrones, Elementary