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Arguably the Worst Emmy Winners of All Time, Ranked

Updated September 7, 2021 1.6k votes 655 voters 13.9k views14 items

For each astounding, inspiring Emmy-winning actor that makes us laugh, cry, and feel real, human emotions watching their performances, there are an equal number of Emmy-winners who definitely don't deserve the honor. Some of these Emmy-winning actors were given bad roles, while others were just not as great as other nominees. Whatever the case, we've put together a list of the worst Emmy winners that really don't deserve the award they received for their work.

Louis C.K. probably wasn't happy after losing to Jon Cryer in 2012, but that kind of choice reveals a lot about Emmy voters. When an out-of-the-blue nominee wins an Emmy, certain questions tend to arise, such as: Do Emmy voters have cable? Are they giving their ballots to non-humans? Why William Shatner, and why now? The worst Emmy winners betray viewers' trust, and let down die-hard fans of other performances.

Some of these Emmy wins feel completely out of place. Kiefer Sutherland over Martin Sheen? Behind the Candlelabra over Top of the Lake? Are these worst Emmy winners a result of industry insiders thinking that they know best?

Not agreeing with an Emmy nomination or win doesn’t make the actor or show in question automatically bad. Many times, the worst Emmy wins are simply tone deaf in the context of the year and competition. Or they seem out of step in retrospect.

Vote up the worst Emmy Award winnings below.