Given their profession, it comes as no shock when actors politely smile and clap when their name is not called at an awards show. But sometimes nominees are truly happy just to be nominees and would have no problem with the trophy going home with someone else.
We chatted with a handful of the folks nominated for an Emmy Award at this Sunday’s ceremony — actors and writers — about who they’d like to see make the walk to the stage if it can’t be them.
Bryan Cranston, best actor in a drama series for “Breaking Bad”
The actor won three consecutive best actor awards from 2008-2010 for his work as chemistry teacher turned drug kingpin Walter White. Among his competition each time was Jon Hamm of “Mad Men.”
“Last year Damian Lewis [of ‘Homeland’] won and then I had to present something and so I was backstage after I knew I didn’t win and Jon came back and he made me laugh, he whispered in my ear, ‘It gets easier,’ ” says Cranston with a big laugh.
Cranston and Hamm are nominated again this year alongside Jeff Daniels of “The Newsroom,” Kevin Spacey of “House of Cards,” Hugh Bonneville of “Downton Abbey,” and Lewis.
In addition to potentially walking away with some hardware, Cranston, who is currently starring as President Lyndon B. Johnson in the American Repertory Theater production of “All the Way,” will be making a quick round trip to LA to appear as a presenter on the telecast.
Of his competitors the actor says seriously, “I respect them all. I think they’re all worthy of it. I don’t look at [Emmy Awards] as something that I work for. This is a perk, a bonus, a cherry on top of the sundae. If you didn’t get the cherry you’d still have the sundae, so it’s like, ‘What are you complaining about?’ ”
Margo Martindale, guest actress in a drama series for “The Americans”
Martindale already has a trophy, justifiably, for her work on fellow FX series “Justified” and she felt pretty confident her name would not be getting called when we spoke to her last month at the Television Critics Association press tour in Los Angeles. “I wouldn’t be betting on me,” she said with a laugh. Of her competition, Martindale said if Jane Fonda were to win for “The Newsroom” “that would be marvelous.”
Rupert Friend, guest actor in a drama series for “Homeland”
When read a list of his competition the British actor had nothing but praise, especially for Michael J. Fox who was up for “The Good Wife.” “Oh my God. I think he should win. Just because he’s ‘Back to the Future.’ I mean, come on, are you kidding me? I would be pissed if I won against Michael J. Fox to be honest.” Friend also would put on a happy face for Nathan Lane, who was also nominated for “The Good Wife,” “Because I think he’s great.”
Tracey Wigfield and Jack Burditt, writing for a comedy series for “30 Rock”
During a visit to “The Mindy Project” set, we cornered the former “30 Rock” writers who are competing against each other with different episodes in this category. “We already have a contentious, terrible relationship so this has only made it worse,” joked Wigfield. Asked which one of them had the edge, Wigfield noted, “Well Tina [Fey] is on my ticket.” But both had nothing but praise for their fellow writers, with Burditt giving the edge to Louis C.K. “I’d like to see Greg Daniels from ‘The Office’ win,” said Wigfield.
Dan Bucatinsky, guest actor in a drama series for “Scandal”
“I don’t really even let myself fantasize about it because I don’t think I’m going to win,” said Bucatinsky. “Michael J. Fox, end of story. People say this stuff all the time and I’m always like, ‘Yeah, right.’ But I am honestly so honored to be nominated in this company.”
(Spoiler alert: Since the guest awards were handed out at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards last week, we now know he won. As did Carrie Preston for “The Good Wife,” beating Martindale. Congrats, Dan. Sorry, Rupert and Margo.)
Sarah Rodman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.