Emmy veterans return to race one more time: Cicely Tyson, Bette Midler, Meryl Streep …
By Susan King
August 31, 2020
At first glance, the Emmys are giving a lot of love to young performers including Zendaya (“Euphoria”), Julia Garner (“Ozark”), Sarah Snook (“Succession”), Jeremy Pope (“Hollywood), and Ramy Youssef (“Ramy”). But looks can be deceiving because there are several Emmy veterans in their 70s, 80s, and even 90s nipping at these whippersnappers’ heels in the quest for the gold statute.
Cicely Tyson is the oldest acting Emmy nominee at 95. She’s nominated for the fifth time for guest role in a drama series as Ophelia Harkness on ABC’s “How to Get Away with Murder” and is also being inducted into the academy Hall of Fame. Tyson, a Tony (“A Trip to Bountiful”) and honorary Oscar-winner, has been nominated for the Emmy 16 times, winning three: for lead in a drama and actress of the year for CBS’ 1974 “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman” and supporting actress in a miniseries or special for CBS’ 1994 “The Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All.”
Alan Arkin, 86, is nominated for supporting actor in a comedy series for Netflix’s “The Kominsky Method.” Arkin, who has won a Tony (“Enter Laughing”) and an Oscar (“Little Miss Sunshine”), received his first Emmy nomination 53 years ago for single performance by an actor in a leading role in a drama for the “ABC Stage 67: The Love Song of Barney Kempinski.” Arkin has received a total of six Emmy bids but has gone home empty-handed every time.
Louis Gossett Jr., 84, who won the supporting actor Oscar for 1982’s “An Officer and a Gentleman,” earns his eighth Emmy nomination this year for actor in a limited series or movie for HBO’s “Watchmen.” It his first nomination in 23 years since he contended for for guest actor in a drama series for CBS’ “Touched by An Angel.” He won his only Emmy for lead actor in a single appearance in a drama or comedy for his indelible and career-changing performance as Fiddler in ABC’s landmark 1977 miniseries “Roots.”
James Cromwell, who received a supporting actor Oscar nomination for 1995’s “Babe,” is up for his fifth Emmy for guest actor in a drama series for HBO’s “Succession.” The 80 -year-old earned his first Emmy nomination 20 years ago for supporting actor in a miniseries or movies for HBO’s “RKO 281.” Cromwell won in that category seven years ago for FX’s “American Horror Story.”
Holland Taylor, now 77, is back among the Emmy nominees for the first time in a decade. She’s up for supporting actress in a limited series or movie for Netflix’s “Hollywood.” Taylor has been nominated eight times, winning in 1999 for supporting actress in a drama series for ABC’s “The Practice.”
Michael Douglas, 75, who is nominated for lead actor in a comedy series for “The Kominsky Method,” received his first Emmy nomination back in 1974 for ABC’s cop drama “The Streets of San Francisco.” Douglas, a two-time Oscar-winner (“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” “Wall Street”), has been nominated eight times at the Emmys winning seven years ago for his flamboyant turn as Liberace in HBO’s “Beyond the Candelabra.”
The Divine Miss M, aka Bette Midler, has been nominated for nine Emmys including this year for guest actress in a comedy series as Hadassah Gold (that name alone is Emmy worthy) on Netflix’s “The Politician.” Midler, 74, won her first of three Emmys back in 1978 for special-comedy-variety or music for “Old Red Hair is Back.” Fourteen years later, Midler won another Emmy for individual performance in a variety or music performance for making Johnny Carson cry with her rendition of “One for My Baby” on the penultimate episode of NBC’s “The Tonight Show.” The last time she won the accolade was for performance in a variety or musical performance for her 1997 HBO concert special, ‘Diva Las Vegas.’’
Ted Danson, 72, is up the third time for lead actor in the comedy series for NBC’s irreverent “The Good Place,” which ended its run this past season. He’s been nominated for a staggering 17 Emmys beginning in 1983 in the same lead actor in a comedy category for NBC’s classic “Cheers.” Danson was nominated 11 times for his iconic role as Sam Malone winning the Emmy in 1990 and 1993.
Jeremy Irons, 72, was somewhat of a newbie when he received his first Emmy nomination for lead actor for a limited series or special the beloved 1982 British miniseries “Brideshead Revisited.” And now nearly 40 years later, he is in the same category for HBO’s “Watchmen.” Irons, a Tony (“The Real Thing”) and Oscar-winner (“Reversal of Fortune”), hasn’t lost an Emmy since “Brideshead.” Ironically, only one of his wins was for an on-screen performance, supporting actor in a miniseries or movie for HBO’s 2005 “Elizabeth I.” He won two Emmys for his vocal work: for voice-over performance in 1997 for PBS’ “The Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century” and for outstanding narrator in 2014 for Nat Geo Wild’s “Big Cat Week.”
With 20 Oscar nominations and three wins (“Kramer vs. Kramer,” “Sophie’s Choice” and “The Iron Lady”), one doesn’t think much about Meryl Streep’s Emmy history. But the 71-year-old actually won her first big award here 42 years ago when she won for lead actress in a limited series for NBC’s “Holocaust.” She won 26 years later as lead actress in miniseries or movie for her multiple roles, including a male Rabbi, in HBO’s “Angels in America.” And she won for her narration of the Netflix’s 2017 documentary “Five Came Back.”
Three “SCTV” comedy geniuses — Eugene Levy, 73, Catherine O’Hara, 66, and Martin Short, 70 — are back in contention. Levy and O’Hara, both nominated for Pop’s comedy ‘’Schitt’s Creek,” won the Emmy 38 years ago for writing in the variety or music program with Levy and Short also receiving the honor in that category the following year. Short, nominated this year for guest actor in a drama series, for Apple +’s “The Morning Show,” was a winner six years ago for variety special for TNT’S “AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to Mel Brooks.”