TV: Can one scene get Jeffrey Dean Morgan an Emmy for ‘The Walking Dead’?

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Fans of “The Walking Dead” are probably still wrestling with worry over one of the most talked about cliffhangers in recent TV history. Season six’s vexing finale saw the obfuscated onset of someone’s death. Whose fate was sealed by Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) an unhinged sadist and his spike garnished bat Lucille? We won’t know until October, but before then awards prognosticators can take a swing at (too soon?) another question: does Morgan’s short but potent performance in last season’s finale qualify him for a Guest Actor Emmy and does he have a chance? If so, this could be an unprecedented move, making it the first time the awards show acknowledges the series beyond its technical and visual achievements and nominate an actor.

“The Walking Dead” has been nominated for an Emmy every year since 2011, mostly for technical categories like special effects, sound editing, stunt coordination and prosthetic makeup for which it won in 2011 and the following year, yet none of the members of its large cast have ever been nominated in the acting categories.  This is despite usually solid performances from series regulars like Andrew Lincoln, Melissa McBride, Lauren Cohan and Danai Gurira to name a few. Not even David Morrissey could get a nomination for playing the eye-patched villain The Governor for a span of three seasons.

That could change this year with Morgan on board. Right now his competitors for guest actor in a drama series are Reg E. Cathey (“House of Cards”) who could take it for a second year in a row. The last season of “The Good Wife” also saw strong guest performances from Michael J. Fox and Josh Charles, and since Fox has been nominated four times now for his recurring guest spot on “The Good Wife” he looks like the one that’s favored to win. Given that Morgan’s performance was so brief, only appearing during the season finale’s last scene, he might not have the edge despite giving a convincing performance after a distinctly anticipated arrival – disappointment would have been understandable. That convincing performance won’t earn Morgan a trophy, but it’s enough to break precedent and most likely get him a deserved nomination.

Possible Emmy nominations in the drama series category

  • Outstanding Guest Actor – Jeffrey Dean Morgan
  • Outstanding Sound Editing
  • Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup
  • Outstanding Special Visual Effects
  • Outstanding Stunt Coordination
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Clayton Davis is the esteemed Editor and Owner of AwardsCircuit.com. Born in Bronx, NY to a Puerto Rican mother and Black father, he’s been criticizing film and television for over a decade. Clayton is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association where he votes and attends the kick off to the awards season, the Critics Choice Awards. He also founded the Latino Entertainment Journalists Association, the first Latino-based critics’ organization in the United States. He’s also an active member of the African-American Film Critics Association, New York Film Critics Online, International Press Academy, Black Reel Awards, and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association. Clayton has been quoted and appeared in various outlets that include The New York Times, CNN.com, Variety, Deadline, Los Angeles Times, FOX 5, Bloomberg Television, AOL, Huffington Post, Bloomberg Radio, The Wrap, Slash Film, and the Hollywood Reporter.