Emmy Awards: Jeff Daniels Talks Best Actor in a Drama Shocker

2013 Emmy Awards: Jeff Daniels of

When it came to Jeff Daniels’ win for best drama actor in HBO’s “Newsroom,” shocked would be an understatement — for both journos backstage, and the thesp himself, who began his acceptance speech with, “Well, crap.”

After accepting the award, Daniels headed to the press room to expound on his reaction. Daniels, who plays Will McAvoy on the Aaron Sorkin-created drama, was largely not favored to win, with “Breaking Bad’s” Bryan Cranston and “House of Cards’” Kevin Spacey considered frontrunners for the trophy.

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“I’ve been neutral about this whole thing. I’ve been nominated a bunch of times — Google it — enough to not lean towards it, or hope too much,” Daniels said. “There were six of us nominated, and there easily could have been 10 other guys where we were. It’s a really crowded time to be in television, and a great time to be in television. I felt the work [on ‘Newsroom’] stood up to what the other guys were doing, but we’re all doing different things. It’s anybody’s win. I was happy to win, but surprised because it could have been anyone.”

Questions arose about the future of “The Newsroom,” which Daniels had tweeted earlier in September would return for a third run, only to have HBO not officially announce the renewal. Daniels explained the background on the tweet.

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“I was about to do ‘Leno,’” he said, “and I called HBO and I said, ‘What do I say if this comes up?’ And they said, ‘Absolutely say you’re coming back, you just don’t know when.’ So that’s what I tweeted.”

Sorkin emphasized that the show is indeed returning to HBO for a third season, but “we just don’t know when yet. They’re trying to work it out with Aaron, and when HBO is going to air it.”

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The win for Daniels certainly rewards months upon months of challenging Sorkin dialogue, which the thesp said he would spend entire weekends memorizing.

“Every one or two weeks, we get 80 pages of Sorkin,” Daniels remarked. “The trick is, at six in the morning every day, know it, and know what you’re going to do with it. This is no film acting thing, and I’ve done it, where you’re memorizing as you’re walking to set. You can’t do that with Aaron, you won’t survive.”

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As for Daniels’ upcoming work?

“Tomorrow I’m going to get on a plane and start shooting ‘Dumb and Dumber Too,’” Daniels said, the room erupting with laughter. “The intellectual free fall from Will McAvoy…”

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  1. Cherie says:

    Congrats to Jeff Daniels for the Newsroom win! This is such a wonderful show! The story lines hit right on and the cast carry the lines so well.
    He was up against some amazing actors but the one that gave his heart and soul won the race!
    Can’t wait for season #3

    • Patricia says:

      You Bet, you better, you better, you bet!! Cherie, you took the words right out of my mouth. I have watched every episode at least 10 times…all because of Jeff Daniels. He delivers Aaron Sorkin lines so eloquently, funny and right on cue. I am sooo happy he won. The entire cast rocks!

  2. Karen J. Warren says:

    I thought Daniels was fabulous in “The Newsroom.” I am thrilled that he won and that we will have a 3rd season of fabulous political drama and comedy!

  3. Lisa says:

    I love “The Newsroom” and Jeff Daniels deserved that award!!

  4. Hip Hip Hurray! Daniels won. He was the best and he won.

    Elizabeth

  5. Miva Valle says:

    I am so glad Jeff won, well deserve he is such a hard working actor, I can’;t believe how big his children are just found them here http://wagcelebrity.com/bios/kathleen-rosemary-treado-jeff-daniels-wife-photos/

  6. JEFF DANIELS is such a consummate actor, detractors of his well-deserved Emmy for bringing fictional ACN anchorman, WILL McAVOY, to life have confused Will’s EDITORIAL commentary at the END of his newscast with Daniels’ personal political opinions!
    As a former accredited member of the US House of Representatives’ print news media for the CAPITAL HILL NEWS SERVICE (along with a kid named CHRIS MATHEWS!), I can vouch for the authenticity of Daniels’ complex character, WILL McAVOY.

  7. Kelly says:

    Seriously Julienne, do you have nothing better to do than bash someone who, I’m betting everything I own, you don’t even know? I’m also gonna take a stab in the dark that you’re a Tea Party member, or as I believe the show so elequently put it, a member of the American Taliban. Sooooooo obvious. Well, Jeff Daniels did an excellent job as did most of the other cast members (some really aren’t so good) & while I did not see the other shows I do feel happy for Daniles. Bitter, party of one? Hater!

  8. Karen says:

    Jeff Daniels most definitely deserved this win. The show has an amazing ensemble cast and is fascinating to watch. My feeling is those who don’t like it seem to know a lot about it…how is that? I don’t like Breaking Mad or House of Cards due to subject matter I’ve read about and I don’t watch those shows. The politics of Newsroom is reality. I’m guessing you’ve missed the point of Newsroom. Awesome win and Congratulations on the Best Actor award!

  9. For everyone saying that Cranston and Spacey were robbed… I think that what happened is that this was such a tight race that Cranston and Spacey split the votes hurting their chances.

  10. Clayton says:

    His emmy win was probably *a political thing, rather.

  11. Clayton says:

    Ridiculous. I have nothing against Jeff Daniels, but get real, folks. His emmy win was a probably political thing. I’m so glad that I don’t watch award shows anymore.

  12. Sukhada says:

    So happy for Jeff Daniels! So well deserved! :D

  13. Boyd Boy says:

    Disappointed. He was the least deserving of the bunch. Daniels is ok but the show is just so bad it shouldn’t be a contender for anything, much less win. Just goes to show the politics of it all and how much influence HBO can have. Cranston and Spacey were robbed.

    • ccp says:

      One of them was surely robbed. I like Newsroom, but Daniels was not deserving of this win. Sad. It makes you wonder. Politics? HBO biased? Anyway, I just hope Netflix and AMC keep putting out good shows.

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