‘Sherlock’ Shocks Emmys With Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman Wins

Emmy Nominees Movie and Miniseries

PBS’ “Sherlock” pulled off a string of surprise wins at the 2014 Emmy Awards, including lead and supporting actor trophies for stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, who faced stiff competition in the crowded miniseries/movie category. At the end of the night, “Sherlock” was the series with the most awards — seven — having scooped an additional four at the Creative Arts Emmys.

In the lead actor category, Cumberbatch — who was absent from the ceremony — faced off against also-absent Freeman (nominated for his role on “Fargo”) along with Billy Bob Thornton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Idris Elba and Mark Ruffalo. Among pundits, consensus seemed split between Thornton and Ruffalo for the victory, but Academy voters seemed high on the cerebral British drama.

In the supporting actor race, Freeman was up against “Fargo” co-star Colin Hanks, as well as “Normal Heart” stars Jim Parsons, Joe Mantello, Alfred Molina and Matt Bomer.

Series creator Steven Moffat’s work on “Sherlock: His Last Vow” also won writing for a miniseries, movie or dramatic special, although the show missed out on scoring the best miniseries award, which went to Freeman’s “Fargo,” while “Normal Heart” scored best movie.

SEE ALSO: Emmy Awards Winners 2014

Backstage, Moffat told reporters, “I didn’t think we’d win anything, genuinely … very shocked and surprised.” While he pointed out that the show has won plenty of awards outside America, they had almost written off any chance of an Emmy given that the series is aging. “We’re delighted that we’ve made it here and hopefully that it will get more people watching.”

As for how they plan to top last year’s highly rated season, Moffat declared, “We have a plan to top it, and I do think our plan is devastating. We practically reduced our cast to tears by revealing the plan.” He said he and co-creator Mark Gatiss are probably “more excited than we’ve ever been” about where the show is heading.

Moffat joked that Cumberbatch is now “too big to come to the Emmys,” but admitted that wrangling the busy stars has always been a challenge, given that they have no ongoing deals with the cast and are required to pitch them every year. “We all know what’s happening with ‘Sherlock’ is unusual, we know this won’t happen again in our lives … we’re keen to keep making ‘Sherlock’ as long as it’s a good show,” he promised.

The seven trophies ensured that PBS tied with CBS for the second-most Emmy wins of any network (taking home 11 total), beaten only by HBO’s 19 awards. “We are extremely proud of all of our programs honored by the Academy this year, especially Masterpiece’s ‘Sherlock’,” said Paula Kerger, president and CEO of PBS in a statement. “This is a golden age for drama on television, and we’re very pleased that public television has been recognized with the second-most awards of any network. My sincere congratulations to the team at Masterpiece, and our individual honorees for their well-deserved Emmy Awards.”

“‘Sherlock’ delivers! Big audiences, great reviews, and now the hardware,” says Masterpiece executive producer Rebecca Eaton. “We’re so happy for ‘the boys’ and for Sue and Beryl Vertue and all our gifted colleagues at Hartswood, the BBC, and PBS.”

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  1. I’m assuming no one who voted for Sherlock actually ever saw that monstrosity. I’ve tried on several occasions to watch it because I wanted to be fair. I love Sherlock Holmes movies and so I tried really hard to get into that show.
    I couldn’t! The Show Reeked To High Heaven! The writing is abysmal. whoever says Cumberbatch can act must have seen in something else. His acting on the show is atrocious. The Show is also riddled with Big Time Chauvinism. But that’s hardly surprising considering Steven Moffat is a Huge Male Chauvinist Pig! His other show Doctor Who is far more obvious in it’s complete disregard for Women.
    I’m guessing the reason some people voted for the show is because it was British and therefore “Must Be Good.” lol Riiiight.

  2. bubbles says:

    Cannot understand why Thornton or Freeman did not win fir Fargo. The third series of Sherlock(how is this a mini series?) was the worst ever full of sentimentality with a campy performance from Cumberbatch. It had completely lost it’s edge. Fargo, Luther and Dancing on the Edge were the standouts for me,

  3. Kristi says:

    Benedict and Martin are so good, they are actually working on other projects. Sherlock is a well made(written,acted,produced….) series. NBC moved the Emmys to Monday instead of the usual Sunday so they would not be up against the VMAs for ratings or have to bump a pre season football game.

  4. newsflash: Sherlock isn’t “PBS’S Sherlock” and referring to it that way boggles my mind.

  5. Tim Hawk says:

    Reduced them to tears? Tears of laughter I take it.

  6. Linda says:

    All three awards were well deserved! And they won a bunch at the Creative Emmys too. All so well deserved. The music, the cinematography, acting, script, everything about it – all so very excellent. Cannot find enough words to describe how good this show is. It’s the best show I’ve ever watched. I watched the first two seasons on Netflix and when the third season aired, I hung onto every word.

  7. Ross Stevens says:

    Regarding Cumberbatch and Freeman not being in Hollywood for the show, they were far from the only nominees or not there. And keep in mind foreign nominees have a tougher time breaking away from a film or stage gig to turn up at an awards show than someone who’s working in LA. Also, moving the show to Monday night makes it tougher for working stiffs, especially those who might be on stage, to show up on a weekday. And this interesting note… both NY tabloids, the News and Post, listed Freeman as winning for Fargo.

  8. rocky-o says:

    ‘Sherlock’ deserves every award it recieves…but i wish journalists would stop referring to it as ‘PBS’s Sherlock’…it’s not PBS’s…they just happen to show it…it was playing in england long before the states got it, and it was brilliant from the start, rather than when people finally caught onto it in america…

  9. Lydia says:

    Sherlock is the best thing I have ever seen on TV – all three awards were well deserved…there was no ‘shock’ about it. If the Emmys had been on Sunday, then perhaps the two brilliant working British actors would have been able to attend…..

  10. Vienna says:

    Benedict Cumberbatch is currently filming a movie in UK while Martin Freeman is playing Richard III on stage. I guess both didn’t expect to win.

  11. Gay Specking says:

    Sorry, I don’t know Moffat personally so I don’t understand his British sense of humor. Still, it was a stupid thing to say and definitely ruffled a lot of feathers. I am a big fan of Sherlock but if they want to build an audience they can show some respect for American TV by showing up for the big award show. Freeman got two Emmy nominations and didn’t bother to show up but everyone knows he’s a jerk. I expected better of Cumberbatch.

    • roseb5 says:

      Why should they respect for American TV? Americans obviously don’t respect it as we keep making drivel. As an American, I am embarrassed by most of our television. On the whole I think British tv is smarter, better written, and interested in story telling. American tv is for the big viral moment, for the ratings and what can we market to the American people that they will buy. So I don’t blame them for not coming to the Emmy’s. Only a few of the winners were actually good shows, most were old and dull.

    • dmc83 says:

      Martin Freeman is doing a stage production and Ben is filming a movie. Both of which were planned long before the Emmy noms came out.Martin cant exactly walk out of a show the people have had tickets to for months. Don’t talk about things you know nothing about.

    • Vicki says:

      What was a stupid thing to say? That Cumberbatch was “bigger” than the Emmys? Considering he was at the Oscars and has been quite a busy man this year, I doubt it ruffled that many feathers. Keep in mind that the world does not revolve around Americans and their award shows (and I am American).

      • rocky-o says:

        well said vicki…and moffat was just joking anyway…but humor is another thing americans have trouble with…

    • Rachel says:

      They’re both filming. If they’d expected to win, they might have come. But they have busy schedules.

      • Annie says:

        Gay Specking: Ricky Gervais was nominated for Derek, which is a British comedy show. But more to the point, in case it has escaped your notice, the Emmys are only for stuff that airs on AMERICAN television. I’m sure you don’t seriously believe that there are no TV shows in the world that are good but not shown in the US…oh wait, you actually probably do.

      • Gay Specking says:

        We don’t understand British humor because it isn’t funny. I notice no British comedy shows were nominated. Also, when Cumberbatch was nominated he said he was looking forward to “attending, sweating on the red carpet, getting drunk, and dancing all night.” I can’t believe he couldn’t have worked around his shooting schedule for a couple of days.

      • Julia.dusold@gmail.com says:

        I’m sure they would have come if they expected to win and if they’re schedules would have allowed it. I’m sure Martin didn’t want to let the people down, who had tickets to see him play Richard III on stage (he can’t just leave) and Benedict surely couldn’t get away from filming, otherwise he would have, I’m sure.

  12. slt1 says:

    Had to laugh as I checked the comments and, predictably, there was someone taking Moffat’s “too big for the Emmys” comment seriously. Anyone who’s ever heard Steven Moffat speak knows that his sense of humor runs to the sarcastic and should rarely be taken at face value. Even those not versed in Moffat-speak should recognize that his comment was meant as a joke. In any event, these are well-deserved wins which will hopefully persuade more American viewers not to scroll past Masterpiece Theater on their cable listings.

  13. eschetic says:

    “Shocked”?! In the most politically based (industry politics, not “national”) awards around, can it really be a shock when ONCE IN A WHILE simple quality wins through!? They wouldn’t honor DOWNTON ABBEY as it deserved be, or (except for Jim Parsons) THE BIG BANG THEORY, but hip hip hooray for the well deserved victories of SHERLOCK (it deserved one more) and THE TONY AWARD SHOW!

    • Viewer says:

      THE BIG BANG THEORY has been consistently great for 7 seasons…and it always goes home empty-handed. I’m not sure what more that show has to do to knock the insufferable MODERN FAMILY off its block. And Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer and Julia Roberts were extraordinary in NORMAL HEART. Shocker indeed.

  14. Gay Specking says:

    To big for the Emmys? I don’t think so. There were only two no shows tonight: Martin & Benedict.

    • Susan says:

      Geez, Gay Specking, get off your high horse; Benedict and Martin are consistent fan favorites, and make tons of award show appearances. They’re committed to other things right now, and I’m sure would’ve loved to be here.

      • Gay Specking says:

        It was still an insensitive thing to say and very rude. If Martin and Ben couldn’t be there they should have had someone accept for them and give their thanks. That’s usually how it’s done.

    • tatiana says:

      You need to understand Moffat’s sense of humour. He said that tongue in cheek and should not be taken seriously. For your information, Cumberbatch is shooting a movie here in London and Freeman is on the West End- Richard III also in London. That’s why they weren’t there. They were not the only no shows.

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