×

Chandler, Fox garner long last Emmy nods

'Lights,' 'Lost' actors receive attention late in show's run

Kyle Chandler had been up late directing and acting in the penultimate episode of the upcoming fifth season of “Friday Night Lights” and had maybe knocked off about four hours of sleep when his wife and kids came bounding into his bedroom to tell him he’d been nominated for an Emmy.

“The first thing out of my mouth was: ‘I’m trying to sleep,’ ” Chandler recalls, adding his grogginess quickly evaporated due to the excitement in the room.

Thanks to the critical praised heaped upon “Friday Night Lights,” Chandler’s nomination in the lead actor drama category felt deserved. But Emmy recognition for him and fellow category nominee Matthew Fox from “Lost” was also nothing short of a longshot.

Emmy voters rarely recognize actors who haven’t been nominated in the first three years of a show’s run. In fact, it has only happened seven times over the past 30 years in the two lead-actor categories.

Fox’s nom comes after the sixth and final season of “Lost,” a season that featured a redemptive end for his character, Jack Shephard.

“He had a really sort of tragic, heroic and beautiful wrapping up of six years of a complex and difficult struggle, and maybe that has something to do with it,” Fox says, speculating on his late-game Emmy nomination. “The guy was not easy to root for. He was sometimes very difficult and messed up. Bringing him around at the end I know was cathartic for some people.”

That kind of catharsis can sometimes put an actor over the top with Emmy voters, says Los Angeles Times television critic Mary McNamara, adding that actors are often at the mercy of their story arcs.

“As ‘Lost’ played out, things became more complicated and you had some really fine acting emerging from other characters that outshone Jack Shephard,” McNamara says. “But in the final season, they returned to the core characters, and Jack came shining through in the end.”

Chandler’s “Friday Night Lights” football coach has had his share of heroic moments over the course of the show’s first four seasons. Chandler believes his Emmy nomination — and that of co-star Connie Britton — reflects voters’ desire to reward the show’s consistent high quality.

“It’s recognition for the cast and the crew, all the people who work so hard to make the show what it is,” Chandler says.

None of the seven prior latecomer nominees — Sherman Hemsley (“The Jeffersons”), Michael J. Fox (“Family Ties”), Matt LeBlanc and Matthew Perry (“Friends”), Kevin James (“King of Queens”), Jerry Orbach (“Law & Order”) and Christopher Meloni (“Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”) — won in the year they were nominated, though Fox took the comedy lead actor Emmy three years running for “Family Ties” after his first nomination.

Such follow-up will be impossible to duplicate for Fox and Chandler. “Lost” has ended, and Chandler concedes that barring a “last-minute reprieve from the state, someone’s going to throw the switch” and cancel “Friday Night Lights.” The show’s fifth-season finale, he adds, plays like a series finale.

“I’d like to think we’re going out at the top of our game,” Chandler says.

RELATED ARTICLES
Lead Actor – Drama | Lead Actor – Comedy | Supporting Drama – Drama | Supporting Actor – Comedy | Lead Actor – Mini/Movie

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • A Planned Parenthood clinic is seen,

    Variety to Forgo Annual Emmy Party for Donation to Planned Parenthood

    Variety has decided to make a donation to Planned Parenthood in lieu of hosting this year’s annual Emmy Awards nominees party in partnership with Women In Film. The decision comes in response to Planned Parenthood’s Aug. 19 announcement that it will drop funding over the current administration’s “unethical” rule blocking the organization from discussing its [...]

  • Rebel Wilson Isn't It Romantic

    TV News Roundup: Rebel Wilson to Host First Australian Amazon Original Series

    In today’s TV news roundup, the NFL and Pluto TV announce the launch of a new channel, and Rebel Wilson is named as the host of the first Amazon original series to come out of Australia.  CASTING Rebel Wilson is set to host and executive produce the Australian Amazon original series “LOL: Last One Laughing,” the [...]

  • Moffatt Family with the Himba tribe

    U.K.’s Channel 4 Takes British Family to Africa in New Reality Show

    U.K. broadcaster Channel 4 has greenlit new factual entertainment format “The British Tribe Next Door,” which will see a British family spend four weeks with a remote tribe in Namibia. The twist in this format is that, unlike most adventurers, the participants don’t say goodbye to the comforts of their home — instead, they take them with [...]

  • Christian Serratos as Rosita Espinosa - The

    'Walking Dead' Star Christian Serratos in Talks for Selena Series at Netflix

    Christian Serratos is in negotiations to star in the upcoming Netflix series based on the life of Tejano music star Selena Quintanilla, Variety has confirmed with sources. The series was announced back in December and is described as a coming of age story following Selena (Serratos) as her dreams come true and all the heart-wrenching [...]

  • Songs for Screens Powered by Mac

    Songs for Screens: 'American Horror Story' Makes 'Suddenly Last Summer' Sizzle Again

    FX Network’s “American Horror Story” returns for a ninth season next month, and promos for the next chapter of the anticipated series, dubbed ‘AHS 1984,’ have been airing frequently across cable television throughout August. In the short yet effective spot (see below), the Motels’ melancholic, moody “Suddenly Last Summer” plays as aerial footage of an [...]

  • Wanda Sykes, Mike Epps to Star

    Wanda Sykes, Mike Epps to Star in Multi-Camera Comedy Series for Netflix

    Wanda Sykes and Mike Epps are headed to Netflix. The streamer has ordered a multi-camera comedy series starring the two comedians titled “The Upshaws.” The series centers on a working-class Africian American family in Indiana struggling to make it work and make it right without the blueprints to do it. Sykes will executive produce and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content