Steve Carrell has been nominated for the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Emmy for six consecutive years, and, for six consecutive years, he's lost.
If there was going to be a year when Carrell would win for his The Office character Michael Scott, it would have been this year. Carrell has evolved Scott from a crass, says-what-he-thinks middle manager to a sweet, sensitive man, the lovable loser that viewers want to root for. And, in a supremely well acted, tear-filled plot arch during the show's latest season, Scott finally got the girl.
Not only that, Carrell left the show at the end of The Office's seventh season. The 2011 Emmys were literally his last chance to get television's highest honor for Scott, one of, if not the character that will define Carrell's legacy.
Even if the selection committee didn't think Carrell was the most outstanding of the bunch, an Emmy on Sunday night could have counted for all of the Emmys he didn't win over the years. It wouldn't have been fair, but it would have been just.
This year, Carrell lost to The Big Bang Theory's Jim Parsons. Last year he also lost out to Parson, an actor with half as many IMBD credits (not that credits really matter) as Carrell, many of them one-time guest star roles. Parson's is a very good actor on a popular show, but is he really better than Steve Carrell?
Many comparisons come to mind: Patrick Ewing, Charles Barkley, Dan Marino. Those are the great sports legends that belong in the their respective halls of fame, but never won championships. Could this be Carrell's class? He's won a Golden Globe, but does that even count?
Carrell is moving on from The Office into a television production role, and his busy working on his new show Laughing Stock. He also has a burgeoning movie career, and currently has three film projects in the production stages. He will have plenty more chances to win awards, and if he doesn't get an Emmy, he'll be fine.