Patrick Stewart and the Battle for Emmy Award Recognition

Sir Patrick Stewart and that elusive Emmy Award

Paramount / Getty Sir Patrick Stewart and that elusive Emmy Award

It is a known fact that Sir Patrick Stewart is one heck of an actor. A person is not recognized and knighted by the Queen of England for being “fairly good.” Stewart is at the very top of his class, and should be recognized as one of the very best actors of his generation. At 82, Stewart is still active on television, with “Star Trek,” and in movies, recently as Professor X in “Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.”

Season 2 of “Star Trek: Picard” was not just a science fiction romp through time. The story of “Picard” involved a deep childhood trauma, which the old admiral had to deal with. For many, this season of “Picard” featured some of Stewart’s best performances.

Stewart on ‘Picard: Season 2’

Sir Patrick Stewart discusses season two of "Star Trek: Picard"Sir Patrick Stewart joins "CBS Mornings" to discuss the second season of his Paramount+ show "Star Trek: Picard." Stewart first played Jean-Luc Picard in "Star Trek: The Next Generation" from 1987 to 1994. In the upcoming season, Picard and his crew travel back through time to the year 2024 in hopes of saving the galaxy's…2022-02-28T14:51:57Z

“The quality of Patrick’s acting, if anything, has gotten even better over time and he was already a master,” said Michael Chabon, co-showrunner of Season 1, in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. “He has an ability to hold you riveted even when he’s just sitting and listening.”

That’s high praise for the man who helped reinvent the role of Starfleet captain after William Shatner’s Kirk. 

“Stewart’s central performance as Jean-Luc Picard is the glue that holds the crew and ‘The Next Generation’ together,” wrote Ryan Ten of ScreenRant. “He may not be the most down-to-Earth, realistic character, but between his Shakespearean wisdom and ability to command respect from the crew, it doesn’t matter.”

So why, then, was Stewart passed over again for consideration from the Television Academy and their Emmy Awards? On Tuesday, July 11, 2022, the organization unveiled its 74th Annual Emmy Awards nominations, and Stewart’s name was not on the list.

“Star Trek: Picard,” however, did earn four nominations. The show earned nominations for “Outstanding Fantasy/Sci-Fi Costumes,” “Outstanding Period And/Or Character Makeup,” “Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup,” and “Outstanding Sound Editing For A Comedy Or Drama Series.”

Picard and Q

Q And Picard • The Whole Scene | Star Trek Picard Season 2 Episode 1#returnq #q #picard #android #reality #thetrialneverends #youngq #oldq2022-03-05T08:49:21Z

But the lead actor nominations did not include Stewart. To fans of “Star Trek,” this might seem like a surprise, but for those who have followed Stewart’s career, it’s more of the same. Sir Patrick has never been nominated for an Emmy Award through all seven years of “The Next Generation” or for the two seasons of “Picard.” He has earned four nominations for his non-Trek work, one of which was for Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.”

How can an actor who ranks so highly by many not get the recognition he deserves? According to TV Guide’s Matt Roush, Stewart is ignored because he’s on “Star Trek.”

Stewart on Parade Magazine

Stewart on the cover of Parade Magazine

Parade MagazineStewart on the cover of Parade Magazine

In a cover story in Parade Magazine, writer Mara Reinstein compiled a list of actors who have never won an Emmy Award, despite their fame or notoriety. The article, “Emmy’s Biggest Snubs,” included folks like Sandra Oh, Don Cheadle, Steve Carell, and “Seinfeld” actor Jason Alexander. Reinstein asked Roush why Stewart had never won an Emmy for portraying Captain Picard, and Roush responded:

“This has a lot to do with the genre,” said Roush. “If you’re in outer space, you may as well be out of mind and out of sight.”

Roush’s theory sounds much like what “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” actor Cirroc Lofton has been saying for years. Lofton, who played Jake Sisko through all seven seasons of DS9, chafes that his on-screen relationship with Avery Brooks (Captain Benjamin Sisko) has been ignored by critics for years.

Stewart on the Red Carpet

Patrick Stewart at the 2010 Emmy AwardsPatrick Stewart talks to LA Times reporters Amy Kaufman and Jessica Gelt on the red carpet at the 2010 Emmy Awards.2010-08-30T01:32:33Z

Even articles like the above from Reinstein, which create lists and compare shows and characters in pop culture, omit “Star Trek” from consideration. Unless it is a science fiction-specific focus, Trek is skipped. A straightforward case where this is visible is the articles about “The Top Black Fathers” on television in the United States. 

Some are going back to give Brooks and Lofton a second look, and the relationship on “Deep Space Nine” is getting some of the attention it deserves. But, until a good majority of the 24,000 Emmy voters start watching “Star Trek,” it seems like Stewart will have to be content by winning Saturn Awards. Those are voted on by people who actually watch science fiction and fantasy programs. 

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