Americans Obviously Aren’t Ready To Appreciate Benedict Cumberbatch Since He Lost To Kevin Costner

Benedict Cumberbatch Sherlock Emmys loss win Tumblr wtf Outstanding Actor Miniseries or Movie

Earlier tonight during the Emmys, presenter Aziz Ansari spoke in a British accent because he joked that it would get people to take him more seriously. And yet, no one from the Sherlock crew took home a statuette—not Steven Moffat, Martin Freeman, and (worst of all) Benedict Cumberbatch. What gives, America?!

Seriously, when I was scoping out Benedict’s competition for Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie, I really didn’t see anyone I thought could take him. No one watched Clive Owen play Ernest Hemingway; and I legitimately didn’t think that Hatfields & McCoys had been watched by anyone but our parents, so in my mind Bill Paxton and Kevin Costner were out. The only guy I was “worried” about was Idris Elba for Luther, for sheer skill… and then as Game Change started sweeping the awards, I thought maybe Woody Harrelson would represent in this category.

But instead Benedict loses to Kevin Costner! Now, I have to admit that I never watched Hatfield & McCoys, but that’s because it truly struck me as some random Western miniseries that cast a lot of talented folks but wasn’t well promoted. It just came and went. It never developed the kind of fandom that Sherlock inspires; no one is saying that Costner is giving a career-defining performance here, whereas what Benedict has done with Holmes is truly transcendental and new. Would it be dickish to speculate on how it was a Western — what’s more American than that — beating out an iconic British figure?

I’m really feeling for the Sherlockians who must be incredibly frustrated right now. Sure, on the one hand the show got 13 nominations and the stars got to walk the red carpet in their sharp tuxes. And yet, this loss seems a bit dismissive, a bit of a brush-off, especially because the show didn’t seem to get more exposure from the awards. Where were the red carpet interviews, or more in-depth clips to be shown during the Miniseries clip show? I think that the Emmys producers could have highlighted the majorly impressive popularity of the show and the dedication of the fans. You know, as some sort of consolation.

At least Benedict has some support from Hollywood elite—right after his loss, Mindy Kaling tweeted this:

Benedict Cumberbatch Emmys Sherlock loss Mindy Kaling tweet

So, that’s something.

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    • Terry Wylis

      Folks, the Emmys are voted on by their peers – working actors, techs and directors/producers who are all insanely busy. They don’t have time to watch ALL the nominees’ stuff, they just don’t. 90% of the time they will vote for someone they know. And as brilliant as “Sherlock” is, Ben and Martin just don’t have that name-power.


      “The Hobbit” is out in December and already has people talking. The “Star Trek” sequel is out in May. “Parade’s End” is coming to HBO next year (hopefully early next year). Twelve months from now, these men will have some very SERIOUS name-power. Heck, Martin may end up a bigger name than Ben, which really hasn’t been the case until now. We as fans love our show–but the rest of the world simply hasn’t caught on yet, and has nothing of major significance to draw them to “Sherlock.”


      And in all honesty, BELG really wasn’t the strongest episode of the three. It was essentially a rom-com up against a whole heap of epic dramas. Brilliant as BELG was, my personal opinion is the third episode of series 2 would have been a better choice. What process went into the decision to enter BELG rather than FALL, I don’t know. But 13 nominations is nothing at all to be sneezed at. The boys, Paul McGuigan, Steven Moffat and all of Team Sherlock have soooo much to be proud of. Bring on Series 3!

      • Natalie Zutter

        Well said, Terry–thank you for providing more context than I could! I completely agree about the name power becoming stronger in the next year. It may be that because most of my coverage of Benedict is through Tumblr, I had an oversized notion of how famous he actually is right now.

      • Pamela

        This is a slight misunderstanding of the Emmy voting system which is unlike the Oscars one. Just to set the record straight: for the Emmys, about 50-75 members of a branch (in this case, actors) will view at home DVDs of each of the performances in their allocated category. It is not a case of the entire branch having to watch ALL the nominated actors across all categories…though a much larger group watches the series categories (around 900 will vote for those).

        They then have to sign affidavits (legal documents, mind) that they have watched each DVD. Now, this doesn’t mean that they will vote for someone new over a well-known American film actor regardless of performance but it does mean that they are required to allocate time to watching the shows. They then place each actor/show into an order – ie 1 for highest rank through down to 5 or 6. Splits can occur through the process. So, it’s not as though voters tossed aside strong performances from other contenders. They may well have ranked Benedict or Martin in second position, it just didn’t total to a win.

        I’ll agree with you about the episode selection though. Reichenbach was a more interesting episode from many perspectives. But I assume they had their reasons. And it ended with 13 nominations.

        And, I’ll also point out that two critically acclaimed shows of recent years – Buffy and The Wire – never took home Primetime Emmys. Not one between them. And they are still beloved by critics and fans. The Emmys is not the only indicator of taste!

    • Boff

      Lots of Americans love the brilliant Sherlock and its star, writers, cast and crew. It is a phenomenal, entertaining and thrilling interpretation. I’m sure Hatfields/McCoys is fine but more in the old comfy chair way. You know exactly what to expect given the cast and the story. Hadn’t occurred to me to watch it. But next time, watch out! Cumberbatch is on fire!

      • Natalie Zutter

        Yes! Not that I saw Hatfields & McCoys, but I got that same tonal sense, that it was more comfy/maybe not so daring?

    • Beth Hjertos

      I am an American and I appreciate Benedict Cumberbatch. I am as upset as anyone that the show Sherlock didn’t get an award, but in Hollywood, just like the rest of the world, politics rules and Benedict just isn’t that well known yet

      • Natalie Zutter

        I guess he isn’t! I was going by all the online buzz, haha, but Tumblr =/= Hollywood.

    • Mme. H

      Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock: When an actor can take a classic, iconic role, one that has already been associated with acclaimed portrayals by other actors, and do something entirely new, bursting with life, nuanced and real, as paradoxical as any living person, making him irresistibly fascinating, engaging, provocative of empathy, without pandering or sentimentality, well… – I do rather doubt the whole process of comparing one fine performance against another, as they simply do or don’t deserve appreciation, each in their own right.

      But I must say, once the nominating committee had the discretion to nominate Benedict Cumberbatch in this role, how they could fail to award him for it, is a mystery, itself.

      #BenedictCumberbatch #Sherlock #Emmys2012

      • Natalie Zutter

        Good point there! They nominated him, so they obviously recognized it was a fantastic performance!

    • katie

      You’re totally wrong about Hatfields- The show was promoted A LOT and had huge ratings. Broke records actually, was the highest rated non-sports telecast ever on basic cable with an average of I believe 14 million viewers. So obviously a ton of people knew about it and were interested. I’m only 22 and watched the whole thing and very much enjoyed it, not just parents watched it. Kevin was fantastic in it and definitely deserved the win as much as everyone else. Just wanted to let you know….

      • Natalie Zutter

        I probably misspoke… What I meant to say was, for such an all-star cast it didn’t seem like History took advantage of marketing to their usual audiences. Like, I wouldn’t have known that Jena Malone was in it if I hadn’t been researching her for Catching Fire casting articles at the same time. I never saw any TV spots, just some magazine ads. It seemed skewed older, and I was talking about from the mindset of people who are also Sherlock fans.

        But of course, there’s the point that it wasn’t viewers who voted, it was the actors’ peers. So I should’ve clarified that.

    • Donna

      Benedict Cumberbatch’s acting is AMAZING. I am horrified he didn’t win.

      • Natalie Zutter

        I knooooow.

    • Sandy Corkins-Schmidt

      Definitely disappointed that Mr. Cumberbatch did not win. However, as others have said, this is just the first time he is nominated for an Emmy, I’m sure he will nominated many more times. Kind of embarrassed as an American, for a production about warring neighbors (Hattfields & McCoys) to be so popular here, but …. Sherlock is brilliant television, I had no interest in seeing the Hattfield show.

      • Natalie Zutter

        Same here, though I guess ’cause it’s part of our history it tugs at the right heartstrings?

      • Keren Chalfont

        Perfect words.

    • Cuebear

      Wow, that’s a pretty strong headline! But wait, didn’t Benedict Cumberbatch lose to Dominic West for Best Actor at the 2012 BAFTA awards? What does that say about the British? Pretty stupid question isn’t it? It doesn’t say anything about the British, just as his loss to Kevin Costner doesn’t mean that American’s don’t appreciate him. Let’s not turn this loss into a war with words. What it means is that politics in entertainment exist as much in Britain as it does in Hollywood!

      There are many of us Americans who feel Benedict Cumberbatch is brilliant! I’ve watched nearly every movie he’s ever made since 2004 and some of his theatrical productions just in the last four months, all because of his performance in Sherlock. However, Terry hit the nail on the head. It’s not the American viewer that votes, but the actors’ peers. If the membership and voting criteria is anything like the Grammy’s, then only 10-percent of all members actually vote. I learned about this when I was submitting music for consideration for a client in 2010, so the numbers may be different now. Not all members of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences are voting members and I would imagine that it is similar for the Emmy’s. I also agree that it is a name game. While I didn’t see the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s it had an all-star cast. These actors have been around Hollywood a very long time! It was inevitable.
      Thirteen nominations for a show that was not well publicized in the US, if publicized at all, and basically non-existent except to those of us who regularly watch PBS/Masterpiece Mystery, clearly show that Sherlock got Hollywood’s attention. I think that next year will be a different situation. Both Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman have blockbuster movies coming out this year and the game will be totally different. I look forward to both actors winning hugely next year

      • Natalie Zutter

        I definitely agree that next year will be radically different, what with Cumberbatch and Freeman’s movies together and apart. I guess that my reasoning for Cumberbatch winning this year had been, everyone’s gaga over Downton Abbey, wouldn’t that automatically elevate Sherlock in their minds? (Not saying that the two programs are the same, of course. There just seems to be a resurgence of affection for the Brits in pop culture lately, with One Direction, Doctor Who, Downton, and Sherlock.)

    • Sheila Domingues

      I was earlier talking about that with a friend and the thing is: Americans will vote in american stories and heroes – a cowboy, Sarah Palin (not a hero of course, but part of their History).

      Got very upset to not see Sherlock get the awards but it was great to see Freeman and Cumberbatch there :)

      Greetings from a Brazilian fan of Sherlock and Benedict Cumberbatch.

      • Natalie Zutter

        Agreed! It was so exciting to see them on the red carpet, I squeed.

    • Guest

      (Sorry, duplicate post) Wow! That is a strong headline! But wait, didn’t Benedict Cumberbatch lose to Dominic West for Best Actor at the 2012 BAFTA awards? What does that say about the British? Stupid question isn’t it? It doesn’t say anything about the British, just as his loss to Kevin Costner doesn’t mean that American’s don’t appreciate him. What it does mean is that politics exist in entertainment whether British entertainment or American entertainment. Let’s not turn this loss into a war of words!

      There are many of us Americans who feel that Benedict Cumberbatch is brilliant. I’ve watch nearly all of his films from as far back as 2004, as well as some of his theatrical work, just in the last four months, because of his performance in Sherlock. However, Terry, hit the nail on the head. It’s not the American viewer that votes, but the actors’ peers. If the Emmy membership and voting process is anything like the Grammy’s, only ten-percent of all members actually voted. Not all members of the NARAS are voting members and I would imagine the same applies for the Emmy’s. I was quite shocked to learn about the Grammy voting process when I submitted music for consideration for a client in 2010.

      This issue is not about being American, but about the level of exposure British actors and British films have in the US. I was extremely disappointed that Sherlock didn’t win in any category. But, star-power is huge in Hollywood. I didn’t see the Hatfields and McCoy’s but it had an all-star cast. Costner’s win was inevitable.

      Thirteen nominations for a show that was not well publicized, if publicized at all, and practically non-existent except to those of us who regularly watch PBS/Masterpiece Mystery theatre, is huge! It clearly shows that Sherlock got Hollywood’s attention. Both Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman have blockbuster films coming out this year. I believe that they will be back in the same spot next year, but will walk away with both Emmy’s and Oscar’s for their performances in television and film.

    • Danielle

      I didn’t watch the award show and just found out about the outcome this morning. I’m pretty pissed that Sherlock didn’t win anything. And I’m doubly pissed that Benedict lost to Kevin Costner of all people. Most people in the states don’t even like Kevin Costner because he comes off like a self serving phony. It’s kind of embarrassing how the U.S. totally snubbed the British show. I’ve never even hear of any of those other shows Sherlock was up against and I don’t know anyone who has either. Sorry guys! You are still loved in the States!

      • Natalie Zutter

        Yeah, like I said, I would’ve understood if it were Woody Harrelson maybe, but the Costner thing threw me.

    • MJ

      There is so much whining over this guy
      not getting an award. There are hundreds of better actors than you, Benedict,
      who have not gotten awards. Why are they trying to shove this guy down our
      throats? Quit the whining, pay your dues; it doesn’t make you less of an artist
      because you don’t get an award. This guy just strikes me as a weak social
      climber more concerned with prestige than anything else. You’re starting to look so fake

      • Bonnie

        Wow – Benedict paying his dues – when he has been acting for almost 12 years AND Has not giving anything less than a great performance. Benedict isn’t whining about not getting the award. He has said it was thrilling just to be there. You don’t like him but it seems everyone who works with him does and say what a brilliant actor he is, generous and so much fun. As one writer said – you get within 100 yards of him and you want to write dialogue.
        But in Britian he has won awards and he won Best actor (tied with Jonny lee Miller because they were in the same play) in “Frankenstein” – actually they tied for 2 and he won one by himself.
        I just think you don’t know anything about the years he worked before “Sherlock”..and just don’t know anything about him other than someone you’ve made up in your own mind.

      • Erica Glocken

        Seriously??? It’s not Benedict who is whinging on about him not winning. It’s the fans who think he SHOULD have won because he has more acting talent in his face alone than Kevin has in his entire body. Kevin tends to act very much like Kevin in everything he does, while Benedict actually plays CHARACTERS. Bitter much??

    • Iamlee

      It was too crazy a category too – some were just one offs, others were multiple series (like the Hatfields thing) but I never expected him to win even though out of all of them, I think he is the most deserving given his dazzling, unique performance as Sherlock. But, Kevin Costner – he’s been a wooden door since the beginning and he looked so smug (as he is) last night, as though he fully expected to win. I couldn’t sit through that show for more than 10 minutes. But, again, this is the same awards people that gave an award to someone from 2.5 Men. Think about that for a second. That total piece of crud is so popular and it is nothing but dreck but won something significant. Tells me all I need to know.

    • Tara Dawes

      Very disappointed that they didn’t win – hands down it’s one of the best shows on TV currently.

    • Janet

      Where were you when “Hatfields and McCoys” broke viewership records for “higher numbers than any non-sports telecast in cable history.” 13.9 million the first night, 13.1 million the second night and 14 million the 3rd night! I know it’s disappointing when your favorite doesn’t win but the favorite among Emmy voters was obviously Kevin Costner. There’s always next year for ‘Sherlock’ right? “Hatfields and McCoy’s’ won’t be in the running next year.

    • friend_2friend

      Yeah.. I was REALLY disappointed Benedict didn’t win. He is a world-class actor who already has worked with JJ Abrams, who gave him the part on the spot after seeing a online audition, and will go to the wall talking about how GREAT an actor Benedict is. He’s in THE Hobbit as Smaug and I believe he WILL carry the role extremely effectively, he’s already in 12 years a slave with Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, AND rumours have it they are casting him for the next Bond villain which I think would be entirely smart on their part. and If the Emmy people continue to fail to recognize his CALIBRE, I feel sorry for them. He’s not an up and comer or a flash in the pan.. he’s already devoted the last 12 years of his life to his craft.. oh, and he’ll be filming with Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep in the spring on August:Osage County. He’s not going anywhere folks and if you want to see an intelligent, gifted, actor with the potential to be the kind of actor Bogey or Cagney were.. buy a ticket to anything you see his name in.. you won’t be sorry!!

    • Keren Chalfont

      folks, Benedict should have won fair and square, but idiots messed up the voting, can’t you guys think?! He could’ve won every award but the audience would have thought it was rigged. I’m a completly loyal cumberfan and i don’t apporve of this “costner” winning. I haven’t even heard of him- EVER. Ben, be happy :)

      • Erica Glocken

        Costner is a pretty Hollywood guy. Benedict is an artist. You do the math :/