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Which Emmy loser was best at faking happiness for the winner?

Allison Janney
Allison Janney
Michael Tran/Getty Images
Alex Abad-Santos is a senior correspondent who explains what society obsesses over, from Marvel and movies to fitness and skin care. He came to Vox in 2014. Prior to that, he worked at the Atlantic.

The Emmys honor the greatest performances of the greatest actors on television. But there may be no greater performance for these actors than acting genuinely happy for someone else while accepting soul-crushing defeat.

Like many awards shows, The Emmys use the "zoom in on all the nominees while the winner is announced" cam to simultaneously show heartbreak, joy, and condescension, all while one is dead inside. Here's what happened when some of your favorite actors and actresses were put in one of the toughest acting situations of their careers:

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy

Winner: Ty Burrell, Modern Family



Losers: Tony Hale is valiantly clapping while his soul cries. Jesse Tyler Ferguson wants to go home.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy

Winner: Allison Janney, Mom



Losers: Mayim Bialik looks resigned to her fate. Kate Mulgrew takes the loss in stride. Kate McKinnon, you could have fooled us!

Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series

Winner: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep



Losers: You can almost hear Taylor Schilling's heart splinter and crack into tiny pieces. Edie Falco thought she might have had it.

Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series

Winner: Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory



Losers: Everyone in this category seems pretty okay with losing. Matt LeBlanc looks like he's finally accepted the darkness.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries

Winner: Martin Freeman, Sherlock



Losers: Matt Bomer needs a hug.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie

Winner: Kathy Bates, American Horror Story: Coven



Losers: There's a twinge of shock here that you can see on Julia Roberts's face. Ellen Burstyn looks like she's clapping for a distant nephew who just learned his first word.

Outstanding Actress in a Miniseries or Movie

Winner: Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Coven

Losers: Cicely Tyson is not amused. Tyson's reaction has led me to this theorem: the older you are, the more you don't really care about feigning happiness for the winner. We are tentatively calling this the Cicely Tyson theorem.


Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Winner: Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad



Losers: Everyone here just seems happy that perennial no-show Maggie Smith did not get the award.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Winner: Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad



Losers: We're not sure Paul really deserved this one. Neither is Jim Carter from Downton Abbey.

Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series

Winner: Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife



Losers: Robin Wright does not play.

Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series

Winner: Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad



Losers: Jon Hamm should find Matt Bomer and hug it out.

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