How Many Emmys Does 'Mad Men' Have? Not Nearly As Many As It Deserves

When Mad Men first premiered in 2008, the show instantly earned rave reviews from critics and fans alike. The show, which tells the story of 1960s ad man Don Draper's search for meaning and masculinity within the decade's strict social norms, has been cited as one of the heralds of the new Golden Age of Television, no doubt thanks to its tortured anti-hero protagonist, expertly crafted visuals, and ambiguous morality. So it seems pretty ridiculous that in the show's seven-year run, Mad Men has won just 15 Emmy awards out of 105 nominations, including Creative Arts Emmys... and none for any of its stars.

Let's break down all the categories in which Mad Men has found Emmy success, and the times the show walked away empty handed.

Outstanding Drama Series

Won: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011

Nominated: 2012, 2013, 2014

This is quite a record. It’s enough of an accomplishment for a new series to beat out five other shows for the title of Outstanding Drama — the highest honor of the night. But to continue that streak for three more years, once viewers and critics have the chance to grow bored and move on, well, that’s the true test of just how good Mad Men is. However only the producers of a show are honored for Outstanding Drama (or Comedy), so none of the actors or got to share in this Emmy glory, though.

Image: Carin Baer/AMC

Outstanding Hairstyling For A Single-Camera Series

Won: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011

Nominated: 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

Is there any significance to the fact that every year Mad Men won Best Drama it also won Best Hair? I think so. One of the most fun parts of watching the show is seeing familiar characters’ changing styles over the years. From Peggy’s girlish curls to her smart ’60s bob, Joan’s intricate beehives, and of course Stan’s full caveman look, their appearances tell the audience nearly as much about these people as their dialogue. Mad Men’s hair game has been so strong that in 2011 it was nominated for two different episodes (and beat itself for the win).

Image: AMC

Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series

Won: 2008, 2009, 2010

Nominated: 2008, 2009 (three different episodes), 2010, 2011 (two different episodes), 2012 (three different episodes)

Because different people pen each episode of most shows, one program can be nominated multiple times in Emmy writing categories — which is what happened to Mad Men every year from 2008 to 2012. Considering that there are only six nominees in the category, the fact that in 2009 Mad Men snagged four of those slots — and won! — is pretty remarkable. That was the season of Peggy’s pregnancy and when Betty first discovered Don’s cheating ways, as well as when the audience was introduced to Anna Draper, the wife of the man Don stole his identity from and the only real friend he ever had.

Image: AMC

Outstanding Main Title Design

Won: 2008

Few lyricless songs can evoke as strong a sense of anticipation as the music of Mad Men’s opening sequence. The image of a faceless man falling through through an urban landscape past huge advertising photos, only to land comfortably on a couch at the end perfectly summarizes how the audience was meant to view Don at the beginning of the show (and how many other characters still see him): someone who, no matter the situation, was smooth enough and smart enough to land on his feet.

But each episode begins with him falling again. He’s continually isolated and in constant peril, as is Don. The danger for Don was in being discovered, of others finding out that he’s not who he claims to be, and that his entire persona could unravel at any moment. Though the show has now been on the air for six and half seasons, that opening sequence still captures the essence of Mad Men.

Image: AMC

Outstanding Casting For A Drama Series

Won: 2010

Nominated: 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012

Thank God for Mad Men’s casting agents. These are the people that brought Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Christina Hendricks, and so many others out of obscurity and into our living rooms. They should get a special honor just for discovering Kiernan Shipka and somehow knowing how awesome an actress she’d turn into over the years. The show only won Best Casting in 2010, which was the year the show introduced Lane Pryce (Jared Harris), Henry Francis (Christopher Stanley), and Conrad Hilton (Chelcie Ross).

Image: AMC

Outstanding Art Direction For A Single-Camera Series

Won: 2008

Nominated: 2009, 2011, 2012, 2014

Art Direction refers to the way everything on a show (other than the characters) look. Mad Men has introduced a whole new generation to the styles of the ’60s, from plaid-wallpapered kitchens to uber-mod office spaces. The sumptuous colors and vintage aesthetic makes the program almost as enjoyable to watch without sound.

Image: AMC

Outstanding Cinematography For A One Hour Series

Won: 2008

Nominated: 2010, 2012, 2013

A cinematographer is the person who works with a director to compose a show’s visuals and plan how shots will look. If done well, the audience won’t necessarily notice the work of a good cinematographer, but it’s immediately clear if a cinematographer isn’t up to snuff. Mad Men is known for its gorgeous visuals, which don’t just look great but add to the emotional impact of scenes as well.

Image: AMC

Emmys 2014

This year, Mad Men received four nominations: Robert Morse, who plays Bert Cooper, was nominated for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series (that award was already given out—Joe Morton won for his role as Olivia Pope’s father on Scandal ); Christina Hendricks is nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series; Jon Hamm is nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series; and the show as a whole is nominated for Outstanding Drama Series (which remember, it won four years in a row from 2008 to 2011). Henricks has been nominated for an Emmy in this category every year since 2010, and Hamm has been nominated every year Mad Men has been eligible — seven noms in total, and not a single win yet.

Morse, John Slatterly, Elisabeth Moss, January Jones, Cara Buono (who played psychologist Faye Miller), Randee Heller (who played Don’s secretary Miss Blankenship), Jared Harris, Ben Feldman (who plays Ginsberg), Julia Ormond (who played Marie Calvet), Harry Hamlin (who played Jim Cutler), and Linda Cardellini (who played Sylvia Rosen), have ALL been nominated for Emmys for their roles on Mad Men, some multiple times, and not a single one has taken home the trophy. In fact, the show hasn’t won a single Emmy, period, since 2011. What is up with Emmy voters? Is Mad Men just not as good as it used to be, or are the continuous snubs just a sign that voters always prefer newer, shinier material?

I’d say it’s a bit of both. In a TV landscape that now includes Game of Thrones dragons and Breaking Bad drug deals gone wrong, Mad Men’s slow burn is not always flashy enough to catch voters’ attention. But now that the last season is upon us, perhaps that nostalgia will give the show the boost it needs to finally, finally get Hamm or Hendricks the acting Emmy they each deserve.

Image: AMC