When Emmy voting commences after 6 p.m. PST today, TV academy members will be shocked by the status of two past champs. Last year's winner of best supporting drama actress, Cherry Jones ("24"), took her name off the Emmy ballot and the 2007 winner of best supporting drama actor, Terry O'Quinn ("Lost"), is back in the running after quitting last year.
Why did Jones bow out? Her rep won't say.
When Gold Derby asked her agent at William Morris Endeavor, Scott Henderson, for comment, he dodged the inquiry and referred us to a publicist at Fox TV. That rep said that the network submits "24" only in the race for best drama series. Actors submit themselves in the performance categories, so only Henderson or Jones can explain why she quit the Emmy derby just 10 months after winning.
Jones' refusal to explain her snub will inevitably fuel speculation that she's upset with "24" producers over how her role evolved as U.S. president. While she told Entertainment Weekly that she's satisfied with how her character played out, she also confessed that producers dangled her throughout the final season, not mapping out a clear story arc for the part, dismissing her from the show, then bringing her back willy nilly.
When asked if she thought there will be an opening for her in the "24" feature film, she replied, "I can't imagine that would be the case."
O'Quinn's return to the derby is less mysterious but nonetheless odd. Soon after he won in 2007, O'Quinn told TV hosts of "The View" that he might not leap back into any Emmy race: "My view was that, when you win an Emmy for a role, you ought to be ineligible for it again – for a while – maybe for a year or two or maybe not at all – till you get another role."
However, O'Quinn did enter the Emmy race in 2008 but failed to be nominated. In 2009, he declined to participate. This year he reentered, apparently believing that it's OK since "a year or two" has passed since his previous involvement. Or maybe he thinks that it's OK since he, well, kind of got a new role on "Lost" as the show progressed. John Locke evolved into the sinister Man in Black and also existed in a different persona in a sideways universe.
O'Quinn's rep has not yet responded to our request for comment about his return to the Emmy race.
Photos: Cherry Jones in "24" (Fox TV), Terry O'Quinn in "Lost" (ABC)