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Emmy Nominees Compete With Themselves

With lots of categories and lots of overlap, nominees can win and lose at the same time

When “Mad Men” creator Matthew Weiner walks the red carpet at the Emmys, he'll know one thing for certain:

He’s going to lose.

Producer Peter Murrieta will know the same thing. So will choreographer Derek Hough, lighting designer Robert Dickinson, editor Michael Polito, visual effects supervisor Mark Savela, 20 cameramen from the Academy Awards, and about two dozen others.

Mad MenThey’ll all be certain to lose, because they’re all multiple nominees who are competing against themselves. Weiner might win an Emmy for the “Guy Walks into an Advertising Agency” episode of “Mad Men,” but if he does he’ll be losing for the “Shut the Door. Have a Seat” episode (right).

Murrieta might take home the Outstanding Children’s Program Emmy for the “Wizards of Waverly Place” series, but if so he’ll lose for the Disney Channel movie drawn from that series.

And so it goes throughout the Emmys: with awards handed out in nearly 100 categories, and with different episodes of single shows often picking up multiple nominations in a category, it’s more common to compete against yourself than at any other awards show.

“I called my manager when the nominations came out, because he’s had clients in this situation before,” Murrieta told theWrap. “And he said, ‘Hey, it’s Vegas and you play the odds. This just gives you better odds.’”

Approximately 60 nominees are competing against themselves; many, including Weiner and  Robert Schenkkan, one of the writers of the HBO miniseries “The Pacific,” are vying with different episodes of the same series. 

Others, particularly in categories that include specials, go from show to show and wind up nominated for separate programs.

Sound mixer Edward Greene, for instance, is nominated for his work on the Academy Awards show, and for two separate episodes of “American Idol”; in the same category, Eric Johnston has nods for “Dancing with the Stars” and the Grammy Awards.

And in the category of Outstanding Technical Direction, Camerawork, Video Control for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special, the same names pop up everywhere: of the 24 camera operators nominated for the Oscars, for instance, fully 20 of them are nominated for the Grammys, Kennedy Center Honors or Rock and Roll Hall of Fame special as well.

The unusual circumstance might leave a few nominees divided about which accomplishment they want to win for, or dreading the possibility of losing two or three times in one fell swoop – but, to be sure, its a dilemma few of them mind having.

“The only catch is that I want the series to win so that everybody will be recognized, but the movie was such a huge undertaking that I’d love for it to win, too,” said Murrieta. “I guess it’s like having two kids in the same swim meet."