Here’s a shocking fact that we never forget about: James Spader has never been nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for playing Raymond Reddington on The Blacklist.
When you think about it, there is really just one word to describe the response to it: Ridiculous. How in the world has this not happened? While the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences has been fairly kind to Spader in the past for Boston Legal and The Practice, for whatever reason he’s been routinely snubbed here on four separate occasions. If he is snubbed again this summer, then it is going to be a fifth time and that is pretty unbelievable. How do you not find a way to recognize Spader for his wonderful performance of this character?
Spader’s impact on this show is immeasurable: There is no The Blacklist without him and the layers that he brings to the Reddington character make him so magical to watch every week. He’s sly, charming, sinister, and caring. The best thing about him is that you want to know more about the mystery wrapped in an enigma that his him, and yet when he doesn’t really give it to you, you almost don’t mind. You become so entranced by the façade of the man that it feels almost like that is just as good and it will be enough to make you happy. It’s such a bizarre, interesting phenomenon and it is a big part of what makes this particular character so interesting. There’s a sense of joy to Spader’s performance, that he revels in the mystery and slowly unraveling some of the hidden dimensions of this man.
What also makes Spader great for this role is the capacity that he has to dive into deeper emotions when need be. Reddington is a man you know for his shrewdness and his confidence. With that, it allows for the vulnerable moments to be all the more endearing. Seeing the man underneath that famous hat can break your heart, even if it is just for a split second before you remember that Reddington is a notorious criminal. He is not in many a ways a good man, but he’s a captivating man and for almost the entirety of the time that you see him, you want to know more about him.
Why haven’t we seen an Emmy nomination go Spader’s way? – The easy answer to this is mostly just that the Television Academy doesn’t always favor network shows, and they do tend to favor new properties unless you are on a landmark prestige show like Breaking Bad. Spader’s best chance of winning was probably after season 1 and from here on out, it’s going to get more difficult even though his performance has continued to be wonderful.
If you need another reason to give Spader some love, look at it this way: Raymond Reddington is a top ten network TV character. Are you really going to let the show go its entire run without honoring the man who played him?
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