Features and Columns · TV

A Brief History of Courteney Cox’s First Emmy Nomination for ‘Friends’

Courteney Cox is the only cast member never to be nominated for her work on the original show.
Courteney Cox Friends Reunion Emmy Nomination
By  · Published on August 4th, 2021

Brief History is a column that tells you all you need to know about your favorite — and not so favorite — pop culture topics. This entry looks at Courteney Cox recently earning her first Emmy nomination for her work on Friends.

Courteney Cox has received her first Primetime Emmy nomination for Friends nearly twenty-seven years after the show first aired on television. And it’s not even for playing Monica Gellar.

Cox, who plays the “hyper-clean, super organized, extremely competitive” professional chef on Friends, was nominated for her role as an executive producer on the 2021 HBO Max special Friends: The Reunion.

Though it has been two decades since the final episode of Friends, the sitcom has transcended generations and mediums. The show has consistently been one of the most lucrative and watched programs on streaming platforms (including Netflix). Newer fans may be surprised to learn Cox is the only member of its core six-member cast never Emmy-nominated for their work on Friends.

Here’s a brief history of Cox’s past snubs, her recent nomination, and what the Friends star has said in the past about the Emmys.

The One Where Everyone But Courteney Cox is Nominated

After the first season of Friends in 1995, Lisa Kudrow, who played Phoebe Buffay, and David Schwimmer, who played Monica’s Brother, Ross Geller, each earned a Primetime Emmy nomination in their respective supporting role categories. Kudrow went on to earn five more nominations in the category, and she won in 1998. Schwimmer’s first nomination was his last.

No other member of the Friends cast earned a nomination until Jennifer Aniston landed in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series category in 2000. Aniston, who played Rachel Green, went on to receive four more nominations, including three as promoted to the Outstanding Lead Actress category. She won the award in 2002.

That same year, Matt LeBlanc, in the role of Joey Tribbiani, and Matthew Perry, who played Chandler Bing, each received their first nomination, both for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. Like Schwimmer, Perry was one and done. LeBlanc, however, went on to receive two more nominations over the next couple of years, but he never won.

I’m no diehard Friends fan, but like many people, I binged the show during quarantine and liked it way more than I thought I would. Courtney Cox’s character, Monica, is one of my favorites.

And the Monica-Chandler romance is one of the best storylines! “The One Where Everybody Finds Out,” when the rest of the friends learn about their secret love, is one of only four episodes nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Directing. And one of only two to be nominated for Outstanding Writing. It is the only episode to be nominated for both.

How could the actress at the center of that romance not also be nominated?!

The One Where Courteney Cox Responds

On a recent episode of The Howard Stern Show, the eponymous host asked Courteney Cox, during an interview with her and Friends co-stars Aniston and Kudrow, about the decade-long Emmy snub. The actress admitted to her disappointment.

“When every single cast member was nominated but me, it definitely hurt my feelings. I was happy for everybody and then when it was finally like, ‘Oh, I’m the only one.’ It hurt.”

Cox added that the snub made her Golden Globe nomination for the later sitcom Cougar Town feel extra special. “It meant everything to me,” she said.

After Cox finished, Anniston chimed in with some words of affirmation: “You were just brilliant, Courteney.”

The One Where She is Finally Nominated

And now we get to 2021 when Courteney Cox has finally received a nomination for a Primetime Emmy. But as an executive producer. Similarly, Cox’s only other nomination for an Emmy came in 2017, when she received a nod at the Daytime Emmy Awards for her work as an executive producer on the game show Celebrity Name Game.

Cox shares this year’s nomination not only with her five Friends co-stars — all of whom are also executive producers of the reunion special — but sixteen other people. They include Friends co-creators Marta Kauffman and David Crane. It’s no wonder Cox had a mixed response to the nomination.

Cox told Entertainment Weekly:

“Honestly, I am so happy that the reunion has been recognized because I think it’s terrific. Ben Winston did a great job and all of his crew.”

She then added:

“That’s not exactly the Emmy I was looking for. I’m being honest with you.”

It’s hard not to appreciate the honesty! On an artistic level, I understand Cox’s response to the nomination. But, come on? Who wouldn’t be super excited to win? How sick would that look on a shelf?!

Next month, we’ll see if Cox is able to also secure her first Primetime Emmy win. This year’s show, hosted by Cedric the Entertainer, will air on CBS and Paramount+ on Sunday, September 19th.

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Will DiGravio is a Brooklyn-based critic, researcher, and video essayist, who has been a contributor at Film School Rejects since 2018. Follow and/or unfollow him on Twitter @willdigravio.