Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance

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Outstanding Voice-Over Performance
Primetime Emmy Award
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Awarded for "outstanding continuing or single voice-over performance in a series or a special"
Country United States
Presented by Academy of Television Arts and Sciences
First awarded 1992
Currently held by Lily Tomlin, An Apology to Elephants (2013)
Official website

The Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance is a creative arts Emmy Award given out by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is awarded to a performer for an outstanding "continuing or single voice-over performance in a series or a special."[1] Prior to 1992, voice-actors could be nominated for their performance in the live action acting categories.[2] The award was first given in 1992 when six voice actors from The Simpsons shared the award. From 1992 to 2008, it was a juried award, so there were no nominations and there would be multiple or no recipients in one year. In 2009, the rules were changed to a category award, with five nominees.

Usually, the winner is a voice actor from an animated show, but some narrators of live action shows have won such as Keith David in 2005 and 2008. No winner was named in 1996 or 2007.[3]

Nine voice actors from The Simpsons have won a combined 14 Emmys. Of those, Dan Castellaneta has won four and Hank Azaria has won three. Ja'net Dubois has won two for The PJs, Keith David has won two for his narration of various documentaries and Maurice LaMarche has won two for Futurama. Voice actors from shows on Fox have won 17 of 27 awards.

In 2014, the category was separated into two categories – Outstanding Narrator and Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance. As with longform and reality, this split acknowledges and accommodates a general industry uptrend in the distinctly different achievements that are VO narration and VO character performance.[4]


While most of the Primetime Emmy Awards choose winners from a group of nominees, the award for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance was juried from 1992 to 2008. Each entrant was screened by a panel of Academy of Television Arts and Sciences members from the Animation branch as well as members of the Acting branch with voiceover credits. Potential nominees had to submit a DVD that contained an edited version of a single episode and a picture of the character(s) that were voiced. Submissions that were less than 30 minutes had to be edited to be shorter than five minutes; entries longer than 30 minutes were edited to be less than ten.[1] Prior to 2007, the maximum edited lengths were ten and fifteen minutes respectively.[5] Each entrant with majority approval went on to a second panel. Emmy winners had to be unanimous choices of this second panel, except that for every 12 persons or fraction thereof on the panel, one "no" vote was allowed, except from the head of the panel.[1]

In 2009, the Academy changed the award from a "juried" award to a "category", with six nominees and one winner.[6]

Winners (1992–2008)

Year Winner Character(s) Series or special Network Ref.
1992 Cartwright, NancyNancy Cartwright Bart Simpson The Simpsons: "Separate Vocations" Fox [7]
Castellaneta, DanDan Castellaneta Homer Simpson The Simpsons: "Lisa's Pony" Fox [7]
Kavner, JulieJulie Kavner Marge Simpson The Simpsons: "I Married Marge" Fox [7]
Mason, JackieJackie Mason Rabbi Krustofski The Simpsons: "Like Father, Like Clown" Fox [7]
Smith, YeardleyYeardley Smith Lisa Simpson The Simpsons: "Lisa the Greek" Fox [7]
Wallace, MarciaMarcia Wallace Edna Krabappel The Simpsons: "Bart the Lover" Fox [7]
1993 Castellaneta, DanDan Castellaneta Homer Simpson, Abraham Simpson and other characters The Simpsons: "Mr. Plow" Fox [8]
1994 Plummer, ChristopherChristopher Plummer Narrator Madeline Family [9]
1995 Katz, JonathanJonathan Katz Dr. Katz Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist Comedy Central [10]
1996 No Emmy awarded in this category
1997 Irons, JeremyJeremy Irons Siegfried Sassoon The Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century: War Without End PBS [11]
Mayall, RikRik Mayall Mr. Toad The Willows in Winter Family [11]
1998 Azaria, HankHank Azaria Apu The Simpsons Fox [12]
1999 Dubois, Ja'netJa'net Dubois Mrs. Florence Avery The PJs Fox [13]
2000 MacFarlane, SethSeth MacFarlane Stewie Griffin Family Guy Fox [14]
Harris, JulieJulie Harris Susan B. Anthony Not for Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Susan B. Anthony PBS [14]
2001 Azaria, HankHank Azaria Comic Book Guy, Apu, Carl Carlson, Lou,
Chief Wiggum and Moe Szyslak
The Simpsons: "Worst Episode Ever" Fox [15]
Dubois, Ja'netJa'net Dubois Mrs. Florence Avery The PJs: "Let's Get Ready To Rumba" The WB [15]
2002 Macon, PeterPeter Macon Narrator Animated Tales of the World: John Henry, The Steel Driving Man HBO [16]
Segall, PamelaPamela Segall Bobby Hill, Clark Peters and Chane Wassanasong King of the Hill: "Bobby Goes Nuts" Fox [16]
2003 Azaria, HankHank Azaria Moe Szyslak, Carl Carlson, Chief Wiggum,
Apu, Johnny Tightlips, Bumblebee Man and Cletus
The Simpsons: "Moe Baby Blues" Fox [17]
2004 Castellaneta, DanDan Castellaneta Krusty the Clown, Homer Simpson, Abraham Simpson,
Groundskeeper Willie, Sideshow Mel, Barney and Itchy
The Simpsons: "Today I Am A Clown" Fox [18]
2005 David, KeithKeith David Narrator Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson PBS [19]
2006 Grammer, KelseyKelsey Grammer Sideshow Bob The Simpsons: "The Italian Bob" Fox [20]
2007 No Emmy awarded in this category
2008 David, KeithKeith David Narrator The War: A Necessary War PBS [21]

Nominees and winners (2009–2013)

Year Result Nominee Character(s) Series or special Episode Network Ref.
2009 Won Dan Castellaneta Homer Simpson The Simpsons "Father Knows Worst" Fox Network [22]
Nominee Ron Rifkin Narrator American Masters "Jerome Robbins: Something To Dance About" PBS [23]
Seth MacFarlane Peter Griffin Family Guy "I Dream of Jesus" Fox Network
Seth Green Various Robot Chicken "Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode II" Cartoon Network
Hank Azaria Moe Szyslak The Simpsons "Eeny Teeny Maya Moe" Fox Network
Harry Shearer Mr. Burns, Smithers, Kent Brockman and Lenny The Simpsons "The Burns and the Bees" Fox Network
2010 Won Anne Hathaway Princess Penelope The Simpsons "Once Upon a Time in Springfield" Fox Network [24]
Nominee H. Jon Benjamin Sterling Archer Archer "Mole Hunt" FX [25]
Dave Foley Wayne Disney Prep & Landing ABC
Seth Green Cobra Commander, Movie Narrator and Robot Chicken Nerd Robot Chicken "Cannot Be Erased, So Sorry" Cartoon Network
Hank Azaria Apu and Moe Szyslak The Simpsons "Moe Letter Blues" Fox Network
Dan Castellaneta Grampa Simpson and Homer Simpson The Simpsons "Thursdays with Abie" Fox Network
2011 Won Maurice LaMarche Lrrr, Orson Welles Futurama "Lrrreconcilable Ndndifferences" Comedy Central [26]
Nominee Bob Bergen Porky Pig The Looney Tunes Show "Jailbird And Jailbunny" Cartoon Network [27]
Dan Castellaneta Homer Simpson, Krusty the Clown, Barney Gumble, Louie The Simpsons "Donnie Fatso" Fox Network
Seth Green Batman, Cobra Commander, Judge, Light Cycle Driver, Newscaster, Robot Chicken Nerd, Teenager, Venger Robot Chicken "Catch Me If You Kangaroo Jack" Cartoon Network
Christopher Plummer Narrator Moguls and Movie Stars "The Birth of Hollywood" TCM
Brenda Strong Mary Alice Young Desperate Housewives "Come on Over for Dinner" ABC
2012 Won Maurice LaMarche Clamps, Donbot, Hyperchicken, Calculon, Hedonismbot, Morbo Futurama "The Silence of the Clamps" Comedy Central
Nominee Hank Azaria Moe Szyslak, Duffman, Mexican Duffman, Carl, Comic Book Guy, Chief Wiggum The Simpsons "Moe Goes from Rags to Riches" Fox Network [28]
Dan Povenmire Doctor Doofenshmirtz Disney Phineas And Ferb: Across The 2nd Dimension Disney Channel
Rob Riggle Noel Disney Prep & Landing: Naughty Vs. Nice ABC
Brenda Strong Mary Alice Young Desperate Housewives "Give Me the Blame" and "Finishing the Hat" ABC
Kristen Wiig Lola The Looney Tunes Show "Double Date" Cartoon Network
2013 Won Lily Tomlin Narrator An Apology to Elephants HBO [29]
Nominee Seth MacFarlane Brian Griffin, Stewie Griffin, Peter Griffin Family Guy "Brian's Play" Fox Network
Alex Borstein Lois Griffin and Tricia Takanawa "Lois Comes Out Of Her Shell"
Seth Green Abin Sur, Aquaman, Batman, Green Arrow, Martian Manhunter, Nerd and Robin Robot Chicken "Robot Chicken DC Comics Special" Cartoon Network
Sam Elliott Narrator "Hurtled From A Helicopter Into A Speeding Train"
Bob Bergen Porky Pig The Looney Tunes Show "We’re In Big Truffle"


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