Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Emmy Predictions 2015: Who Will and Should Be Nominated for Lead Actress in a Comedy Series?

Voting has commenced for The 67th Annual Emmy Awards. Until June 26, voters will cast their ballots for the biggest awards in all of television. And now, it's our time to predict on what will happen - and what we would really like to.

Next up for analysis is Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.

The Nominees in 2014:
        Lena Dunham, Girls
        Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
        Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, Veep (WINNER)
        Melissa McCarthy, Mike & Molly
        Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation
        Taylor Schilling, Orange Is the New Black

All six nominees from last year are once again eligible. However, Taylor Schilling was forced to move to the drama category due to the new Emmy rules effecting the classification of Orange Is the New Black. That leaves at least one spot open in a year that sees two actresses saying goodbye to their current roles (Poehler & Falco) as well as a number of truly hilarious and compelling new actresses poised to enter the race.

Before I start my speculation on who's mostly likely to pick up a nomination this year, I have to break down the rules for this post. First of all, my 6 picks are essentially the nominees I would select if I was an Emmy voter filling out a ballot. That means I can only pick the actors who submitted themselves for consideration in the field. Plus, I have to honor the Emmy's new rules regarding what classifies as a drama vs. a comedy as well as who is a supporting actor vs. a guest actor. As much as I believe Orange Is the New Black is a comedy and Shameless is a drama, I have to honor the way that the organization has decided to classify them. It's also fair to assume that some stuff that could be deemed spoilers for any of the following shows will come up in discussing an actor's performance on said show. And now, without further ado.....

My 6 Picks for Who Should be Nominated for Lead Actress in a Comedy Series:
  • Gina Rodriguez in The CW's Jane the Virgin: Rodriguez truly was a breakout sensation in the first season of the hit dramedy. She brought such strong humor and emotion to the central character of Jane. So much fantastic stuff is happening at the center of the show's story. Rodriguez grounds all of it in a personal realism that makes it so satisfying to watch. She is capable of making the audience feel deep emotional feelings during every move by her character - from the uncertainty of the future to the need to let go of control. It was a revelatory performance that should win as many awards as it possible can.
  • Ellie Kemper in Netflix's Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: The joyful optimism of Kemper's Kimmy Schmidt is purely infectious. She was such a delight to watch in this role seemingly tailor-made for her to play. She brought big laughs to a situation that could easily go to a very dark place. Kemper grounded the reality of the show's premise in a phenomenal way. She still brought weight to the subject but also made sure to let the hopefulness of the future always shine through. 
  • Aya Cash in FX's You're the Worst: It was phenomenal watching Cash slowly peel back the layers of Gretchen as a woman who desperately didn't wanna go down the predictable route of a relationship and realizing that maturation as a person doesn't have to change who she is at her very core. It was a dynamic and intimate arc for the first season that Cash brought so much comedic joy to. It was fun to watch and deserves a ton of recognition.
  • Kristen Schaal in FOX's The Last Man on Earth: By design, the comedy's first season was always going to revolve around Will Forte's Phil Miller as the last man on earth. And yet, Schaal was able to come in early in the year as Carol Pilbasian and offered such a strongly distinctive character and performance. She truly became the endearing heart of the show. Every action that she made was filled with immense love and reason. That's what made her so fun to watch - and that was completely because of Schaal.
  • Emmy Rossum in Showtime's Shameless: For five seasons now, Rossum has been delivering a captivating performance as the Gallagher in charge of the household but still prone to mistakes herself. This was another devastating season for Fiona - from a quick marriage to even more complicated matters with the family. Rossum was heartbreaking throughout all of it. Again, it's in a no way a comedic performance in a show that's not really a comedy. But still, Emmy deserves an Emmy.
  • Constance Wu in ABC's Fresh Off the Boat: Wu's portrayal of Jessica Huang was compelling to watch from the first moment she appeared on screen. But then, she got more confident and hilarious as the first season progressed. Jessica is very passionate about her family and making sure they still have an understanding of their cultural identity. But it was just as important to see her own personal ambitions - like becoming a real estate agent. Moments like that showed her as a strong character and the performance was allowed to achieve greatness.
  • Also in the conversation: Lena Dunham - HBO's Girls; Anna Faris - CBS' Mom; Sutton Foster - TV Land's Younger; Ilana Glazer & Abbi Jacobson - Comedy Central's Broad City; Mindy Kaling - FOX's The Mindy Project; Julia Louis-Dreyfuss - HBO's Veep; Amy Poehler - NBC's Parks and Recreation; Tracee Ellis Ross - ABC's black-ish; and Amy Schumer - Comedy Central's Inside Amy Schumer.

My Predictions for Who Will Actually Be Nominated for Lead Actress in a Comedy Series:
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfuss in HBO's Veep: Louis-Dreyfuss is the three-time reigning champion in this category. It truly is the best role in her career. Once again, she'll be seen as a frontrunner in the race. Her nomination is all but a certainty.
  • Melissa McCarthy in CBS' Mike & Molly: Over the past few years, McCarthy has been off and on this nomination list. It helps immensely that her profile is so high in the film world. Her winning at the box office doesn't translate to big laughs on her sitcom. But it's a connection that Emmy voters love to make because then movie star Melissa McCarthy attends the ceremony. She should be a contender again. It helps that Spy came out earlier this month and reminded voters just how much they love her.
  • Amy Poehler in NBC's Parks and Recreation: Sentimentality will keep Poehler in the race - the last time for her performance as Leslie Knope on the NBC comedy. It's astonishing that she still hasn't won. This represents her last chance and that's just a story that Emmy voters tend to rally behind.
  • Edie Falco in Showtime's Nurse Jackie: Falco has been nominated for every season of the Showtime dramedy - despite not winning in the category since her first appearance for the role. There's no reason to expect her to drop out of the race - even with the very competitive field.
  • Jane Fonda in Netflix's Grace and Frankie: Voters can still be dazzled by star power. Fonda is such a well-respected personality. She was able to get nominations for her guest stint on HBO's The Newsroom. That means she'll certainly be a contender in this race. However, it's also possible that voters are split in determining whether to recognize her or her co-star Lily Tomlin.
  • Gina Rodriguez in The CW's Jane the Virgin: It's a huge unknown if The CW can successful land an acting nomination at the Emmys. Until this point, the voters probably don't even know what The CW is. And yet, Rodriguez should make them take notice. She is of the moment right now and is coming off a Golden Globe win. I'm hoping she gets in the race. But I also wouldn't be too shocked if she was left out.
  • Also in the conversation: Zooey Deschanel - FOX's New Girl; Lena Dunham - HBO's Girls; Anna Faris - CBS' Mom; Sutton Foster - TV Land's Younger; Judy Greer - FX's Married; Mindy Kaling - FOX's The Mindy Project; Ellie Kemper - Netflix's Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt; Lisa Kudrow - HBO's The Comeback; Laurie Metcalf - HBO's Getting On; Tracee Ellis Ross - ABC's black-ish; Emmy Rossum - Showtime's Shameless; Kristen Schaal - FOX's The Last Man on Earth; Amy Schumer - Comedy Central's Inside Amy SchumerLily Tomlin - Netflix's Grace and Frankie; and Constance Wu - ABC's Fresh Off the Boat.

Do you agree or disagree with my picks? Who do you think should be nominated in the Lead category this year? Speculate below in the comments!