Friday, June 19, 2015

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

The Nominees in 2014:
        Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory
        Julie Bowen, Modern Family
        Anna Chlumsky, Veep
        Allison Janney, Mom (WINNER)
        Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
        Kate Mulgrew, Orange Is the New Black

All of the six actresses nominated in this category last year are eligible again now. However, Kate Mulgrew (and the rest of the Orange Is the New Black ensemble) is being forced over to the drama category due to the new Emmy rules. That means there is at least one open slot to be filled. Will it go to previous category winners Jane Lynch or Merritt Wever for the final seasons of their respective shows? Or will it go to someone representing a new show?

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 Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series:
  • Allison Janney in CBS' Mom: In the sitcom's second season, Janney continued to prove why she won last year. Her Bonnie Plunkett is still largely a trainwreck to the rest of her family, but Janney infuses the character with so much humanity that it remains devastating whenever a tragic twist occurs that keeps her and her family from achieving their pursuit of moving up in the world. The tragedy of the love of her life dying and her falling off the wagon again was heart-wrenching material that Janney soared in delivering. She balances the line between drama and comedy so effortlessly that it deserves to be rewarded again.
  • Gillian Jacobs in Yahoo Screen's Community: The cult season's first season on the new streaming service was an uneven one - but it was able to produce a wonderful and emotional character arc for Jacob's Britta. She was faced with confronting the reality of her life and her own perception of it. Even in episodes where she wasn't the main focus, she stole the scenes from her equally talented co-stars. This was a remarkable year for Jacobs and it should make her a part of the Emmy conversation.
  • Emma Kenney in Showtime's Shameless: Long gone are the days where Kenney's Debbie Gallagher was sweet and innocent. As she has come into her teenage years, Debbie has made a ton of mistakes in matters of love, family and intimacy. And yet, Kenney's ability to take the audience along while she's making those mistakes is what makes the character so compelling to watch. It's a character direction that may lead to even more tragedy but this year proved just how capable and strong an actress Kenney has become on the show.
  • Eden Sher in ABC's The Middle: Sher has always been terrific as middle child Sue Heck on the ABC comedy. But the character promised this season to be the "Year of Sue" in the premiere and delivered phenomenally as the season progressed. As she embraced the pending change of college, Sue was capable of making mature decisions despite the chaos happening elsewhere in her world. The fact that the season ended with the rousing moment of her graduation should be enough for her to finally earn a nomination.
  • Wendi McLendon-Covey in ABC's The Goldbergs: McLendon-Covey was snubbed in the Lead Actress race a year ago and has shifted to supporting this year. That still may not work in her favor. And yet, this season was even stronger for smother Beverly Goldberg. The character remains constantly hilarious but is never a caricature. The work that McLendon-Covey does shows just how much love and heart Beverly has for her family. That love is infectious and so rewarding to watch on a weekly basis.  
  • Anna Chlumsky in HBO's Veep: Selina's rise to the presidency offered much more weightier material for Chlumsky's Amy as she was tasked with running Selina's campaign for the office. The weight of that responsibility led to one fabulous blow up in "Convention." In that moment, Amy was the smartest, most sane and reasonable person in the room. Chlumsky delivered the pain of that monologue so well and eloquently despite its anger undertones. A profound moment for a character four years into the show.
  • Also in the conversation: Stephanie Beatriz, Melissa Fumero & Chelsea Peretti - FOX's Brooklyn Nine-Nine; Ivonne Coll, Yael Grobglas & Andrea Navedo - The CW's Jane the Virgin; Carol Kane & Jane Krakowski - Netflix's Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt; and Amy Landecker & Judith Light - Amazon's Transparent.

My Predictions for Who Will Actually Be Nominated for Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series:
  • Allison Janney in CBS' Mom: Janney was easily the frontrunner in this race a year ago. That's still true now. Even though she became more of the show's lead in the second season, she should easily be looking forward to heading up to the stage to accept another trophy. That's simply how good she is in this role.
  • Kate McKinnon in NBC's Saturday Night Live: McKinnon's profile on the late night sketch comedy show has only risen since her nomination last year. She landed the coveted and crucial role of Hilary Clinton a few months ago. That places her on a strong trajectory to dominate this era of the long-running series. An Emmy nomination would continue to support her relevancy in the pop culture moment.
  • Julie Bowen in ABC's Modern Family: The two-time winner in this category should have no problem returning to the nomination list for one more year. This was an inventive year for the show and that could really work in her favor on the ballot once more.
  • Mayim Bialik in CBS' The Big Bang Theory: Bialik is one of the weaker returning nominees heading into the field this year. She did continue to have strong moments on the popular sitcom. But will the voters continue to nominate her when there's new talent fighting so strongly to get into the race? I suspect that they will. But I'm not as confident as in year's past.
  • Jane Krakowski in Netflix's Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Krakowski was a four-time nominee in this category just a few years ago for her work on 30 Rock. Reuniting with the 30 Rock team for Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and playing a slightly different version of the same character should continue to win voters over. It's an impressive and funny performance - so that helps too.
  • Judith Light in Amazon's Transparent: The Amazon comedy is a very specific show. Jeffrey Tambor is guaranteed a nomination (and likely a win) for it. But it's uncertain if the rest of the show will break out amongst Emmy voters. Light seems to have the strongest chance out of anyone else simply because of name recognition and respect in the industry. Plus, she was clearly having so much fun in the role too.
  • Also in the conversation: Becky Ann Baker & Allison Williams - HBO's Girls; Carrie Brownstein - IFC's Portlandia; Anna Chlumsky - HBO's Veep; Kathryn Hahn & Carrie Preston - Showtime's HappyishDot-Marie Jones & Jane Lynch - FOX's Glee; Leslie Jones - NBC's Saturday Night Live; Carol Kane - Netflix's Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt; Wendi McLendon-Covey - ABC's The Goldbergs; Bernadette Peters - Amazon's Mozart in the JungleSofia Vergara - ABC's Modern FamilyMerritt Wever - Showtime's Nurse Jackie; and Betty White - TV Land's Hot in Cleveland.

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