Friday, August 25, 2017

Emmy Predictions 2017 - Who Will Likely Win for Lead Actress in a Comedy Series?

The nominations are in for The 69th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards. The final round of voting is happening now. So, it's time to speculate on who is likely to win in each major category. Next up for analysis is Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.

The Nominees:
  • Pamela Adlon for FX's Better Things - "Future Fever"
  • Jane Fonda for Netflix's Grace and Frankie - "The Pot"
  • Allison Janney for CBS' Mom - "Tush Push and Some Radishes"
  • Ellie Kemper for Netflix's Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - "Kimmy Goes to College!"
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus for HBO's Veep - "Groundbreaking"
  • Tracee Ellis Ross for ABC's Black-ish - "Being Bow-Racial"
  • Lily Tomlin for Netflix's Grace and Frankie - "The Burglary"

Julia Louis-Dreyfus is the five-time reigning champion in this category. It seems silly to even think of anyone else winning in this field as long as Veep is on and she is nominated. It's hard to be upset with her for winning all of these awards too because Veep is a terrific show and she continues to deliver a phenomenal performance. It would feel justified if she won every year it's ultimately on. The voters are still clearly in love with the show. It hasn't faded away like many shows do later in their runs. Veep aired its sixth season and was still one of the most nominated shows of the awards this year. It remains a frontrunner in every race it is in. This season was strong as well. However, I would also say that Seasons 4 and 5 - which are the years that won Best Comedy Series - were better. So, it wouldn't be shocking if someone else won in this race. But then again, Louis-Dreyfus is the queen of comedy. She'll win again and produce one of the most notable moments of the awards ceremony.

But I wouldn't say it's a lock for Louis-Dreyfus this year because a number of her fellow nominees have really strong submission episodes. Everyone seemed to be underestimating Pamela Adlon when it came to predicting the nominations. I didn't because Better Things was just as good and creative as Atlanta was - despite not getting the same overall attention. And now, she may be underestimated once again when it comes to actually winning. I would say her odds are strong because she has a terrific episode. It's one that perfectly encapsulates what the show is and the performance she is delivering. Of course, Better Things didn't get the kind of support these types of shows typically do. It's not like Atlanta or Master of None which got more technical nominations. So, this may be the only chance to reward this show. It would be fitting as well because Adlon is the strong creative force at the center of it.

Meanwhile, Allison Janney has a narrative that could easily lead to victory for her. Much like Louis-Dreyfus, she's also a multiple Emmy winner. The two of them are some of the most awarded actresses by the Emmys. And now, they are going head-to-head for the first time. But more importantly, Janney seems to be employing the same strategy she did on The West Wing. On that show, she won twice as a Supporting Actress before moving up to Lead Actress and winning twice more. On Mom, she won twice as a Supporting Actress and has now made the switch to Lead Actress. It does properly reflect what her role on that show has always been. She has always been a co-lead with Anna Faris. And now, the Emmy nomination reflects that. So, Janney could be destined to win twice as a Lead Actress. That would be a terrific story to write about.

Of course, the award could also go to Tracee Ellis Ross. Unlike the other actors nominated for Black-ish, she didn't submit the post-election episode for review. She instead opted for the significantly better choice for her. The show is frequently told from the point-of-view of the Anthony Anderson character. So, that could be crippling her chances as a lead actress because the show really isn't her story even though she's frequently funny working opposite him. But in her episode, she takes the focus. She is the point-of-view character who delves into the personal issue of being biracial in today's society. It's a fascinating subject matter. But more importantly, the episode puts Ross front and center. So, the voters may now feel the urgency to give her the trophy.

And finally, there are the ladies from Netflix shows. That particular trio don't seem likely to pull off an upset. But stranger things have happened at the Emmys. So anything is possible. It's important to note that Jane Fonda finally got into the race after being snubbed for the first two seasons. There's room for her because there are seven total nominees. The two co-stars of Grace and Frankie could help one of them emerge victorious. But I just think it's more likely to be the one of the other four I've already talked about. And then, Ellie Kemper continues to be great on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. It just seems like the buzz is dying down on that show after a season that was good but couldn't match the highs of Season 2.

Should Win: Pamela Adlon
Will Win: Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Dark Horse: Allison Janney