Interestingly enough, there was a time when, before the actual nominations came out, voters would narrow down all the contenders to the “top 10″. They obviously don’t do that anymore. But…we can still assume which contenders are at the top of the voter’s minds. Before I release my official nomination predictions around early July, I am going to run down which 10 or so contenders are the biggest threats…and maybe some personal long shots that I believe voters should consider. Here we go!
(Yeah…I copied that opening paragraph from last season…deal with it.)
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Here are the top Emmy contenders for Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. In alphabetical order…
1. mayim bialik (the big bang theory): PRO: Last year, she earned her first nomination in what was a minor shock. This year, with two slots “open” in this category, she could definitely find herself back. For one reason or another, I didn’t watch the show this season, but I do believe, based on the last season, she definitely elevated the show and made it funnier. In short – if voters still love the show, they’ll still love her. CON: But if the voters decide they no longer support the show, then I think she’d be hanging on by a thread.
2. julie bowen (modern family): PRO: She won in this category the last two years. There’s no way she’s going to suddenly be dropped after winning the two previous years. CON: But then there was Jeremy Piven who was completely dropped after three wins in a row. As Mary Poppins sings, “Anything can happen…”
3. anna chlumsky (veep): PRO: As the level headed VP’s chief of staff, Chlumsky plays the role with such control and adept comic timing. With more and more people appreciating the show, I could see voters looking beyond Julia-Louis Dreyfuss and giving one of her co-stars a supporting nomination. In that case, I think Chlumsky has the strongest chance in this relatively wide open category. CON: Worst case scenario – the voters won’t be able to look past JLD.
4. kaley cuoco (the big bang theory): PRO: Despite the additions of Bialik and Melissa Rauch, Cuoco still sort of remains the “female face” of the show. Although Jim Parsons has become the show’s MVP, I think some of the show’s growing success should also be credited towards Cuoco, who plays her “dumb blonde” character with such enthusiasm and earnestness. CON: However, in the show’s six seasons, she’s never gotten a nomination. It’s admittedly silly that I still consider her a “top contender” when other people who have actually gotten nominations aren’t anymore…
5. sarah hyland (modern family): PRO: Like I did with “Supporting Actor,” I’ve decided to include the kids here because I think the show’s popular enough for even them to be serious contenders. However, this was honestly started because at this year’s Critics’ Choice Awards (which should really be called “The Underrated Awards”), Hyland was the only part of Modern Family that received a nomination. So…I dunno, are people beginning to look past age and notice her as a worthy nominee? CON: Critics don’t vote for the Emmys.
6. jane krakowski (30 rock): PRO: The biggest disappointment from last year were the voters snubbing Jane K. After three nominations in a row, Krakowski was passed over despite being the funniest thing about season 6 of 30 Rock. However, with this being 30 Rock‘s last season (and with Jenna getting one of the final moments of the series, singing a hilarious rendition of “Rural Juror”), I could see Krakowski overcoming the “once you’re out, you’re out” rule and getting one last chance to submit an episode. CON: After her snub last year (and never winning before then), I’m not sure if the voters have much regard for Krakowski. I could see this going either way.
7. kate mckinnon (saturday night live): PRO: Kristen Wiig was nominated the last four years in this category. With her out of the way this year, there is an open spot…and that spot could easily go to another SNL player. While Nasim and Vanessa are main cast members, those two didn’t have the impact that would get them noticed. That’s where featured player Kate McKinnon would come in. Dubbed as the “next Kristen Wiig” because her wide array of impression and eccentricities, I believe she has the best chance at continuing the “Supporting Actress SNL” legacy that Amy Poehler started. CON: But, at the same time, she’s only a featured player. And in terms of screen time, she hasn’t stood out the same way Wiig did. This will be tough for her.
8. cecily strong (saturday night live): PRO: If there’s been a surprise this SNL season, it has been Strong’s coming of age. Very quickly, she fit right in the cast; and by the end of the season, she was the “go to female” for many of the sketches. Her breakout sketches were definitely “Girl You Wish…” spots she had during Weekend Update. She has proven herself to be a versatile cast member and has a lot of people (including me) rooting for her. CON: Let’s face it, even if the voters consider giving a spot to one of the SNL ladies…it’ll only be one of them. So…which one? Which one?
9. sofia vergara (modern family): PRO: Although she hasn’t won an Emmy, she must be pretty pleased with her three nominations + a bundle of nominations from other notable award shows, including The Golden Globes. She’s also the face of every product in America, appearing in over 100 commercials a year (OK, I made that statistic up, but, still, she is EVERYWHERE.) People love her. She’s in. CON: I think…Julie Bowen has a better chance at a nomination than her. That doesn’t matter because…most voters will naturally find space for both of them.
10. jessica walter (arrested development): PRO: While reviews for the show have been mixed, many have been impressed with how quickly Walter slipped into the role of Lucille Bluth after a 7 year break. She won an Emmy in 1975 and was nominated three times afterwards, with her latest nomination being for the second season of Arrested Development. I could definitely see her getting in, even if the show doesn’t receive widespread awards support. CON: However, she wasn’t nominated for the 1st and 3rd seasons of AD, so her record is spotty at best. Maybe she’ll get a nod for her voice work on Archer instead. Shrug!
11. merritt wever (nurse jackie): PRO: After two years of being snubbed, Wever received her first nomination last year; this shows that she’s always been an “under the radar” contender and that I grossly misjudged her chances (she was a “long shot” last year when I was doing this) . Not anymore! I don’t know if she’ll receive another nomination, but clearly she has fans with the Academy and clearly she will get a substantial amount of voters. CON: I’ve heard rumblings that this season didn’t live up to the overall excellent fourth one. If that’s true then…[holds onto collar in a nervous manner.]
12. betty white (hot in cleveland): PRO: The Awards favorite has a bundle of nominations and 5 wins. She received a nomination for this show a couple years ago. And then last year she received a nomination for “Outstanding Host,” presumably getting a nomination over “four times in a row” winner Jeff Probst. It seems like she always has to be nominated for something every year so…maybe it’ll be this show again. She’s also won two SAGs and was nominated for a third one which shows widespread support among the actors in the Academy. CON: She wasn’t nominated for Hot in Cleveland last year. Maybe the “raunchy grandma” routine is getting old to some people?
13. allison williams (girls): PRO: If Girls is going to receive acting nominations outside Lena Dunham, then I think Adam Driver and Allison Williams have the strongest chance. Williams’s character felt more fleshed out this second time around, mostly because her story lines were away from Hannah’s (Lena Dunham). Also her performance of “Stronger” may have impressed voters. CON: Similar to Driver’s “CON,” Allison Williams doesn’t have a very funny character. Actually, she may be the most serious character on the show.
14. ariel winter (modern family): PRO: Winter is growing up – it’s as simple as that. Also between her personal issues (which I won’t go into) and her new animated show on Disney, she’s getting a lot of exposure outside Modern Family. That will only help her out. CON: The Emmys just don’t nominate kids. It was worth a try though.
Other strong contenders: Ellen Barkin (The New Normal), Diane Ladd (Enlightened), Cloris Leachman (Raising Hope), Jane Lynch (Glee), Wendie Malick (Hot in Cleveland), Melissa Rauch (The Big Bang Theory), Alia Shawkat (Arrested Development), Hannah Simone (New Girl)
Long shots worth considering: Kristen Bell (House of Lies), Valerie Bertinelli (Hot in Cleveland), Conchata Ferrell (Two and a Half Men), Jenna Fischer (The Office), Ellie Kemper (The Office), Jemima Kirke (Girls), Jane Leeves (Hot in Cleveland), Zosia Mamet (Girls)
Even longer shots I recommend checking out: Sufe Bradshaw (Veep), Yvette Nicole Brown (Community), Carrie Brownstein (Portlandia), Tamsin Greig (Episodes), Angela Kinsey and Phyllis Smith (The Office), Retta (Parks and Recreation), Maya Rudolph (Up All Night), Amy Schumer (Amy Schumer), Eden Sher (The Middle), Casey Wilson (Happy Endings), Bebe Wood (The New Normal)