Sunday, September 6, 2009

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

Nominees are pictured and listed in alphabetical order. Submitted episode titles are in parentheses.

Kristin Chenoweth as Olive Snook, Pushing Daisies (Bad Habits)
Chenoweth is the only remnant of ABC’s quickly-cancelled show, earning her second nomination for her high-pitched portrayal of Coeur d’Coeur’s pleasantest pie server. Some weren’t pleased with Chenoweth’s nunnery detour this season, but her episode (the last in that arc) is entirely charming and a terrific compilation of everything that Chenoweth does best. Her show being off the air doesn’t help her much, but the actress may be beloved enough by Broadway fans to pull off a win.

Jane Krakowski as Jenna Moroney, 30 Rock (The Ones)
Snubbed by voters for the first two seasons of NBC’s hit comedy and sidelined this year in terms of plotlines, Krakowski’s finally an Emmy nominee. The popularity of her show is what may well earn her a win (as well as the overdue factor), but her episode choice isn’t as brilliant as it could be. Nothing could match Season 1’s “Hardball,” but in my opinion she would have been better off submitting the episode where she was going to die from lack of sleep instead of “The Ones,” where she poisons Kenneth to see a cute EMT again. She’s still got a great shot, but this is an immensely competitive category and she may just have to wait until next year.

Amy Poehler as Various Characters, Saturday Night Live (Josh Brolin)
This is the second nomination in this category for the now-departed variety player. She wasn’t recognized for her lead role in her new NBC show, “Parks & Recreation,” but earned another nod here for what may essentially boil down to one scene. Her episode is dominated by fellow nominee Kristin Wiig, but the raved-about rap she does about Sarah Palin at the end of the episode may clinch the win for her. Alec Baldwin won for one scene last year on “30 Rock,” and with variety shows, it’s a lot easier to pick out one great scene.

Elizabeth Perkins as Celia Hodes, Weeds (No Man Is Pudding)
Perkins is back after a one-year hiatus for her third nomination as the devious, manipulative Celia. In her episode, however, she’s not so devious or manipulative, instead she’s being dragged around by a furious Nancy and getting her tooth knocked out. It’s a funny performance, but it may be a bit too violent for Emmy voters’ tastes. “Weeds” did finally earn a Best Comedy Series nomination, but this doesn’t feel like Perkins’ year, especially with all the competition she has to face.

Kristin Wiig as Various Characters, Saturday Night Live (Neil Patrick Harris)
Wiig is just one part of the impressive showing of “Saturday Night Live” in the acting categories this year (four, including guests Justin Timberlake and Tina Fey). She’s arguably the strongest member of the cast at this point, especially after the departure of fellow nominee Poehler. The problem is, all her characters are almost identical, and they can be pretty annoying. Still, she has an impressive number of scenes in Poehler’s tape and her own. I don’t think she can beat Poehler, but it’s possible.

Vanessa Williams as Wilhelmina Slater, Ugly Betty (The Fall Issue)
It’s sad to me that, just as I’m warming up to Williams, she doesn’t stand a chance. “Ugly Betty” suffered the Emmy loss of its lead actress this year, and the show hasn’t been nominated since the first season. This is the third nomination for Williams, and her season finale submission is quite terrific, but I don’t think it will matter. Everyone in this category is so bold and showy, and clearly there’s not much support out there for Williams’ show, and it’s not as if she’s a default nominee like Tyne Daly.

Who should win (based on entire season): Kristin Chenoweth
Who should win (based on individual episodes): Kristin Chenoweth or Vanessa Williams
Who will win: Last year, Jean Smart pulled off a shocking win for her role on “Samantha Who” but isn’t even nominated this year. It will likely be Amy Poehler, but I wouldn’t be surprised to hear Chenoweth, Krakowski, Wiig, or Perkins called up to the podium.

Next up: Best Guest Actor in a Drama Series

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