Monday, May 28, 2012

Emmy Musings: Best Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

Now that the 2011-2012 TV season is almost over, it’s hardly too early to start thinking about the Emmy nominations, which will be announced in July. Consider these preliminary thoughts rather than official predictions – look for those at the beginning of July. As always, chime in with your reactions and predictions in the comments, and don’t hesitate to let me know if I left any strong contenders off the list!

Last year’s eligible nominees:
Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie)
This three-time Emmy winner for “The Sopranos” won another trophy two years ago for her role as a pill-popping nurse on Showtime’s dark comedy, and got nominated again last year. The show failed to get nominated for Best Comedy Series last year after doing so the year before, and Golden Globe voters discarded Falco this past year. She’s a powerhouse actress, and therefore her show’s quality doesn’t factor too much into her chances, which remain fairly good if not guaranteed.

Tina Fey (30 Rock)
Fey has been nominated for every year of the hit comedy she created, winning for its second season, and it’s hard to imagine that she wouldn’t be back again. In an extremely crowded year, Fey still stands out as one of the most consistent parts of her show, and her behind-the-scenes involvement gives her added credit. It’s likely that she’ll make the cut.

Laura Linney (The Big C)
After earning her first mention for the show last year, Linney is now competing with two seasons behind her, since season two and three have both aired in the past year. Showtime’s comedy remains popular, and so it stands to reason that she would be included again, but such things are never certain. SAG voters didn’t embrace her, but Golden Globe voters gave her a second nod, so it’s anyone’s guess how she’ll fare with Emmy voters.

Melissa McCarthy (Mike & Molly)
This actress somehow managed to win this category last year, mainly because of her scene-stealing performance in “Bridesmaids.” Since her win, she got nominated for an Oscar for that performance, which suggests she’ll be back again. However, she was nowhere to be found on Golden Globe or SAG lists, though both groups tend to be less enthusiastic about CBS comedies. It’s rare but not unheard of for a winner to not return the next year, and I think that’s how it will go down this year.

Martha Plimpton (Raising Hope)
This character actress got a leading role and an Emmy nod to go with it last year as the nutty matriarch of an untraditional family on the FOX sitcom. The show continues to perform well as FOX builds up its comedy lineup. Series creator Greg Garcia’s previous show, “My Name is Earl,” fell out of favor with Emmy voters midway through its run, so it’s hard to tell whether this show will suffer a similar fate.

Amy Poehler (Parks & Recreation)
This show is hot as can be now. Poehler has been nominated twice, and last year, the show was welcomed into the Best Comedy Series category. There’s nothing to suggest that Poehler isn’t at the head of the pack this year – she still hasn’t won, and therefore she’s not at risk of being displaced by the newbies this year. In fact, she could even win!

New contenders:
Laura Dern (Enlightened)
Over the past twenty years, Dern has received four Emmy nominations, and she now has the chance to net her first regular series nod after her Golden Globe win for her starring role on HBO’s new comedy. This category has rewarded cable series contenders from more dramatic shows in the past, so Dern should have a decent shot.

Zooey Deschanel (New Girl)
The star of FOX’s hit new show is hard not to like; the question will just be how much they like her. She lost the Golden Globe when her show was really hot to veteran actress Dern, and now her nomination isn’t guaranteed. It’s likely that she’ll be able to break in given that her show is well-liked and has maintained, and even improved, its quality since its debut.

Lena Dunham (Girls)
This is just the kind of curveball inclusion that Emmy voters might throw. Like Louis C.K., Dunham is the creative force behind the show, and it’s just offbeat enough that voters might love it. Her performance isn’t the typical fare that this category would reward, but sometimes something different is just what’s needed to make a splash.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep)
If the seven-time “Seinfeld” nominee could earn nominations for every season of the awful “The New Adventures of Old Christine,” then she’s definitely getting in for her brilliant performance as the foul-mouthed, dim-witted Vice President on HBO’s new hit series. If she hadn’t won once for each of her past shows, she’d be a lock for the win; at this point, she’s a frontrunner.

No comments: