Friday, September 7, 2012

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

Nominees are pictured and listed in alphabetical order. Submitted episode titles are in parentheses. Beware of minor spoilers for listed episodes.

Zooey Deschanel as Jess, New Girl (Bad in Bed)
Deschanel was the adorable face of the season’s most gradually endearing ensemble comedy. Interestingly, she opted not to submit the series pilot, instead focusing on an episode from when the show had become more comfortable with its characters. In her chosen episode, she watches porn and has awkward dirty talk as she nervously prepares for the next step in her relationship. With other competition, Deschanel might be the frontrunner, but I don’t think she can eclipse some of the other nominees this year.

Lena Dunham as Hannah Horvath, Girls (She Did)
Twenty-six-year-old Dunham scored herself four nominations this year as writer, director, and star of HBO’s quirky freshman hit. Dunham’s inclusion in this category was hardly guaranteed, and it’s unlikely that she’ll be able to muster enough support for her acting to be rewarded. Hannah is an acquired taste, and while regular viewers have had enough time to adjust to her by the season finale, which she submitted, voters unfamiliar with the show haven’t, so it’s very unlikely that she’ll win here.

Edie Falco as Jackie Peyton, Nurse Jackie (Disneyland Sucks)
Falco won this award two years ago, and also scored three wins for her lead role in “The Sopranos.” Her show, which was nominated in the Best Comedy Series category its first year, scored a surprise nod for Best Supporting Actress this year, and Jackie spends most of her time in her submitted episode in rehab, which makes for a terrific showcase. The show has lost most of its buzz, and Falco’s had her time. This year isn’t it.

Tina Fey as Liz Lemon, 30 Rock (The Tuxedo Begins)
Fey earns her sixth consecutive nomination for her NBC show. She won in this category in 2008, and has picked up a handful of awards and nominations in other races since then, namely for writing and producing her show and parodying Sarah Palin. This year, she submitted the show’s zaniest episode, where she appears as the Joker. She’ll likely win awards again in the future, but not for this show this year.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Meyer, Veep (Tears)
Louis-Dreyfus, who has won two Emmys, one for “Seinfeld” and one for “The New Adventures of Old Christine,” has now broken the “Seinfeld” curse twice, earning her thirteenth career nomination this year. If she could win for her tactless CBS comedy, she can definitely win for her hilarious portrait of a foul-mouthed vice president. Fighting for an endorsement in the season finale is just her ticket, and she’s definitely the frontrunner this year.

Melissa McCarthy as Molly Flynn, Mike and Molly (The Dress)
Last year’s surprise winner is back after all the buzz for “Bridesmaids” has died down. After winning for an episode in which she had a cold, she’s now a bridezilla trying desperately to lose a few pounds before her big day. It’s hardly a terrific showcase, though voters clearly love her, so she’s just as likely to repeat as she was to win last year.

Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope, Parks and Recreation (Win, Lose or Draw)
Poehler, who earned her third consecutive nomination in this category this year, also picked up a bid for writing an episode of the show despite the series being snubbed in the Best Comedy Series race. Poehler’s chances might have been increased if it didn’t seem that voters just don’t love the show. Submitting the election day season finale was smart, and if this can’t win voters over, I don’t know what can.

Who should win (based on entire season): Deschanel, Dunham, Louis-Dreyfus, or Poehler
Who should win (based on individual episodes): Poehler
Who will win: It seems all but guaranteed that it will be Louis-Dreyfus, though who knows after last year.

Next up: Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

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