Tuesday, September 12, 2017

AFT Awards: Best Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

This is the fourth category of the 11th Annual AFT Television Awards, my personal choices for the best in television during the 2016-2017 season. Finalists and semi-finalists are included to recognize more of the impressive work done on television today. Nominees are pictured in the order I’ve ranked them.

Best Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

Last year’s nominees: Rachel Blanchard, Rachel Bloom, Priscilla Faia, Michaela Watkins, Natalie Zea

Emmy nominees: Pamela Adlon, Jane Fonda, Allison Janney, Ellie Kemper, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tracie Ellis Ross, Lily Tomlin

Semi-finalists: Amanda Peet (Brockmire), Ana Gasteyer (People of Earth), Drew Barrymore (Santa Clarita Diet), Elizabeth Gillies (Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll), Emmy Rossum (Shameless), Jane Fonda (Grace and Frankie), Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep), Lena Dunham (Girls), Lily Tomlin (Grace and Frankie), Mireille Enos (The Catch), Pamela Adlon (Better Things), Priscilla Faia (You, Me, Her), Rachel Blanchard (You, Me, Her), Sarah Jessica Parker (Divorce)

Finalists: They’re not pictured, but I have to acknowledge the singular commitments to comedy made by Alia Shawkat (Search Party) and Aya Cash (You're the Worst) this past year. Natalie Zea (The Detour) got a bigger backstory and only became more appealing in her outspoken boldness. Rose McIver (iZombie) was entertaining as ever in her many different brain-addled orientations. Gina Rodriguez (Jane the Virgin) struggled to hold it together in the face of much adversity and remained charming and lovable throughout. Rachel Bloom (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) went even more off the deep end in season two, singing her way through all of her zaniness. Michaela Watkins (Casual) tried hard to become an adult while raising one and continued to encounter plenty of hurdles.

The nominees:

Ellie Kemper (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) was at her spunkiest, embracing the idea of being a human task rabbit with all of its gusto as she learned so many new things about the world. Issa Rae (Insecure) was a fiery, individualistic protagonist putting on a decent front that she knew what she was doing. Kristen Bell (The Good Place) was great at playing a terrible person who, despite her best efforts, actually turned into an okay human being. Leighton Meester (Making History) was the embodiment of time-displaced joy, enjoying the simple wonders of life like ice cream and something closer to gender equality than existed in revolutionary times.

The winner:

Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag) was instantly fantastic as an aptly-named protagonist devoid of typical emotions who was so much more complicated and magnificent than she initially seemed.

Next up: Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

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