Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

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

Vanessa Bayer as Various Characters, Saturday Night Live (Host: Dwayne Johnson)
Bayer spent seven years on her show before leaving in May. She’s one of three players from the series nominated this year, and she submitted the season finale as her sample episode. She is definitely funny, particularly in one sketch where she has water poured on her during a theme park ride over and over again, but she’s not nearly as prominently featured as either of her costars, so I would be genuinely surprised if she managed to score a win here.

Anna Chlumsky as Amy Brookheimer, Veep (Groundbreaking)
This is the fifth nomination from Chlumsky, the lone supporting female from her cast to be honored by Emmy voters. Amy was still front-and-center in season six even though she had a more ambiguous and frustrating role, and the season finale, her submitted episode, found her desperately clinging to a lifeboat only to discover that things aren’t at all as they seem, and that wasn’t the only big surprise she got. She could benefit from being the only actress on her own show here, therefore not susceptible to vote-splitting, but I think the other nominees are much showier and likely to dominate.

Kathryn Hahn as Rabbi Raquel, Transparent (Life Sucks and Then You Die)
Hooray for Hahn! This talented actress has been great in so many projects, and I’m so glad that she’s here for this show and not the unbearable “I Love Dick.” Hahn’s role as Rabbi Raquel took on a more centric focus this season as her association with the Pfefferman family changed, and her submitted episode allowed Raquel to let go of the some of the aggression she was holding onto due to other people trying to define her experiences. I think she’s overshadowed by costar and fellow nominee Light, but I’m glad that she’s here.

Leslie Jones as Various Characters, Saturday Night Live (Host: Tom Hanks)
Jones, who has been on her show for three seasons, earns her first Emmy nomination this year. Throughout the six episodes I watched, she’s not featured in sketches all that much, but she is pretty memorable every time she does appear. Her submitted episode allows her the opportunity to address the fact that she was hacked in what essentially serves as a full-on monologue. I don’t think that rates as a top acting performance, but it’s hard to notice her and laugh occasionally when she’s shouting as well.

Judith Light as Shelly Pfefferman, Transparent (Exciting and New)
This is Light’s second consecutive nomination, and she was also recognized previously in 2007 for her guest work on “Ugly Betty.” Light has a knockout submission, the season finale, in which she bottles up all of her craziness and channels it into an epic one-woman show, “To Shell and Back,” which she performs on a cruise. If it weren’t for the next nominee, I’d say she had this one in the bag.

Kate McKinnon as Various Characters, Saturday Night Live (Host: Dave Chappelle)
McKinnon won this award last year on her third try, and that was before the election happened. Her portrayal of Hillary Clinton is undeniably hilarious and terrific, yet what she gets to do in the opening of this episode is play the piano in a relatively serious response to the shock of her losing the election. She has plenty of funny moments throughout the episode, with and without host Chappelle, and I think voters will check off her name right after watching the cold open.

Who should win (based on entire season): I’d say McKinnon or Light
Who should win (based on individual episodes): McKinnon or Light
Who will win: I would have told you Light a while ago, and it’s still possible, but I think that McKinnon is pretty much unstoppable for a repeat win.

Next up: Best Directing for a Drama Series

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