Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

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

Carl Clemons-Hopkins as Marcus Vaughn, Hacks (New Eyes)
Clemons-Hopkins was a lovely and unexpected addition to this Emmy field, the kind of supporting player who usually goes unnoticed but is vital to the show’s functioning and success. The first-time nominee often gets to be the one reacting to other people being over-the-top, but in their submitted episode, Marcus pursues a relationship in an entertaining way. I’m not sure he can compete with the rest of this group, but he would be a fun and surprising choice if voters love his show and don’t want to pick between actors from the same show.

Brett Goldstein as Roy Kent, Ted Lasso (All Apologies)
Goldstein is a first-time nominee, and, I’d argue, the most prominent of the four men from his show in this category. His Roy is hilariously angry all the time, and it’s fun to see him see the consequences of that rage and work on it with his coach in his submitted episode. I think Goldstein has a big enough part to stay ahead of his costars and net the win, especially since he’s barely been rewarded for this performance yet.

Brendan Hunt as Coach Beard, Ted Lasso (Two Aces)
Hunt was previously nominated for writing the 2015 Super Bowl Special, and this year adds four nominations to his record, with two writing bids and a producing credit joining this one. He’s a great part of the show, always deadpan in everything he says, and it’s good to see him nominated, especially after I had the chance to interview him earlier this year. The problem is that I didn’t mention him at all in his submitted episode, and even though he might have some fun material related to ghosts haunting the locker room, it’s not substantial enough for him to have any likelihood of winning.

Nick Mohammed as Nate Shelley, Ted Lasso (Make Rebecca Great Again)
This is the first Emmy nomination for the delightful Mohammed, who I had the pleasure of interviewing recently about this show and his other TV projects. I’ve said before that he’s the most endearing character on the show next to Ted, and in his submitted episode, that’s even truer, as he is finally encouraged to give feedback that no one has ever asked him for before that. Maybe it’s possible that voters will choose his likeable kit man over the aggressive star player?

Paul Reiser as Martin Schneider, The Kominsky Method (Chapter 18. You only give me your funny paper)
Reiser has ten previous nominations, six for acting and four for producing “Mad About You,” but this is his first time contending in twenty-two years. He looks much, much older thanks to his makeup and hairstyle, but his performance is full of enthusiasm. He’s an endearing character who, in his submitted episode, has to contend with boundaries and generational conflicts in his new family. Given that he’s never won an Emmy before, it’s very possible that Reiser wins here, especially since his show isn’t likely to triumph in other categories.

Jeremy Swift as Leslie Higgins, Ted Lasso (Biscuits)
Swift earns his first Emmy nomination for a delightful performance as the well-meaning operations director who takes a lot of abuse from those around him. It’s easy to find Higgins likeable, and it’s a great performance, but, like Hunt, I can’t find any mention of Higgins in my review of the show’s second episode. I’m sure he has some great interactions with both Rebecca and Ted, but for now, he’ll have to settle for his nomination given the size and nature of his role.

Kenan Thompson as Various Characters, Saturday Night Live (Host: Dave Chappelle)
Thompson is a double nominee this year, also contending for his lead performance in his NBC sitcom “Kenan.” This is his third consecutive bid for “Saturday Night Live,” and he also has two previous nominations, one of which resulted in a win, for music and lyrics on the show. Thompson is a prominent player in a lot of show’s sketches, but his submitted episode doesn’t give him in the way of noteworthy opportunities, particularly in comparison to last year. It would be a surprise to see him win this year, especially with his nominated costar in the mix…

Bowen Yang as Various Characters, Saturday Night Live (Host: Carey Mulligan)
Yang, nominated for an Emmy two years for writing on his show, earns his first acting bid this year. Yang is the first featured player to earn an Emmy nomination, which shows just how beloved he is. I wasn’t very familiar with him but did see his appearance as the iceberg that sank the Titanic, which, from what I understand, is what earned him this nomination. Given his ability to get nominated in the first place, a win seems distinctly possible too.

Who should win (based on entire season): Goldstein or Reiser
Who should win (based on individual episodes): Goldstein, Clemons-Hopkins, Mohammed, or Reiser
Who will win: It might be Yang or Reiser, but I think Goldstein will win.

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