Thursday, September 8, 2022

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

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

Rachel Brosnahan as Midge Maisel, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (How Do You Get to Carnegie Hall?) Brosnahan is back after winning this prize for her show’s first season in 2018 and earning back-to-back bids after that. Her show received considerably fewer nominations than in the past this year, but Brosnahan is still formidable, especially in the season finale that finds her looking to a new future and a transformed relationship dynamic. This doesn’t feel like her year – a win for the forthcoming final season feels much more likely.

Quinta Brunson as Janine Teagues, Abbott Elementary (Pilot)
Brunson is new to this race since her show is also new, but she’s already made quite an impression, picking up bids for writing and producing as well. At the Hollywood Critics Association Awards, she received numerous prizes, and she’s definitely one to watch. As the creative force behind her show, it’s all about her, and I feel like she’s a real threat to win. It’s far from guaranteed, but watch out for her to take this one home.

Kaley Cuoco as Cassie Bowden, The Flight Attendant (Drowning Women)
I previously lamented the fact that Cuoco would always have to compete with an iconic actress like Catherine O’Hara or Jean Smart and would therefore never get to win a very well-deserved prize for an absolutely committed and zany performance. But then her show went ahead and disappeared from almost all other categories, which means that Cuoco, however amazing she is, has virtually no shot, despite an even more enthralling and chaotic turn in season two.

Elle Fanning as Catherine the Great, The Great (Alone at Last)
I was overjoyed to learn that the star of the best comedy series on television had earned an Emmy nomination after being passed over for season one. Unfortunately, she was joined only by her equally phenomenal costar Nicholas Hoult, with the show snubbed in the top race. Fanning is even more wondrous in season two, but no matter how good she is, it’s hard to see her taking this prize with other actresses with better support for their shows in the mix.

Issa Rae as Issa Dee, Insecure (Reunited, Okay?!)
Rae is back with her third bid in five years for this role after being nominated last year for a guest spot on “A Black Lady Sketch Show. For her show’s final season, she’s here without a corresponding Best Comedy Series bid that existed for season four, which means her chances of winning are slim. But I’m sure there are those who would love to reward Rae for great work both in front of and behind the camera, particularly for an episode that gives her great material.

Jean Smart as Deborah Vance, Hacks (The%20Click)
Smart is the defending champion in this race, and her show did pretty formidably all around. While she’s just as good as ever, and her submitted episode finds her spending a delightful night with a younger woman, I was surprised to see that Selena Gomez, who wasn’t nominated at the Emmys, eclipsed her in the corresponding streaming race at the Hollywood Critics Association Awards. While these organizations are not the same thing, it suggests that Smart’s win may have been reward enough, and though she’s still a good bet to repeat, it’s not guaranteed.

Who should win (based on entire season): Fanning or Smart
Who should win (based on individual episodes): Fanning, Smart, or Brosnahan
Who will win: I’m going with Brunson over Smart.

Next up: Best Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

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