Emmy Circuit: Can Olivia Colman Win the Comedy Supporting Actress Emmy the Same Year as Her Oscar?

Welcome to the 2019 Emmy Circuit series. We are now in the Emmy post-nomination phase, where we watch all the nominated Emmy episodes and predict their chances of winning. The Creative Arts Emmy winners will be revealed Saturday, Sept. 14, while the Primetime Emmy Awards airs on FOX Sunday, Sept. 22. Tune in week after week as we tackle all things Drama, Comedy, Limited Series and Variety.

OPENING STATEMENTS

It’s no coincidence the Comedy Supporting Actress race has eight nominees. The category is overflowing with talent. Choosing two performances to leave off this lineup is almost as hard as picking a winner. With eight options, this means there are many ways for the category to turn out. Two nominees have won this category previously (Alex Borstein and Kate McKinnon).

Meanwhile, Anna Chlumsky has been nominated in this category six of “Veep’s” seven seasons without a win. Could this final season bring her an Emmy? Meanwhile, Olivia Colman is fresh off an Oscar win for “The Favourite.” Perhaps this awards love will continue, mainly since “Fleabag” performed so well in nominations. The other four nominees all have various reasons why they could be a Merritt Wever-like spoiler. Let’s take a look at the category.

AND THE NOMINEES ARE… 

  • Alex Borstein – “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” – Episode: “Vote for Kennedy, Vote for Kennedy”
  • Anna Chlumsky – “Veep” – Episode: “Pledge”
  • Sian Clifford – “Fleabag” – Episode: “Episode 2.3”
  • Olivia Colman – “Fleabag” – Episode: “Episode 2.4”
  • Betty Gilpin“GLOW” – Episode: “Mother Of All Matches”
  • Sarah Goldberg – “Barry” – Episode: “The Audition”
  • Marin Hinkle – “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” – Episode: “Simone”
  • Kate McKinnon – “Saturday Night Live” – Episode: “Host: Leiv Schreiber”

Now to delve into each of the nominated episodes. Spoiler Alert: These analyses may contain spoilers of the nominated episodes.

NOMINEE #1 – Alex Borstein – “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” – Episode: “Vote for Kennedy, Vote for Kennedy”

Episode Synopsis (IMDB): Susie lands Midge her first gig on television, but their victory is short-lived when they realize Midge is being punished for her past. Abe is increasingly unhappy in his dream job at Bell Labs while Joel continues to drown in work during late nights at Maisel and Roth.

Alex Borstein knows how to make a meal out of Amy Sherman-Palladino’s dialogue. Her episode submission, “Vote for Kennedy, Vote for Kennedy,” gives her plenty of chances to wheel and deal. Borstein continues to charm as Susie, the no-nonsense manager of Midge Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan). The beginning of the episode finds Midge and Susie playing musical chairs in a deli as Susie tries to land her a gig. She’s successful, as she gets Midge booked on a telethon. Once on set, Susie and Midge realize their arch-nemesis, Sophie Lennon (Jane Lynch), is also booked. Susie does whatever she can, including confronting Sophie, in order to make sure Midge has a chance to shine.

Borstein gets the most lines of any of the nominees, but not the most screen-time. The episode requires her to run around speaking a mile a minute at any person who will listen. Though Borstein is incredibly watchable, this episode alone doesn’t give Susie much emotional mileage. Her best scene comes with her confrontation with Sophie. Though Sophie’s persona is of a boor-ish woman, Susie knows she’s just a posh fraud. Susie lays her feelings on the table and fights for Midge because she believes in her. Moments like these show why Borstein is such a versatile talent.

Last year’s Emmy winner hopes to repeat this year. As much as Borstein steals every scene that she’s in, the second season of the show focuses more on Midge’s family than Susie’s working relationship with Midge. With Marin Hinkle also in the category for “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” one worries they may split their vote. Borstein has a proven track record in this category, but Hinkle gets more of a showcase this year.

NOMINEE #2 – Anna Chlumsky – “Veep” – Episode: “Pledge”

Episode Synopsis (IMDB): In the run-up to the first debate, Selina makes a novel campaign proposal; Jonah’s comments create blowback; Dan and Amy take a road trip.

An Emmy winning episode doesn’t need to have a lot of screen-time for its performer. Often, it just needs one or two memorable moments for its nominee to stand out. That’s what Anna Chlumsky hopes for with her submission. The episode “Pledge” gives her only a few minutes of screen-time. Luckily, Chlumsky makes the most of these moments. After getting pregnant with co-worker Dan’s (Reid Scott) baby, Amy (Chlumsky) decides to procure an abortion. When she crosses a picket line at the clinic, Amy launches into a great tirade taking down each of the protestors and affirming her right to choose.

The episode ends with a humanizing moment, as Amy shows vulnerability post-procedure with Dan. As she wonders if she’ll ever want kids in the future, she gets a call from Teddy Sykes (Patton Oswalt) offering her a job on Jonah Ryan’s (Timothy Simons) campaign. She eagerly takes it. From here, the show turns her into a Kelly-Anne Conway type. Chlumsky undoubtedly chose this episode to show a more likable side of her character.

Anna Chlumsky holds the biggest Emmy IOU in this category. She has earned nominations for six of the show’s seven seasons, only missing for season one. Despite all these nominations, Chlumsky has never won. With this being “Veep’s” last season, this means it is also Chlumsky’s last chance to win for the role of Amy. “Veep” did well in nominations, but not as well as some were expecting. Still, with an intense monologue and enjoyable narrative, Chlumsky could very well win. Unfortunately, we thought the same thing for Jane Krakowski in “30 Rock,” but she lost her final bid to Merritt Wever in “Nurse Jackie” in a shocker.

NOMINEE #3 – Sian Clifford – “Fleabag” – Episode: “Episode 2.3”

Episode Synopsis (IMDB): Fleabag helps with an event at Claire’s work, which inevitably ends in disaster, but an introduction to Claire’s colleague proves intriguing. A chance meeting with a stranger opens her eyes.

Sian Clifford’s Claire is a prickly enigma. All of that is on full display in “Fleabag’s” third episode. Claire is hosting an awards gala at work with all her higher-ups. She enlists her sister, Fleabag (Phoebe Waller-Bridge), to help cater it. This decision leads to disaster as Fleabag drops and shatters the trophy. Claire balances the stress of her job with the stress that Fleabag brings to the equation as she tries to make things right.

Clifford excels at crafting a fully realized character from Claire’s many barbs. In the boardroom, she can be tough and decisive. However, she reveals her stress and fear when she’s alone with her sister. There are two Claires – the one she shows her colleagues and the one that comes out around Fleabag. Clifford and Waller-Bridge form a particularly unique sisterly bond that’s as coarse as it is loving.

The Emmys’ love for “Fleabag” was one of the greatest joys of this year’s nominations. Sian Clifford’s work on “Fleabag” is one of the significant reasons the show works so well. Claire’s relationship with Fleabag is the heart of the show. Unfortunately, her co-star Olivia Colman is the more prominent name and commands most of the buzz. Despite excellent work, the nomination is most likely the reward for her.

NOMINEE #4 – Olivia Colman – “Fleabag” – Episode: “Episode 2.4”

Episode Synopsis (IMDB): After a day spent looking back on painful memories, Fleabag turns to The Priest for solace, but finds more trouble.

It’s hard to think of a more charming awards season personality than Olivia Colman. Throughout the Oscars awards season, Colman dialed up the hilarity and heart as she campaigned for her work as Queen Anne in “The Favourite.” Luckily, the Emmys noticed her equally transcendent work in “Fleabag” as Godmother, a cheerily monstrous artist looking to marry Fleabag and Claire’s (Clifford) father (Bill Patterson). Colman never lets her smile damper, even as she delivers some hilariously awful lines at her future step-daughters.

There’s nothing much to Colman’s performance in “Fleabag’s” fourth episode. In a flashback, Fleabag (Waller-Bridge) remembers her mother’s funeral. It’s here that Godmother (Colman) first sinks her teeth into Dad, truly wasting no time. We mostly see her from afar in a look that is goofily bohemian for a funeral. She gets one dynamite scene with Fleabag and Claire where she assures them that she’ll always be there for them. Colman makes this come off more as a threat than a comfort. She always knows how to find the right pitch for a scene.

Though her episode gives her very little to do, Colman could very well win the award. Since there are only six episodes in the season, “Fleabag” is incredibly easy to binge. Watching all of season two shows how skilled and hilarious Colman is in this role. Additionally, Colman carries with her tremendous awards buzz. Having just won the Oscar for “The Favourite,” the Emmys may want to continue her coronation. Plus, “Fleabag’s” eleven nomination haul illustrates that the Emmys clearly love the show. If they’re looking for a place to reward it, giving Colman another trophy would seem like a clear place to do so.

NOMINEE #5 – Betty Gilpin – “GLOW” – Episode: “Mother Of All Matches”

Episode Synopsis (IMDB): On the day of the big match between Welfare Queen and Liberty Belle, Tammé visits her son at Stanford, and Debbie hits an emotional wall.

Though “GLOW” features one of the most active ensembles on TV, Betty Gilpin continues to be the cream of the crop. A former soap star, Debbie (Gilpin) gets her second wind as producer and star of “GLOW: Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling.” Even as the show starts to find success and an audience, Debbie still can’t get control of her home life. Her divorce continues to drive a wedge between her and her baby, who she never gets quite enough time with. Gilpin’s episode submission packs an emotional punch, as Debbie’s motherhood woes are contrasted with Tammé’s (Kia Stevens) visit to her son in Stanford. This structure gives Gilpin plenty of screen-time and showcases moments to build an impressive submission.

A call from her ex-husband, Mark (Rich Sommer), about buying the same type of bed as her sends Debbie into a spiral. She opens up some wine and begins to sell all the possessions in her house. Gilpin unearths a sadness behind a lot of great physical comedy. We see how this flash sale seems to alleviate Debbie’s anxiety. Yet, we understand this is merely a bandaid for a pain that isn’t as easily treatable. She feels distant from her child and guilty for how the divorce is tearing her family apart. 

This leads into her wrestling match that evening, where Debbie’s Liberty Bell faces off against Tammé’s Welfare Queen. Their match operates on dual levels, both as entertainment for the fans, but also a cringe-worthy affair where racial stereotypes embarrass Tammé in front of her son. Even after all the humiliation, Tammé provides Debbie space to talk about her frustrations with being a mother. The two women must play adversaries when in actuality they are allies in motherhood.

“GLOW’s” dip in nomination count puts Gilpin further away from winning the category. Her turn might take voters who watch all the submissions. She gets a full arc, plenty of physical comedy and a wide range of emotions to play. Even in a stacked category, this could be the winning tape. All Gilpin needs is for voters to watch it.

NOMINEE #6 – Sarah Goldberg – “Barry” – Episode: “The Audition”

Episode Synopsis (IMDB): Barry prepares for his first audition under Gene’s guidance; Sally takes a stand in a meeting with a major TV producer; Noho Hank bares all.

Sally’s season two arc marks one of the areas where “Barry” showed the greatest improvement. When asked to write a scene about a challenging moment, Sally relives her past abusive relationship. In her submitted episode, Sally’s scene leads to a big-time TV audition with a “woke” producer. When she takes the meeting, Sally learns the project is a tone-deaf action project were women who were assaulted form a coalition to take revenge. Sally declines the audition, which prompts her agents to consider dropping her. At the same time, Barry gets an audition for a big movie just by hanging in the lobby during Sally’s meeting.

Sarah Goldberg’s big scene comes later at her apartment as she runs lines with Barry. In between tries at his scene, Sally bursts out into a rage spiral. She admits that she will be jealous and leave Barry if he gets his audition. The actual text of the monologue could seem petty. Yet, Goldberg plays it like the exhausted, darker side of Emma Stone’s character from “La La Land.” Years of rejection and hurt bubble up into an eruption that isn’t graceful or eloquent. There’s a raw hurt that Goldberg connects with.

“Barry” saw lots of success last year for its first season. Both Bill Hader and Henry Winkler won acting awards. Though Sarah Goldberg was not nominated in the previous year, this year her nomination is well-earned. Sally has moved past being a punchline and become a fully-formed character, warts and all. If voters are indeed in love with “Barry,” they may vote for it across all categories. This could help Goldberg, who submitted one of “Barry’s” episodes that earned a Directing nomination.

NOMINEE #7 – Marin Hinkle – “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” – Episode: “Simone”

Episode Synopsis (IMDB): In the Season Two premiere, Midge takes the stage for a foreign audience, while Abe and Rose find themselves in a new world. Susie experiences the repercussions of having a bad reputation in the business, as Joel regroups after quitting his job.

Marin Hinkle has been the underrated beating heart of almost every show she’s been a part of. What a joy to see her get an episode to herself as the season two opener of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” Rose (Hinkle) dashes off to Paris after feeling unappreciated by her husband, Abe (Tony Shalhoub), and daughter, Midge (Rachel Brosnahan). Here she gets to live the bohemian artist lifestyle that she never afforded herself. Once Abe and Midge fly to Paris to rescue her, she bristles at the notion that she needs to be saved. She convinces Abe to spend some time in this new Parisian life she’s made for herself before agreeing to return home to New York.

What Hinkle manages to do so well is to imbue Rose with a rich inner life full of ambition that has been stifled. Rose has this whole other life she wished she had lived. Instead, she married, had babies, and raised a family the way society expected of her. Hinkle conveys such glee in Rose’s second act in Paris. This makes Abe’s frustration and disinterest in Paris all the more cutting. The way they work on their relationship demonstrates how the only better match than Rose and Abe is Marin Hinkle and Tony Shalhoub. 

Though Hinkle is absolutely amazing in “Simone,” the episode was one that was subject to criticism from fans. Many thought the season two opener deviated too far from Midge’s trajectory and was just a showcase for Amy Sherman-Palladino’s rat-a-tat-tat dialogue. The show’s trip to Paris is a fun detour that sets up how much the season will be about the Weissman family. Will Maisel fans rally around Hinkle or former winner Alex Borstein? Will they cancel each other out? Anything is possible in this talented, crowded race.

NOMINEE #8 – Kate McKinnon – “Saturday Night Live” – Episode: “Host: Leiv Schreiber”

Episode Synopsis (IMDB): Liev Schreiber hosts with musical guest Li’l Wayne.

“Saturday Night Live” stars have done particularly well when they’ve portrayed political figures. Nobody knows this better than Kate McKinnon. Her primary role in this episode comes during the cold open. She portrays Jeff Sessions on his final day as Attorney General. The sketch involves a surprise guest appearance by Robert DeNiro as Robert Muller and a performance of Adele’s “Someone Like You” by McKinnon. It’s the highlight of an episode that has more duds than hits.

Unfortunately, McKinnon gets little to do during the rest of the episode. She pops up in old-age makeup for a misbegotten sketch where “invest twins” gets confused with “incest twins.” The joke runs on far too long. She also has a couple of funny, quick lines as Helen Rosenstein, a podcast host who interviews Neo-Nazis. The only other sketch that provides her with Emmy-winning material casts her as a woman who was haunted by a vengeful ghost. Her recounting of the events leads to a great bit of physical comedy where she stands on a chair up against host Leiv Schreiber and mimes having a bowel movement. Is this enough to win her a third Emmy? Only time will tell.

Of the eight nominees, McKinnon has the most wins. She won back to back years in 2016 and 2017. Those wins come mostly from McKinnon’s lauded work as Hilary Clinton. Her wins came on the heels of a turbulent election. As both “Saturday Night Live” and “Veep” saw a decline in nominations, perhaps voters are exhausted of politics. Still, one must not count out a two-time winner.

CURRENT COMEDY SUPPORTING ACTRESS PREDICTIONS

  1. Olivia Colman – “Fleabag” – Episode: “Episode 2.4”
  2. Anna Chlumsky – “Veep” – Episode: “The Pledge”
  3. Alex Borstein – “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” – Episode: “Vote for Kennedy, Vote for Kennedy”
  4. Marin Hinkle – “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” – Episode: “Simone”
  5. Betty Gilpin – “GLOW” – Episode: “Mother Of All Matches”
  6. Kate McKinnon – “Saturday Night Live” – Episode: “Host: Leiv Schreiber”
  7. Sarah Goldberg – “Barry” – Episode: “The Audition”
  8. Sian Clifford – “Fleabag” – Episode: “Episode 2.3”

WILL WIN: Olivia Colman – “Fleabag” – Episode: “Episode 2.4”

SHOULD WIN: Betty Gilpin – “GLOW” – Episode: “Mother Of All Matches”

SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: Rita Moreno – “One Day at a Time”

What do you think will win Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series this year? Let us know in the comments below.

CHECK OUT ALL THE OFFICIAL PREDICTIONS ON THE CIRCUIT HUB AND MAKE YOUR OWN!