No other star has proven themselves to be more invincible than Julia Louis-Dreyfus. The actress has won seven acting Emmys. This includes a record five consecutive wins for her role in HBO’s “Veep” as Selina Meyer. To date, the actress had never lost an Emmy for this role. “Veep” enters its sixth season this year, and the show still seems to be the favorite to win Best Comedy Series. This should put Louis-Dreyfus in the position to win Best Actress in a comedy yet again. However, is there anyone out there that can put a stop to this winning streak?
The best bet to beat Louis-Dreyfus would be fellow seven-time Emmy winner Allison Janney. Janney won two consecutive years in the supporting category for her performance in “Mom” as recovering addict Bonnie Plunkett. However, she did lose last year to Kate McKinnon for “Saturday Night Live.” This is the first year she has moved to the lead category. Janney winning wouldn’t exactly be new or novel. However, Emmy voters are likely to repeat often, and Janney has never faced off against Louis-Dreyfus.
Two nominees from last year (Laurie Metcalf and Amy Schumer) are ineligible this year. That leaves three actresses with a chance to repeat their nominations. Tracee Ellis Ross stands the best shot at repeating her nomination for “Black-ish.” The show increased in quality and gave her more to do with a pregnancy storyline. After that, Lily Tomlin seems to be next in line for “Grace and Frankie.” Tomlin is a legend and the show went through a surge of quality this season. Ellie Kemper stands a good shot as well. However, she was a shocking omission in season one of “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” and the third season has less buzz than the past seasons. If anyone is going to get bumped from last year’s lineup, Kemper unfortunately fits the bill.
Many new faces are hoping to break into the lineup this year. The one who stands the best chance is HBO’s latest multi-hypenate, Issa Rae for “Insecure.” HBO always mounts a robust campaign for its new shows. With “Girls” having just ended, “Insecure” is its new comedy darling. Plus, the show won rave reviews for its first season and will have new episodes airing during the voting period, assuming Rae gets nominated.
While HBO seems to always have a leg up, network TV seeks to pull some punches with its newcomers too. In “The Good Place,” Kristen Bell showcases both her good sides and bad sides. This dual trick has worked wonders with past nominees, such as Christina Applegate in “Samantha Who.” Some of the more buzzy streaming newcomers include Phoebe Waller-Bridge as the filthy lead of Amazon’s “Fleabag” and Justina Machado as the Cuban war veteran single mother in “One Day at a Time.” There are factions banging the drum hard for either of them, which could propel them to a Laurie Metcalfe “Getting On” type surprise.
Other new shows may try and mount a campaign, but stand only an outside chance with all the competition. Minnie Driver (“Speechless”), Drew Barrymore (“Santa Clarita Diet”), and Kathryn Hahn (“I Love Dick”) all command their own pockets of enthusiasm. However, with four returning nominees from last year and Janney moving up, competition is thick for that last slot. Unfortunately, these ladies may have to sit out and build buzz for a season two run. Even actresses who have commanded buzz in the past, such as Rachel Bloom (“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”), Gina Rodriguez (“Jane the Virgin”) and Jane Fonda (“Grace and Frankie”), have found their buzz deflated this time around.
A final spoiler comes from a former nominee who hasn’t been nominated since 2014. Finishing her hit HBO show “Girls,” Lena Dunham showcases some of her best acting since the heralded early seasons. Each year, the show manages to walk away with a nomination in at least one acting category. While light on nominations last year, “Girls” won its first acting win for Peter Scolari in Guest Actor in a Comedy. Perhaps Dunham surprises and gets that final slot.
Julia Louis Dreyfus – “Veep”
Allison Janney – “Mom”
Tracee Ellis Ross – “Black-ish”
Lily Tomlin – “Grace and Frankie”
Ellie Kemper – “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”
Issa Rae – “Insecure”