Welcome back to Emmy Circuit 2015 and Happy Memorial Day! In this series of articles, I discuss and prediction the 2015 Emmy race, noting the ever-changing landscape of these categories and tracking the ongoing buzz. I’ve already handed out some predictions for Best Actor in a Drama Series and Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. But today, we go for something lighter–Best Actress in a Comedy Series!
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep) is looking to become only the third performer to win four consecutive Emmys, with only John Larroquette in Night Court and Helen Hunt in Mad About You coming before her. Looking at the state of this category, there are worthy challengers, but I can’t yet imagine the Emmy voters feeling either sentimental for the departing Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation) or overjoyed for Emmy virgin Gina Rodriguez (Jane the Virgin). I think these three ladies are the only locks in this race, and I don’t even have hesitation because The CW is handling Rodriguez’s campaign. Too much love/buzz there–she could easily win the Critics Choice Award.
Additionally, there’s the perennial Edie Falco for her consistent good work in Nurse Jackie. There is never any substantial buzz for Falco’s Showtime comedy, but she’s the type of performer that doesn’t need buzz AND the show’s small, strong fanbase always shows up to the ballot booth. Falco has been an Emmy nominee EVERY YEAR SINCE 1999 except 2002, 2005, 2006, and 2009. Impressive.
Only two more nominees from 2014 are eligible to return to THIS category (Taylor Schilling is eligible for Lead Actress in a Drama Series since the Emmys suddenly deemed Orange is the New Black a drama). While I’m not sure either Melissa McCarthy (Mike & Molly) or Lena Dunham (Girls) have enough strength/buzz to come back, the Emmys are famous for holding onto performances/shows that have gone away from public view.
Speaking of McCarthy, she patented the Emmy strategy of “Be Good on a Show but Be Great in a Movie and Win an Emmy.” I think Amy Schumer has a strong possibility of doing just that with her work on Inside Amy Schumer. Schumer has it all going for her: Trainwreck might well be huge, Inside Amy Schumer has never had better reviews/buzz, she’s the creative force behind the series, etc. I feel good about this.
With Orange is the New Black heading to the drama races, that means Netflix has some breathing room to wiggle into some fluid Comedy Races. I think Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt will end up landing in a lot more races than people think, mostly due to Netflix campaigning. I think Ellie Kemper has a very strong chance here.
Finally, there are many who will cry foul for my not including Lisa Kudrow for The Comeback. But the revival was so-so reviewed and seems all but forgotten about by this point. Additionally, some people will jump for the opportunity to add Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda to this race for their work in Grace and Frankie, but that show feels like it came and went and never penetrated anything. I know Kristen Schaal (Last Man on Earth), Abbi Jacobson & Ilana Glazer (Broad City), Anna Faris (Mom), Tracee Ellis Ross (Black-ish), Emmy Rossum (Shameless), and Constance Wu (Fresh Off the Board) have fans, but how many fans is the question.
Check out Clayton’s Emmy predictions for this category here, where you’ll see that we overlap on only 4 of the 6 nominees.
Sam’s Current, Non-Final Predictions
1. Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
2. Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation
3. Gina Rodriguez, Jane the Virgin
4. Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
5. Amy Schumer, Inside Amy Schumer
6. Ellie Kemper, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt