Emmy Circuit: Supporting Actress Comedy is a Crowded Field

Alex Borstein in "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel"

Welcome to the 2019 Emmy Circuit series, where we analyze and predict all your favorite TV series and their chances with the Television Academy (at least at this time of publishing).  The series examines the shows and performances about their awards potential, most notably the Emmy Awards.  Emmy nomination voting opens June 10 and closes on June 24.  The official Emmy nominations will be announced on Tuesday, July 16 while the ceremony airs on FOX Sunday, Sept. 22.  All Emmy pieces run with the following schedule: Mondays (Dramas), Tuesdays (Network Spotlight), Wednesdays (Comedies), Thursdays (Network Spotlight), Fridays (Limited Series, Variety Series, Below-the Lines).


Heading into this year’s television awards season, we turn our attention to Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. This year looks to be set for three of the nominations slots. Last year’s winner Alex Borstein (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel), five-time nominee Anna Chlumsky (“Veep”) and 2016 & 2017’s winner Kate McKinnon (“Saturday Night Live”) are all but guaranteed an invite back to the party.

For those final spots, there are A TON of choices. Leslie Jones, Aidy Bryant and Cecily Strong bring the funny every week to “Saturday Night Live.” These women are a huge reason the show is in the middle of a resurgence in popularity.

Olivia Colman in “Fleabag”

Olivia Colman, fresh off an Oscar win for “The Favourite,” has name recognition going for her this year, as she is looking to score her first Emmy nomination for the second season of BBC Three’s “Fleabag.” On a side note, Colman is taking over for Claire Foy in “The Crown,” so she will most certainly be back next year on the drama side.

Marin Hinkle from “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” has been a steady figure on television for the better part of twenty years, and she has never received her due credit. Hinkle should be in a place to garner her first Emmy nomination this year for her portrayal of Midge’s overbearing, but well-meaning mother.

NBC’s “The Good Place” had a great year, as did one of its stars, D’Arcy Carden. Carden was truly wonderful as A.I. Janet, and is a stand out among the shows stellar cast that includes Ted Danson and Kristen Bell.

Last year, there were a total of eight nominees vying for gold. It was the most crowded category at the 70th Annual Emmy Awards. With so many talented women, it is easy to see why.


Mayim Bialik and Jim Parsons in “The Big Bang Theory”

This year we will see the curtains close on one of the most successful comedy shows of all time. “The Big Bang Theory” will end its run this spring after twelve seasons on CBS. Despite a strong ensemble cast, only three of the core seven actors have received Emmy nominations. Of the women on the show, Mayim Bialik, who plays nerdy neuroscientist Amy, has been nominated four times for Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. Bialik has missed out on a nomination the past two years, and this will be the last chance for the academy to show her some love. Kaley Cuoco and Melissa Rauch would be hoping to score their first nominations for their last season of work. If CBS is really hoping to go out with a bang, the supporting actress category may be the place.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” is also closing its doors. Over the course of its run, this Netflix show may have scored nominations, but it never translated to wins. That includes Supporting Actress Jane Krakowski. She has been nominated in this category five times but has never won.


Anna Chlumsky in “Veep”

Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, who stars in the HBO comedy “Veep,” will obviously not be competing in the supporting category, but her co-star, Anna Chlumsky may be able to cash in on the big goodbye (and on Louis-Dryfuss kickin’ cancer to the curb). Chlumsky should be able to close out the show with another nomination, but can she finally score a win?

Last month, Netflix announced that it was cancelling the comedy show “One Day at a Time.” This show was based on Norman Lear’s sitcom that ran from 1975-1984. Although the developers of this rehash are shopping the series to other networks, nothing is currently in the works. Rita Moreno, one of the few people who is an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony winner), was one of the stars of this sitcom. As is obvious from her list of accolades, 87-year-old Moreno is an award season favorite.


Gillian Anderson in “Sex Education”

This year’s contenders for Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series seem to be stacked heavily in favor of established televisions shows. But there are two new shows that have standouts who may try to find a place in this crowded pack. “Sex Education” on Netflix has Gillian Anderson (from “The X-Files”) playing the open, free-loving, sex-therapist mom of Asa Butterfield. SNL alum, Molly Shannon brings down the house on Comedy Central’s “The Other Two” as the mother of two adult children dealing with the newfound fame of their 13-year old brother. Can moms rule in this supporting zone?


Betty Gilpin in “GLOW”

Besides “Veep,” most of the favored comedy shows (and therefore the actors) will be returning to the small screen for the 2019-2020 season. But the academy may be looking to spread the wealth around. Betty Gilpin scored her first nomination for Netflix’s “GLOW” in 2018. Gilpin seems like the one to watch going forward. As “GLOW” gains popularity and continues to showcase its talented and diverse cast, the women in front of the camera may be able to capitalize.


Megan Mullally on “Will & Grace”

Will & Grace” just finished its second season of its sophomore run. Two-time Emmy winner Megan Mullally was nominated in this category last year. But as “Will & Grace” has lost steam since then, a nomination this year does not seem as likely.
Other comedy revivals could also be looking for recognition in the supporting actress category. Faith Ford and Tyne Daly from CBS’s “Murphy Brown,” as well as “Arrested Development’sPortia de Rossi, Jessica Walter and Alia Shawkat may be hoping to break through.


  1. Alex Borstein (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”)
  2. Kate McKinnon (“Saturday Night Live”)
  3. Anna Chlumsky (“Veep”)
  4. Betty Gilpin (“GLOW”)
  5. Marin Hinkle (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”)
  6. Oliva Colman (“Fleabag”)