Week 2, Part 5: Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedy
Alex Borstein, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel: 9–2. For Playing: Suzie Myerson, Midge’s agent, trying to grow into a much bigger pond as her client does. Pro: Have you seen her performance? Every line out of her mouth in a gem. Even when she’s trying to be serious, she’s hysterical. And watching as Suzie realized what the world outside of New York was, as she tried to deal with Sophie’s demands — which were even more arduous than just trying to make it big in the first place — made me love her even more. The fact that she took the Broadcast Critics award gives her an edge she frankly doesn’t need. I know she’s won two years running, but if the Emmys were to give her another prize it wouldn’t be laziness. Con: Will the Emmys decide to give a trophy to a new face in this category? That’s hard to say — there’ve been a lot of repeats for Supporting Actress in a Comedy over the past fifteen years — but they’ve been showing growth, and that might work against Borstein.
D’Arcy Carden, The Good Place: 13–2. For Playing: Janet, the all-knowing being that all sides want on their side. Pro: A question that not even Janet could answer: why wasn’t Carden nominated after last year’s incredible, Emmy-nominated ‘Janets’? That’s not to say her work wasn’t just as impressive this year — not only did she repeat her role as the ‘bad Janet’ who led a rebellion, she played every single permutation of Janet for a couple of episodes. If that doesn’t represent Carden’s incredible versatility, skill and humor — it can’t be easy to deliver that hysterical dialogue in a perfectly pleasant tone all the time — I don’t know what is. Carden has deserved an Emmy more than anyone in the case — yes, even more than Ted Danson. I want her to win. Badly. Con: I’m trying really hard to find an argument against her, and the best I can do is that the laziness in the Emmys will lead to pick Borstein again. But as I said above, she deserves it.
Betty Gilpin, GLOW: 9–1. For Playing: Debbie Eagan/Liberty Belle, the heroine of the Gorgeous Ladies of wrestling. Pro: I’ve been a fan of Gilpin ever since she came on my radar in the back half of Nurse Jackie, and I can say that her work on this criminally undervalued series is some of the best she’s ever done. Trying to balance a divorced woman, a mom, a rising star, and a producer, all while trying to work out the prickly relationships particularly with Rose, is one of the most ambitious characters on any forum. She’s remarkable. Con: The same problems she’s had every year. For whatever reason, GLOW just doesn’t seem to register with the Academy the same way it does with fans. It may be because its an ensemble series, which doesn’t work well for the Emmys, but its never gotten the love it deserves. And that can only hurt Gilpin.
Marin Hinkle, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel: 9–1. For Playing: Rose, Midge’s mother who is increasingly put upon now that her husband is trying for independence to. Con: If it were just for her lines about constantly being pressed by every element of her life — her daughter, her husband, her in-laws — Hinkle would be outstanding. But every season we seem to unearth another layer to Ruth. When we saw that she came from Oklahoma, was an oil heiress, and tried to reach for her independence, that was remarkable. The fact that it led to another great level of jokes was even more impressive. She’s deserved an Emmy at least since Once & Again. I think she’s earned it. Con: Alex Borstein. For whatever reason, the splitting of votes in this category hasn’t helped Hinkle one bit. Her character is quietly hysterical in the way that Borstein’s is loudly so. I think that’ll work against her.
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live: 15–2. For Playing: Various Characters. Pro: The political sway of SNL has helped McKinnon; she’s just as gifted at playing Rudy Giuliani and Lindsay Graham as she is Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elizabeth Warren. Even as the show fell backward into the social distancing era, she remained hysterical to watch. I grant you she has two Emmys already, but given how political this year is, it might help her triumph again. Con: The new normal affected Saturday Night Live the most, so she had a lot fewer performances — and opportunities — to demonstrate her gifts. I don’t think this is her year.
Annie Murphy, Schitt’s Creek: 5–1. For Playing: Alexis Rose, the out of water daughter in town. Pro: This is the series that helped Murphy break big and become a star. To be able to compete and register with a cast this good is remarkable. Alexis isn’t as ostentatious as her parents or as daring as her brother- she’s just funny. And for a series that has a cast this big, that’s impressive. Con: Of all the actors who are cresting on the Schitt’s Creek wave, Murphy faces by far the most formidable lineup, and that’s without counting Alex Borstein. She might pull off an upset, but it’s been a long time since a comedy series won even three of the four acting Emmys.
Yvonne Orji, Insecure. 8–1. For Playing: Molly, a businesswoman trying to make a relationship work at the cost of nearly everything else. Pro: I’m not sure whether I’m happier that Carden or Orji was nominated this year. Molly went through an even more painful arc than Issa did — focusing so much on her relationship with Andrew that she completely broke her relationship with Issa, and then going even further with so many other relationship that it was hard to like her near the end of the season. Then after she was reunited with Issa for the worst possible reason, she tried to fix thing with Andrew — but it was too late. So she turned back to Issa. Her performance had layers that a lot of dramas don’t have, but she was funny consistently. Con: You needed to study the length of Orji’s work throughout Season 4 to truly get the depths of her performance — which doesn’t really fit in to the submission process for the Emmys the way a lot of the other nominees can. This will probably work against her, but she’ll be back
Cecily Strong, Saturday Night Live: 10–1. For Playing: Various Characters. Pro: Strong has always been one of the more undervalued performers in the formidable cast. With the exception of Jeanine Pirro — which sadly, doesn’t show her at her best — the lion’s share of her characters aren’t famous. But when she shines, she’s like a diamond. A lot of times her characters are elements of normalcy in the zaniness, and that’s a quality that deserves to be recognized. Con: Kate McKinnon. Usually when SNL gets nominated in this category, it’s the more versatile and omnipresent performers who win. It’s worked against Strong before, and I have a feeling it will here too.
PREDICTION: Still want to see Carden win, and she might pull an upset. Otherwise, look for Borstein to add yet another trophy to her mantle.