My Picks For This Year’s Emmys: The Comedies
Part 5: Outstanding Supporting Actress in A Comedy
Anna Chlumsky, gone. So are both the women from Fleabag — well, Olivia Colman will be, but not in this genre. Sarah Goldberg, ineligible. Who does leave and who will return? Here are my best guesses.
Alex Borstein, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
She is the constant through the three winning seasons of Marvelous Mrs. Maisel — two Emmys, two Critics Choice awards, and — even though she voted for Fleabag — the center of both the SAG awards for the show. Borstein does everything perfectly, playing both straight woman and right arm to Midge as Susie, trying to make room for herself in a world that’s getting bigger, and finding, despite herself, becoming Midge’s friend. The Palladinos have always done a good job at creating female companions for their leads, and Borstein may be the best one they’ve created so far. Everyone says she’s a lock to make it three in a row. I wish someone else would win, but I wouldn’t mind if she did.
D’Arcy Carden, The Good Place
The most understated and versatile player in the incredible cast of performers on this show, she didn’t seem to have a single episode like last year’s extraordinary ‘Janets’ that put her at the center. But Carden always find a way to shine out, and playing the bad Janet in several episodes and every other Janet in two incredible ones, there’s no denying that she demonstrated her gifts yet again. When they finally made it to the Good Place, she now served her final role, leading people to the end, and she was as calming as ever. If the actual afterlife is maintained by Janets, it actually would give me hope for one. And it must have been heartbreaking for her to lose her soulmate, but somehow I think she’ll be okay. Last chance, give her a forking nomination
Betty Gilpin, GLOW
The one constant presence in the Emmy nominations for this versatile series has been Gilpin’s astonishing work as Debbie/Liberty Belle, the woman trying to make a name for herself on a series that keeps going up and down. There’s an argument that almost anyone else in the cast of GLOW could be here — I’m still not sure why Alison Brie never gets nominated — but Gilpin has been one of my favorite actresses since her work on Nurse Jackie and this is easily some of her best work. The Emmys may not be constant enough to let her win, but they will re-nominate her
Regina Hall, Black Monday
Can a terrible series have an actress who deserves to get nominated? I’ve already expressed how awful Black Monday truly is, but the one truly exceptional thing about is Hall’s awesome work as Dawn. As she became the head of Mo’s group, and did everything she could to empower black women — admittedly, by being a bigger and more ruthless asshole than Mo ever was — Hall resonates in a way that struck me as vital to television months before the crying out for more diversity everywhere began. Is it more likely that Don Cheadle will repeat? Probably. Has Regina Hall more than earned her seat at the table after two decades of understated brilliance? Absolutely.
Marin Hinkle, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Hinkle’s work as Rose seems to be the only performance on this series that has never gotten its due. But that’s something that has sadly been a constant throughout Hinkle’s career in television going back to her superb work in the undervalued drama Once & Again and continued as the beleaguered principal on Speechless. As Rose, Hinkle manages a harder balancing act than so many of the other characters on this series — the woman who is trying to make a place for herself in this new decade, yet who still holds fast to the old virtues of the past when it comes to family. Now forced to deal with Abe’s problems as well as Midge, one could well see her turning into one of those yentas that were at the center of Fiddler on the Roof. Hinkle has been going out of the way not to be a cliché, and I have no doubt voters will acknowledge her again
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
If there is one bright spot to the political chaos that we live in these days, it has been watching Kate McKinnon take on the roles of every single weirdo politician. You knew she could handle Kellyanne Conway and Elizabeth Warren, but Rudy Giuliani and Jeff Session? One can’t really see her workload being any heavier if Hilary had won in 2016. I’ve been very late to the party of seeing SNL performers nominated, but after watching McKinnon week in and week out, it is really hard to imagine any other actress — yes, even some of the ones in this category — showing the kind of range she has. She’s earned it.
Yvonne Orji, Insecure
Orji’s work as Molly, Issa’s best friend throughout her life has always been the font of much amusement. But in Season 4, Orji truly showed her depth as performer. Going to such efforts to make her relationship with Andrew work that she would ultimately freeze out and than have a major break with Issa revealed some unpleasant parts of her personality that became even more toxic in the second half of the season. Then in the finale, when things finally began to break apart, it became clear that there were some parts of her she just didn’t want to acknowledge — and by then, it was too late to save one relationship, but not the other. Combine that with a truly extraordinary HBO comedy special where she revealed a looseness in her behavior that I had never expected in the last few years of watching her, and it can be argued that this is the breakout year for Orji. She is definitely entitled to a nomination.
FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION
Lauren Graham, Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist
Let the record show that I have always been Lauren Graham’s biggest booster. And that the Emmys ignoring twice for one show of each of the past decades — Gilmore Girls in the 2000s, Parenthood in the 2010s — is, to quote about a loss of another dark-haired beauty — ‘the greatest robbery since Brinks.” And in my heart of hearts I know that they if weren’t going to recognize her for two extraordinary parts, they won’t recognize for what is a smaller part on a lesser show. But still wouldn’t it be nice if they did? Her work has always been stalwart, and she finally did something I’ve been waiting for her to do since the final season of Gilmore Girls — break out into song. She has no realistic chance even among my longshots. But isn’t it extraordinary to think she might have one now?
Next week, movies and limited series. And yes, there will be at least some movies considered.