My Predictions (And Hopes) For This Year’s Emmy Nominations, Week 1 Concluded
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy, et al
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY
The question is, how many nominees will there be in this category? The Emmys have been willing to have seven last year, and the two previous years they were willing to go as high as eight. I’m going to be liberal and give recommendations for eight. I also admit that this category will be Marvelous and that I won’t mind if Alex Borstein makes a return appearance. I’d actually be fine if the Emmys found room for Marin Hinkle; she’s been one of favorite actresses for more than twenty years, and based on her character’s standup routine this season, it’s hard to argue she hasn’t earned it. For now, because I haven’t seen the series yet, I’ll leave them out.
I’m going to lean heavily on long-shots, hoping that institutional memory (as well as, you know, exceptional performances) will be enough to get some of these extraordinary women in. Right now, the odds are good for one or two; a couple will need some real luck. I’m also leaning heavily on women of color for this category because frankly, some of them gave some performances it would be hard for even the Emmys to ignore. Here we go.
Zasie Beetz, Atlanta
My first selection is, according to reputable sources, the longest shot of all. It may come down to whether or not the Academy will repeat a nominee from three years ago. It shouldn’t have to. By any realistic metric, Beetz’s work as Van was one of the most stunning performances of the year. As you watched her throughout Season 3, wandering through Europe increasingly seeming more and more detached from reality — and her old self — you wondered what the hell was happening to her. And when we finally saw her in the season finale — looking like she bleached her skin and with a faux French Accent — her journey through Paris was even more surreal than all of the standalone episodes we saw. And the moment at the end of the episode — when she finally confronted the absence of her daughter and had an emotional breakdown — was one of the great moments in the entire canon of Atlanta and for 2022 so far. The season finale is everything the Academy looks for when they hand out nominations. There is no reason Beetz shouldn’t get one.
Hannah Einbinder, Hacks
Another huge mistake I made last year was underselling Einbinder’s contributions to Hacks. The more we watched Ava throughout the first season and the more realistic the bond between her and Deb became, Hacks achieved greatness. I was gratified with her tie for Supporting Actress from the HCA last year. Watching her in Season 2, as she reels from the consequences of the drunken email she sent was funny. But it’s pretty clear even as this point the episode she’ll submit for consideration. The second episode, where feeling incredible guilt from what she’s done and tells Deb about the email — leading to a hysterical scene in a gift shop — and a profoundly devastating scene where Deb punishes Ava by making her read the email she sent to her. Watching Einbinder as she became increasingly devastated by what she said was a highpoint of the series so far, as well when Deb forgave her — only to learn that her boss was suing her for violating her NDA. Einbinder will get an Emmy at some point for her work on Hacks; that’s a given at this point. The only question right now is when, and it could be as soon as this September.
Sarah Goldberg, Barry
I made a huge mistake last time out saying that it was wrong for the Emmys to nominate Goldberg. Watching Season 3 of Barry, it would be just as big a mistake not to nominate her this time out. Goldberg’s work as Sally was arguably just as important to the series as Hader’s. As she spent her creative force trying to get Joplin made, as she did everything to work her way towards the premiere, as she had a triumph that was extraordinary and then faced how monstrous Barry was, as her series was cancelled one day after its premiere — “because of the algorithm’ — as she faced the betrayals of her assistant and her agent on an outburst against the former that totally warranted it — all the way to the finale which began with a plot of vengeance, was interrupted by an visit by her ex-husband — which ended horribly — and her finally leaving home — Goldberg’s journey was the most extensive of anybody’s on this series this year. I said in an earlier article I was Team Sally; when it comes to Emmy nominations this year, I’m just as firmly team Sarah.
Janelle James, Abbott Elementary
Okay, this is a long shot considering how hard it is for network comedies to get Emmy nominations. But seriously, can anyway who watched James’ work as Ava, the principal at the title school, say that she doesn’t deserve a nomination? Every line out of Ava’s mouth is hysterical, from the moment we learned how she became principal, to every way she’s determined to keep up with every single Internet trend to her harassment of Gregory and Janine? And less we think that Ava was just a one-note character, in a critical episode we learned about her problems with her grandmother which added the human dimension to her that every other character had. James is hysterical to watch as any of the delightful side characters we saw on Parks and Rec or 30 Rock, these series clear inspiration. Few of them, of course, got Emmy love. Find some for Ava.
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
To be clear, I wouldn’t mind if there was room in this category for Aidy Bryant who, like McKinnon, also departed SNL with a grand exit. But it’s hard not to look at McKinnon’s final sketch — where once again she played Miss Harvey, the alien abductee who gets the worst possible treatment from extraterrestrials, was offered as a trade, and then broke the fourth wall to effectively say goodbye to those of who’ve loved watching her for the past decade — as the kind of moment the Emmys love to pay tribute. I will admit that McKinnon has received, in my opinion, a little too much recognition from the Emmys (I think one Supporting Actress prize would have been fine) but having spent so much time watching her play just about every major female political figure, so many great individual characters, and on a couple of occasions even herself, I’d be hard pressed to say she doesn’t deserve one last nod as she walks out the door.
Yvonne Orji, Insecure
Again, I’m relying more on institutional memory when it comes to Orji’s nomination — she was deservedly nominated for Supporting Actress for Insecure’s fourth season. But just like in Beetz’s case for Season 3 of Atlanta, it’s really hard to watch her work as Molly in the final season and not find a reason that she should get a nomination. Watching Molly finally find a relationship with a man she loved after more struggling than Issa, finding her dealing with the bad health of her mother — and her heartbreaking death in the finale — watching her finally get married, and most importantly completely assure that her relationship with Issa, her real soulmate would last forever — is the kind of work that we consider Emmy worthy for just about anyone else. Like Rae, Orji deserves one last nomination before she leaves.
Juno Temple, Ted Lasso
It’s a shame that Temple’s exceptional work at Keeley is lost due to a slightly brighter sun (as we’ll see below). Every time Waddingham picks up an award she gives a shout out to Temple. And it’s hard not to love her work. Everything about Keeley, from her relationship with Roy and how sweet she finds his sensitivity (in the dirtiest possible way) to her working through her job and friendship with Rebecca, to how she tries to build relationships throughout the club, Temple’s work is at least as good as Waddingham’s and sometimes even better. I really hope that before Ted Lasso says goodbye the Emmys are smart enough to give Temple a prize. I know that, like Keeley, she’s fine being part of a winning team.
Hannah Waddingham, Ted Lasso
Will Waddingham make it two years in a row? That seems to be the question on everyone trying to predict the Emmys this year. Waddingham has already triumphed at the SAGs and the Critics Choice, so the question is now can anyone else in this category overcome her? There are quite a few women I’ve listed who I believe can, but now is not the time to ask that question. What is clear that Waddingham has more than earned the awards and nominations she’s gotten for Season 2. Watching Rebecca trying to get her team regulated again, looking for love (often in all the wrong places) and trying to rebuild her credentials as a good person (most memorably shown in the episode where she and her godchild go to work together and she reclaims the title ‘Boss Ass Bitch) has proven that Waddingham is just as entertaining to watch when she’s the good girl as when she’s the heavy. Whatever problems people have with Ted Lasso, no one should have one with Waddingham.
FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION
Chloe Sevigny, Russian Doll
Sevigny has been one of the overlooked treasures of the new Golden Age, at least by the Emmys. Despite given the best performance in the underrated Big Love — even winning a Golden Globe in 2010 — Sevigny was never even nominated by the Emmys. She can give brilliant performances in undervalued series (as she did in the criminally underrated Bloodline on Netflix) or be the one good thing about utterly flawed show (the most patient mother imaginable in We Are Who We Are). But she receives no respect. I know this is the longest of long shots, but I’d like the Emmys to consider her for her work as Leonora, the mentally unstable mother of Nadia, in Russian Doll.
Granted a lot of what we saw of Nora was Nadia acting through her (which in itself is the kind of thing you’d think the Emmys should recognize) but watching Nora through the eyes of her daughter in hallucinations and emotional strains was often mesmerizing. And the season finale, when Nadia finally admitted to Nora that she would have changed anything, was one of the most heartfelt in the entire series. I think that Sevigny deserves some love for that.
I’m not going to advocate for other awards in this category as much as I should. That said, I will make a quiet plug for a couple of episode that I think should earn the Best Teleplay nominations: “Three Slaps” by far the best of the standalone episodes for ‘Atlanta’, ‘Starting Now’, the incredible Season finale of Barry, and ‘The Boy From 6B’ the dialogue free episode of Only Murders in the Building.
As for Guest Actor and Guest Actress, I’m well aware these categories are usually dominated by Saturday Night Live hosts. I hope they’ll find room for more than three or four of these in each category, but of the ones they choose, I hope they’ll select John Mulaney and Natasha Lyonne. As for actual Guest Actors and Actresses, I lean towards Elisabeth Perkins for her hysterical work as the absolutely dumbest producer possible in Barry, Annie Murphy for her towering work as the young Ruth is Russian Doll (though I’m not sure whether this is guest or Supporting) and Kristin Schaal as the assistant to the vampiric council in What We Do In The Shadows on the Actress side. As for Guest Actor, Fred Melamed as Gene’s towering agent and Robert Wisdom as the brilliant interrogator in Barry and Anthony Stewart Heard for his work as Rupert on Ted Lasso.
Okay. Next week I start on the Dramas, which will be far trickier than last year.