Like the Emmy drama categories, the comedy field may well be dominated by an HBO show in the final season of a run that has already garnered lots of awards. While “Game of Thrones” is that show in drama, “Veep” is it in comedy. The series’ last three seasons have all won the Outstanding Drama Series prize, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus has won the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series award the last six years she’s been eligible.
But “Veep” and Louis-Dreyfus are not the defending champions in their categories, because her breast-cancer treatment delayed production and took the show out of the running last year. In its absence, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and its star, Rachel Brosnahan, took those awards. So the last two winners will duke it out for nominations, along with five-time champ “Modern Family” and the final season of four-time nominee “The Big Bang Theory.”
OUTSTANDING COMEDY SERIES
Emmy voters are creatures of habit, and there’s no way they won’t give nods to the last two winners in this category, “Veep” (2015-2017) and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (2018). On the other hand, they’ll likely ignore “Modern Family,” which won in 2010 through 2014 but missed out on a nomination for the first time last year.
Two 2018 nominees, “Atlanta” and “Silicon Valley,” aren’t eligible this year, and a third, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” seems vulnerable. Last year’s nominee “Barry” will definitely be back, and “GLOW” and “black-ish” probably will as well. They’ll all face stiff competition, though, from “The Good Place,” and from newer shows “The Kominsky Method,” “Russian Doll,” “Dead to Me” and especially “Fleabag.”
“Fleabag” has more cool-kid cred than any other comedy series at the moment but may not be as much of a slam dunk with the 20,000-plus Television Academy voters.
And what of “The Big Bang Theory,” one of the most commercially successful sitcoms of recent decades, which ended its run this year? Its 46 overall nominations include four consecutive Outstanding Comedy Series noms, and the urge to give it a sentimental sendoff might influence a few Emmy voters. But its last series nomination was back in 2014, and sentiment can only go so far. (Besides, “Big Bang” creator Chuck Lorre will likely get a nomination for his new show, “The Kominsky Method.”)
Predicted nominees (listed in order of likelihood): “Veep,” “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “Barry,” “Fleabag,” “The Kominsky Method,” “GLOW,” “black-ish”
But watch out for: “The Good Place,” “Russian Doll,” “Better Things,” “Schitt’s Creek,” “Grace and Frankie”
OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
The last two winners – or, to be more accurate, the woman who won last year and the one who won the six straight years before that – will be back in the persons of Rachel Brosnahan from “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and Julia Louis-Dreyfus from “Veep.” And with all of last year’s nominees eligible again — that would be Brosnahan, Pamela Adlon from “Better Things,” Allison Janney from “Mom,” Issa Rae from “Insecure,” Tracee Ellis Ross from “black-ish” and Lily Tomlin from “Grace and Frankie” — the question will be who gets pushed out to make room for the returning Louis-Dreyfus, and whether newcomers like Phoebe Waller-Bridge (“Fleabag”), Natasha Lyonne (“Russian Doll”) and Christina Applegate (“Dead to Me”) can muscle their way into a crowded category.
We think Waller-Bridge and Lyonne have too much heat to ignore, which should lead to an unexpectedly large turnover for an Emmy category.
But it probably won’t be a large enough turnover, sadly, to make room for four actresses whose shows have now ended, and who never managed to crack the list of nominees in this category: Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson for “Broad City,” Frankie Shaw for “SMILF” and Rachel Bloom for “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”
Predicted nominees: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep”; Rachel Brosnahan, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”; Phoebe Waller-Bridge, “Fleabag”; Natasha Lyonne, “Russian Doll”; Allison Janney, “Mom”; Pamela Adlon, “Better Things”
But watch out for: Christina Applegate, “Dead to Me”; Lily Tomlin, “Grace and Frankie”; Issa Rae, “Insecure”; Alison Brie, “GLOW”; Tracee Ellis Ross, “black-ish”
OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Two of last year’s nominees, Larry David (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”) and Donald Glover (“Atlanta”), aren’t eligible this year; a third, William H. Macy, may take a small hit from the college-admissions scandal that ensnared his wife, Felicity Huffman. That should make room for “The Kominsky Method” star Michael Douglas and maybe for Jim Carrey (“Kidding”) and Ramy Youssef (“Ramy”).
Three of the 2018 nominees, though, will certainly be back: Bill Hader from “Barry,” who won, as well as Ted Danson from “The Good Place” and Anthony Anderson from “black-ish.” (Though if voters want to give two-time winner Jim Parsons a nice parting gift as “The Big Bang Theory” ends its run, he could supplant Anderson.) Don Cheadle is also a threat for “Black Monday,” as is Ricky Gervais for “After Life” and Eugene Levy for “Schitt’s Creek.”
Predicted nominees: Bill Hader, “Barry”; Michael Douglas, “The Kominsky Method”; Ted Danson, “The Good Place”; Anthony Anderson, “black-ish”; Jim Carrey, “Kidding”; Don Cheadle, “Black Monday”
But watch out for: Jim Parsons, “The Big Bang Theory”; William H. Macy, “Shameless”; Ramy Youssef, “Ramy”; Ricky Gervais, “After Life”; Sacha Baron Cohen, “Who is America?”
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
Last year’s supporting-actress category was super-sized from six to seven nominees, as the Emmy rules dictate with some regularity, and six of the seven are back competing this year: Alex Borstein from “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (the 2018 winner), Kate McKinnon from “Saturday Night Live” (the 2016 and 2017 winner), Betty Gilpin from “GLOW,” Laurie Metcalf from “Roseanne” (which has now morphed into “The Connors”), Aidy Bryant and Leslie Jones from “Saturday Night Live” and Megan Mullally from “Will and Grace.”
They will definitely not all be back, because five-time nominee Anna Chlumsky is returning from the one-year “Veep” hiatus; because Marin Hinkle, Sarah Goldberg and D’Arcy Carden have strong storylines in “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “Barry” and “The Good Place,” respectively; and because the unstoppable Olivia Colman is coming off an Oscar win with a delicious performance in “Fleabag.”
Predicted nominees: Alex Borstein, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”; Kate McKinnon, “Saturday Night Live”; Anna Chlumsky, “Veep”; Betty Gilpin, “GLOW”; Marin Hinkle, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”; Olivia Colman, “Fleabag”
But watch out for: Sarah Goldberg, “Barry”; D’Arcy Carden, “The Good Place”; Rita Moreno, “One Day at a Time”; Laurie Metcalf, “The Conners”; Aidy Bryant, “Saturday Night Live”
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
You could fill this category with nothing but actors from “Veep” and “Barry” and still not have room to fit all the deserving ones. That won’t happen, but Henry Winkler is the defending champ for “Barry,” and Tony Hale has received five nominations and won twice. Both of them will be back. We’re guessing that each show will furnish one additional nominee, though it’s hard to choose between Stephen Root and the scene-stealing Anthony Carrigan from “Barry” and between Matt Walsh, Timothy Simons (who maybe had the best storyline) and Reid Scott from “Veep.”
Other actors looking to be nominated include Alan Arkin from “The Kominsky Method,” William Jackson Harper from “The Good Place,” Andrew Scott from “Fleabag” and four of last year’s nominees: Tony Shalhoub from “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” Titus Burgess from “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” and Kenan Thompson and Alec Baldwin from “Saturday Night Live.” Voters love nine-time nominee and three-time winner Shalhoub and will likely find Arkin irresistible, but Baldwin’s clear reluctance to continue playing Donald Trump on “SNL” may hurt his chances of landing a third consecutive nomination for the role.
Predicted nominees: Henry Winkler, “Barry”; Tony Hale, “Veep”; Alan Arkin, “The Kominsky Method”; Tony Shalhoub, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”; Anthony Carrigan, “Barry”; Timothy Simons, “Veep”
But watch out for: Matt Walsh, “Veep”; Kenan Thompson, “Saturday Night Live”; Alec Baldwin, “Saturday Night Live”; William Jackson Harper, “The Good Place”; Tituss Burgess, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”