Given there are eight nominees instead of the standard six, it would seem this is the most competitive acting category this year. Yet despite the wide array of nominees, this category may not be as competitive as one may think.
Neicy Nash’s nomination undoubtedly was her award this year given the below-the-radar attention her show, Getting On, has gotten. Jane Krakowski is fortunate to have gotten a nomination for Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, especially given the level of snubs the show received (most notably Ellie Kemper’s snub in the Lead Actress category). It seems likely Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt will be recognized in the supporting actor category, leaving Krakowski grateful she even got nominated at all. Kate McKinnon managed to grab a second nomination for the variety show, Saturday Night Live, which puts her in a great position to pull off an upset if voters decide to shock pundits and viewers. This could potentially happen in an effort to finally break the SNL curse of never having a main cast member win the award. Awarding Kate McKinnon would also be an award to all of SNL, former and current cast. However it is more likely that the Emmys will maintain its typical trend, which means McKinnon’s nomination will also her award. Lastly Mayim Bialik’s nomination is much in line with Jane Krakowski’s, in which she ought to be grateful her nomination even occurred due to The Big Bang Theory’s overall snub this year.
That leaves the remaining four nominees, all of whom are the real competition in this category. Many are downplaying Gaby Hoffmann’s surprise nomination for Transparent, but it may be a mistake to underestimate her chances. Hoffmann beat out co-star Judith Light for the nomination, a seemingly “guaranteed” nominee in this category, and that shouldn’t be overlooked. Her submission episode, “Rollin,” is perfection considering her character is completely drug-addled for nearly the entirety of the episode. However, Hoffmann’s acting in such sequences weren’t typical drug induced cliches, but rather a beautiful mystification that was achieved through her acting. Julie Bowen is the heavy contender in this category, having won twice for her role in Modern Family. Bowen shouldn’t be ignored since her submission episode gives her the capacity to sneak in a win with voters. Her choice of submitting “Valentine’s Day 4: Twisted Sister” is genius considering Bowen will be proving to voters that she can continue to bring life into repetitious in-jokes with the series (role-playing with her husband on Valentine’s Day), while also maintaining comedy in a holiday episode, which is difficult for veteran shows, let alone actors, to achieve.
Looking closer into this category, it appears that the heart of the competition is Allison Janney versus Anna Chlumsky. Between the two, Janney is the frontrunner due to her being last year’s winner in this category. Janney’s submission episode, “Dropped Soap and a Big Guy on a Throne,” gave her an opportunity to achieve both physical and situational comedy in the same episode, both of which she effectively does. Janney also is a favorite with Emmy voters, having already won six Emmys in her career (two of them being from last year), which gives her a name recognition advantage as well. However, Anna Chlumsky has a very good chance this year of finally pulling off a win with her performance in the fourth season of Veep, especially if voters decide to award the show the Comedy Series win. Chlumsky’s nomination is her third with Veep, which tells voters she has maintained consistency with the show’s fast pace, which may have some voters feel that she has earned her due for the award, However the main reason Chlumsky should have the win in this category is because her season work, let alone her submission episode, “Convention,” was absolute gold in Veep’s fourth season. In her submission episode, Chlumsky’s character experiences one of the greatest comedic breakdowns any show has ever attempted. Chlumsky’s acting in this moment was a combination of comedy, frustration, anger, and profound sadness all at the same time. It was acting perfection from Anna Chlumsky and she deserves the win for that scene alone.
Mayim Bialik – The Big Bang Theory
Julie Bowen – Modern Family
Anna Chlumsky – Veep
Gaby Hoffmann – Transparent
Allison Janney – Mom
Jane Krakowski – Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Kate McKinnon – Saturday Night Live
Niecy Nash – Getting On
Will Win: Anna Chlumsky
Could Win: Allison Janney
Should Win: Anna Chlumsky
Could Upset: Julie Bowen