Will someone be able to unseat three-time winner Julia Louis-Dreyfus in her hilarious role as President Selina Meyer in Veep? It’s not impossible, but it will prove to be a difficult task to achieve because Dreyfus yet again provided some of television’s best comedy in HBO’s fourth season of Veep. Her submission episode, “Election Night,” is the perfect combination of hilarity, anxiety, frustration, defeat, empowerment, and uncertainty; all emotions Dreyfus conveys in a single episode convincingly. There is a reason as to why Julia Louis-Dreyfus is the frontrunner in this category yet again; It is because she consistency allows for the character to grow each season, to which the circumstances the character encounters are legitimately new, thus offers a fresh perspective with the character. This is comedy acting at its finest, which is why Julia Louis-Dreyfus may be looking at her fourth Emmy for Veep.
Two actresses in this category who could use the sentimental angle to their advantage are Edie Falco and Amy Poehler, both of whom are nominated for shows who just concluded their final seasons. Additionally, both actresses have submitted their series finale episodes, which further caters to the sentimental vote. Critics and fans were astounded by Falco’s performance in Nurse Jackie’s final episode, “I Say a Little Prayer,” which captures her character’s desire to solidify her future while still being a victim to her drug addiction. Falco’s performance was widely talked about by critics, citing this episode as perhaps her best work on the seven-season show. However, Falco already won an Emmy for her role on Nurse Jackie, therefore the sentimental vote may be more in Amy Poehler’s favor with her work on Parks and Recreation. The series finale, “One Last Ride,” functions as a goodbye episode that serves as an homage episode for fans of the series. The episode doesn’t necessarily showcase Poehler’s comedy talent within the episode since the episode is framed more as a bittersweet farewell, which may put Poehler at a slight disadvantage. However, it cannot be denied that voters will be touched with the second half of the episode that provides glimpses into the future, showing the continued bond and successes of the characters. Amy Poehler may not necessarily have the funniest role within this solitary episode, but this episode does convey the depth of heart and soul she instilled into her character for the last seven years.
Relative newcomer in this category, Amy Schumer, shouldn’t be underestimated either despite being nominated for her lesser-known variety show, Inside Amy Schumer. Schumer has become a hot-name overnight with her recent movie, Trainwreck, which works to her benefit regarding name-recognition with voters. What she also benefits from is the format of her show, which offers voters a litany of skits that showcases her comedic talent. Schumer’s only disadvantage may be that voters may feel her performance is fragmented since it is a variety show that loosely connects its skits through social commentary. The claim can be said that if no cast member from Saturday Night Live, a vastly superior variety show than Schumer’s, has ever succeeded with having any of their actors win an Emmy, then it would be a genuine surprise if Schumer achieved that in this category.
Lily Tomlin is an Emmy favorite and her nomination over Jane Fonda undoubtedly creates speculation as to whether she could sneak in a win in this category. Grace and Frankie wasn’t a particularly profound comedy series despite its early hype and its lack of nominations verify the show’s shaky standing among voters. Yet it was Lily Tomlin who truly embodied the concept of ‘less is more’ within the show’s lackluster framework. Tomlin crafted most of the show’s comedy by embellishing on what little the script actually offered her per episode and turned it into gold. Her submission episode, “The Vows,” is an episode that Tomlin’s character is forced to realize her ex-husband, the man she has long loved, is truly is gone from her life. It is a heartbreaking episode for Tomlin, one that only she could deliver with such honesty and sadness at the same time. It is unlikely Tomlin will win when considering her competition, but if voters decide to lean towards a more subtle performance, Tomlin will benefit from that.
However, the one outlier that nobody seems to be anticipating is Lisa Kudrow and her perfect and flawless performance in HBO’s The Comeback. There’s something to be said for being able to succeed with a second season for a show that concluded back in 2005, and being able to do it again without missing a beat. This is a comedy series first for the Emmys and something Lisa Kudrow should already be proud of. Extending beyond that, Kudrow’s acting in the show’s second season maintained the original season’s perfect blend of mockumentary and awkward comedy that embodied Kudrow’s ‘Valerie Cherish.’ Her submission episode, “Valerie is Taken Seriously,” showcases Valerie’s continued failed attempts to ‘perfect’ the projects she is invested in, only to have to endure yet another scenario of damage control when she misinterprets what is said to her. It is a fantastic episode for Kudrow that further captures her character’s desperation to be noticed and be relevant in an unforgiving industry. What hurts Kudrow’s chances is The Comeback being such a small show, also that it is a show that has been revived after a long nine-year hiatus. The show doesn’t have the same level of clout as Veep or Parks and Recreation has, which puts Kudrow at a definite disadvantage despite being the most worthy of the win in this category. Yet Lisa Kudrow does have clout that comes from her name and that could potentially aid her.
Edie Falco – Nurse Jackie
Lisa Kudrow – The Comeback
Julia Louis-Dreyfus – Veep
Amy Poehler – Parks and Recreation
Amy Schumer – Inside Amy Schumer
Lily Tomlin – Grace and Frankie
Will Win: Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Could Win: Amy Poehler
Should Win: Lisa Kudrow
Could Upset: Amy Schumer