The Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series category is looking to be one of the most competitive of the year. With a strong reigning champ, a bunch full of previous winners and a slate of newcomers and potential first-time nominees, this is a race to watch. With Veep out of eligibility this season, there are open spots that have been closed off for the last few years. So let’s dive in.
The Returning Champ
Alec Baldwin was in less than half of Saturday Night Live‘s 2017-2018 season but is being submitted in supporting where he won last year. Baldwin is one of Emmys favorite sons, having amassed 18 nominations and three wins (the latter all in this category) over the last 20 years. Although his own interest in playing Donald Trump has been waning (he’ll be in even fewer episodes next season) he stands as one of this category’s most formidable contenders.
You could have the entire category populated just by previous winners in this category, for this year. In addition Baldwin there’s 2016 winner Louie Anderson (Baskets), Tony Shalhoub (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel), Sean Hayes (the reboot of Will & Grace), Ty Burrell (Modern Family) and Tony Hale (Arrested Development).
Moving backwards, Hale is a huge question mark here. He’s a two-time winner in this category for Veep (and has been nominated for every eligible season except the first) but never for Arrested Development in its first incarnation in the early to mid 2000s. Name-checking happens a lot with Emmy voters and it could happen here with Hale. I suspect the blowback from that horrible New York Times interview will include him the fallout but I’m not counting him out just yet.
Ty Burrell is the last man standing for Modern Family. He’s a two-time winner and has been nominated for every season of the show. With so many new contenders and previous winners returning this year, plus Modern Family continuing to disappear from the Emmys radar, this is probably the year Burrell is dropped. But, we’ve said that before.
Sean Hayes won this category for Will & Grace on his first nomination in 2000, back when the show originally aired. He was nominated for the next six seasons in a row after that. Always the sidekick standout, Hayes had an exemplary comedic year on the show and should easily return to the Emmy fold.
Tony Shalhoub is a three-time winner and eight-time Emmy nominee (all for Monk) and a major force to be reckoned with. I’m predicting The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel to be an Emmy juggernaut and there’s no way he’s not going to be a part of it. He’ll be a major threat to win.
Louie Anderson should be returning for a third nomination in a row for Baskets, after winning on his first. Unless there’s some pushback for him being a man playing a woman, in a new era of heightened sensibility for visibility and opportunity in Hollywood, he should be in.
First Time Frontrunners
Marc Maron (GLOW) has had his TV show (Maron) and hosts one of the most popular podcasts (WTF with Marc Maron) around. But he’s an absolute newcomer when it comes to awards, especially the Emmys. He earned nominations from the Broadcast Television Journalists and the Screen Actors Guild – both as an individual performer and as part of the ensemble of his show. A nomination is not in question, he’s a lock here, he’s competing for a win.
Brian Tyree Henry was the breakout of season two of Atlanta and already has an Emmy nomination; he was nodded for his guest turn on This Is Us last year. This would be his first in this category. He competes directly with co-star Lakeith Stanfield but Henry has the edge here.
How Deep is the Valley
The supporting guys from Silicon Valley have never gotten their due here. While the show’s lead, Thomas Middleditch, has been nominated (albeit only once) the wealth of comedy gold from Kumail Nanjiani, Zach Woods, Martin Starr and Matt Ross has gone completely unrewarded by the Emmys. Like Veep, this is a show with a deep bench of contenders. With it gone, can one of them (or more) finally get in? Woods had the better material last season but Nanjiani, with his Oscar nomination earlier in the year, has the higher profile. One of them could make it.
But then there’s…
Henry Winkler in Barry. Bill Hader is assured a nomination in Lead but the six-time-nominated Winkler, a television icon and legend, could score his very first nomination in this category.
Here’s how I see the Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series race right now.
|1. Marc Maron, GLOW (Netflix)|
|2. Tony Shalhoub, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon)|
|3. Alec Baldwin, Saturday Night Live (NBC)|
|4. Brian Tyree Henry, Atlanta (FX)|
|5. Louie Anderson, Baskets (FX)|
|6. Sean Hayes, Will & Grace (NBC)|
|Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)|
|Ty Burrell, Modern Family (ABC)|
|Tony Hale, Arrested Development (Netflix)|
|Kumail Nanjiani, Silicon Valley (HBO)|
|Lakeith Stanfield, Atlanta (FX)|
|Henry Winkler, Barry (HBO)|
|Zach Woods, Silicon Valley (HBO)|