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2019 Emmys: Who will make the ultra-competitive Best Comedy Actress lineup?

Only two actresses matter and both are returning champions—last year’s winner Rachel Brosnahan (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) and six-time winner Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep) returning to her signature role after beating breast cancer. But the Television Academy will insist on there being six nominees.

Brosnahan bested last year: Pamela Adlon (Better Things); Allison Janney (Mom); Issa Rae (Insecure); Tracee Ellis Ross (black-ish) and Lily Tomlin (Grace and Frankie). Typically, once you’re in you’re in but none of the returnees except Brosnahan are safe.

Let’s see if we can figure out who the other four nominees will be.

The Returnees

  • Pamela Adlon, Better Things
  • Allison Janney, Mom
  • Issa Rae, Insecure
  • Tracee Ellis Ross, black-ish
  • Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie

Adlon has received two consecutive nominations but in one of the most competitive categories of the year it might be hard to stay in the lineup. With six wins in four different categories, Janney is an Emmy favorite but her nod last year could’ve been due to residual goodwill after her Oscar win (I, Tonya). Ross, is definitely on the bubble as Black-ish is unlikely to keep its spot in the Best Comedy Series lineup. Tomlin, is a living legend and has received four consecutive Emmy nominations and three SAG Award nominations for Grace and Frankie it would be unwise to discount the comedy legend’s chances. And here’s hoping Rae wasn’t just keeping JLD’s spot warm for her. With a successful feature film released last weekend (Little), Rae will stay top of voters’ minds.

The Other Awards Contenders

  • Alison Brie, GLOW
  • Jane Fonda, Grace and Frankie
  • Kristen Bell, The Good Place

Bell scored a Golden Globe nomination earlier in the year. Bell’s co-star, Ted Danson scoring a Lead Actor in a Comedy Series nomination at last year’s Emmys. The Good Place could be on their way up and if this is the case look for tv veteran Bell to score her first Emmy nomination. Fonda once again made the SAG Award lineup for the third year in a row but has only receive an Emmy nomination once back in 2017. Brie is hoping her Emmy history doesn’t repeat itself; she was being snubbed last year after receiving Golden Globe and SAG Award nominations.

The Revivalists

  • Candice Bergen, Murphy Brown GG
  • Debra Messing, Will & Grace GG

Bergen is a past five-time Emmy winner for Murphy Brownand Messing also has an Emmy for Will & Grace but the television academy doesn’t seem to love revivals of their past favorites. It’s possible that both will be left on the sidelines giving first run shows and their stars a chance.

Streaming for an Emmy Nomination

  • Natasha Lyonne, Russian Doll
  • Aidy Bryant, Shrill
  • Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag
  • Ellie Kemper, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Waller-Bridge and her creation Amazon’s Fleabag did not receive any love for the first season but this was before she scored a Best Drama Series Writing (Killing Eve) nomination last year. Now that Waller-Bridge is on the television academy’s radar it could improve her chances of a nomination on the Comedy side however its far more likely in the writing category. Speaking of being on the Emmys radar, Bryant scored a surprise nomination for Best Supporting Actress for Saturday Night Live now with a starring role in the Hulu series she created Shrill, she could once again sneak into another lineup. Then there’s the ladies of Netflix; Kemper was snubbed last year and the finale of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt seemed to come and go with little fanfare. And Lyonne’s the new critical darling (and also a previous Emmy nominee) with her Groundhogs Day like comedy Russian Doll—but it’s not for everyone and could prove to be too weird for the television academy’s taste.

A Parting Nomination

  • Rachel Bloom, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
  • Justina Machado, One Day at a Time
  • Gina Rodriguez, Jane the Virgin

None of the trio above have received an Emmy nomination during their series respective runs—but absence does sometimes make the Television Academy’s heart fonder. For both Bloom and Rodriguez should either receive a nomination it would be the first for the CW network.

The Cult Favorite

Catherine O’Hara, Schitt’s Creek

O’Hara is a definite wildcard thanks to the new cult status of Schitt’s Creek. With the first five seasons now available on Netflix, a whole new audience has discovered this once hidden gem of a comedy series. And if this is the case look out for the show’s standout—O’Hara to get the attention she definitely deserves.

My Preliminary Predictions

  • Pamela Adlon, Better Things
  • Kristen Bell, The Good Place
  • Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
  • Julia Louis Dreyfus, Veep
  • Natasha Lyonne, Russian Doll
  • Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie

About Amanda Spears

Film and television fanatic. Awards expert. Proud founder of #PresentAll24. Freelance entertainment writer. Part time podcast guest. All time dog-mom.

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