Arguably, what could be the most competitive acting category of the Emmy season with two winning titans going up against each other for the first time, a nominee who’s about to make Emmy history, and not in a good way, and two that are about to do something that hasn’t happened in two decades.
Three of last year’s nominees are eligible to return this season: 2021 winner Jason Sudeikis (Ted Lasso), Anthony Anderson (black-ish) and Kenan Thompson (Kenan, which was just cancelled by NBC). But we could see returns from 2020 (Don Cheadle in Black Monday) and of course, 2018 and 2019 winner Bill Hader, back after three years since the last season of Barry. Going back even further is the possible return of 2017 winner Donald Glover, whose Atlanta marked its first new season since 2018.
Anthony Anderson has been nominated for all seven seasons of black-ish and is currently tied with John Goodman, Matt LeBlanc and Hal Linden as the actor with the most nominations in this category without winning. Another nomination would put him in an Emmy class all his own, but not exactly an enviable one.
It’s been 20 years since the last time two actors from the same show in this category were nominated (Matt LeBlanc and Matthew Perry for the 2002 season of Friends) and Only Murders in the Building is set to do that with Steve Martin and Martin Short heading up one of last season’s most popular freshman shows. The two went side by side with nominations at the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild and Critics’ Choice Awards and there is no sign that the pair won’t be a matching set at the Emmys as well.
Several newcomers are primed to take any number of those spots, including John Cena (Peacemaker), Rhys Darby (Our Flag Means Death) and Jake Johnson (Minx).
Here are my 2022 Emmy predictions for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series.
- Jason Sudeikis – Ted Lasso (AppleTV+)
- Bill Hader – Barry (HBO)
- Steve Martin – Only Murders in the Building (Hulu)
- Martin Short – Only Murders in the Building (Hulu)
- Donald Glover – Atlanta (FX)
- Anthony Anderson – black-ish (ABC)
Look out for: John Cena – Peacemaker (HBO Max), Don Cheadle – Black Monday (TBS), Rhys Darby – Our Flag Means Death (HBO Max), Nicholas Hoult – The Great (Hulu), Jake Johnson – Minx (HBO)
Photo: Craig Blankenhorn/Hulu