Note: This post is the latest in an on-going series of pieces exploring the major categories at the 2015 Emmy awards. We will cover actors, actresses, and series – Comedy and Drama – through the end of the voting period on August 28. See something you like or a performance you’d like to single out? Share the posts and create some Twitter buzz! We’ll see you at the Emmys.
The Emmy nominees for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy are all over the spectrum in terms of the way these women make people laugh. There’s dark comedy (Falco), sketch humor (Schumer), and the Hollywood unthinkable: humor from women over 70 (Tomlin). Julia Louis-Dreyfus has dominated this category for the past few years, but, this year, there’s a general sense that the time has come to pass the trophy to another actress, and that actress is likely to be Amy Schumer from her sketch show Inside Amy Schumer.
Here’s a look at the episodes these actresses submitted for Emmy consideration:
Performer: Edie Falco as Jackie Peyton in Nurse Jackie
Episode: “I Say a Little Prayer” (Season 7, Episode 12)
Highlights: Jackie spends her final day at All Saints Hospital.
Why She Could Win: *Spoiler Alert* Of all the roles in this category, this one is the most dramatic. In this final episode of the series, Jackie may or may not have died from a drug overdose after seven seasons of battling addiction. The final scene leaves it open to interpretation. Falco won in 2010 in this category, so there’s definitely an affection for this character. Plus, it’s Falco’s final opportunity to win again for this role, so there’s that going for the performance, as well.
Why She Could Lose: While having the most versatile role may be an asset, it may also be a drawback. Voters may be more apt to reward a straight-up comedy consider. Plus, there’s another actress in this category whose series ended this year that’s never won an Emmy for her iconic role.
Performer: Lisa Kudrow as Valerie Cherish in The Comeback
Episode: “Valerie is Taken Seriously” (Season 2, Episode 5)
Highlights: Valerie convinces everyone she’s a legit actress and stands up for herself.
Why She Could Win: Of all the Friends, Kudrow is the most Emmy nominated with 7 nominations. She also was nominated in this category in 2006 for her role as Valerie Cherish on the first season of The Comeback. In her submitted episode, Kudrow does something tricky: She makes a cartoonish buffoon actually good at something in this case proving to herself and colleagues that she actually can act. It’s reminiscent of when Office fans learned that Michael Scott was actually good at remembering colleagues’ stories and was good at staying connected to customers.
Why She Could Lose: The Comeback was deemed a ratings dud, so voters may not be keen on rewarding a “failure.” The nomination here may be the ultimate reward. Plus, the second season finale in which Valerie wins an Emmy but spends the ceremony at her ailing friend’s side may have been a smarter Emmy submission.
Performer: Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Meyer in Veep
Episode: “Election Night” (Season 4, Episode 10)
Highlights: In the season cliffhanger, Selina is caught in a tie for the presidency.
Why She Could Win: The academy loves Louis-Dreyfus and has awarded her this category for the last three years. She’s also risen to be called a comic genius by her peers and is having the best decade of her career since Seinfeld.
Why She Could Lose: The last person who wasn’t Julia that won in this category was Melissa McCarthy, fresh off of her Bridesmaids summer blockbuster. Another newbie in this category is also coming off of a Judd Apatow blockbuster and could steal the crown. Plus, Veep was more uneven this season than its previous ones.
Performer: Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope in Parks and Recreation
Episode: “One Last Ride” (Season 7, Episode 13)
Highlights: Parks and Rec concludes with a look at how Leslie Knope has touched everyone’s lives.
Why She Could Win: Amy Poehler won the Golden Globe in 2014. Plus, she’s riding high this summer with Inside Out and Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp. It also doesn’t hurt that P&R’s finale is probably the strongest episode of the bunch in this category.
Why She Could Lose: The old adage “always the bridesmaid” applies to P&R. It typically fails to get nominations (it only has two) and wins.
Performer: Amy Schumer as Various in Inside Amy Schumer
Episode: “Cool With It” (Season 3, Episode 2)
Highlights: “The Amy Schumer Doll,” being cool going to strip clubs, and a One Direction parody
Why She Could Win: She’s everywhere right now – definitely the hottest actress in pop culture within this category. Plus, she starred in a recent high-profile Judd Apatow comedy (worked for Melissa McCarthy in 2011).
Why She Could Lose: “Cool With It” isn’t necessarily the most memorable episode of the season (the 12 Angry Men parody would be the most notable, but it’s more of an ensemble piece). If Inside Amy Schumer wins for anything, it may be in the sketch comedy category.
Performer: Lily Tomlin as Frankie Bergstein in Grace & Frankie
Episode: “The Vows” (Season 1, Episode 13)
Highlights: In the season finale, something happens between Frankie and Sol that could change people’s lives.
Why She Could Win: She’s Lily Tomlin, veteran comedienne. Out of Grace & Frankie, Tomlin has the most vulnerable performance.
Why She Could Lose: Grace & Frankie received mixed reviews. Plus, Tomlin has won Emmys before, so maybe the Television Academy is apt to award someone new.