Yesterday, the dramatic supporting actresses took the spotlight in our analysis. It’s now time for their comedic counterparts to shine as we tackle the Emmy for Comedy Supporting Actress. We’re bound to get a new winner this year since current champ Merritt Wever of Nurse Jackie was snubbed for a nomination (alongside Sofia Vergara of Modern Family).
Let’s begin with three time nominee Mayim Bialik. Solidifying her case as THE supporting actress from The Big Bang Theory, Bialik submits The Indecision Amalgamation in which her Amy plays total support to boyfriend Sheldon as he decides which gadget he’ll buy. As opposed to her previous submissions, Bialik doesn’t have a “scene” this year which is probably good for her chances as most pundits usually overrate those and her chances in general. In this episode though, she shares a dinner scene with Parsons where she plays over the top and that can probably get her some votes. She’s also coming fresh from a solo SAG nod and while that did not help Vanessa Williams or Sofia Vergara before, it indicates somewhat of a support for her.
The only previous winner in this category, 2x champ Julie Bowen firmly maintains her hold as one of the three remaining Modern Family cast to be nominated. This year, she has the opportunity to be the third person in history to have 3 Emmys in this category. Her submission, “The Feud“, is probably her weakest though. In it, she discovered that she got lice from her niece Lily, and she deals with its effect while closing a transaction with a developer. While it highlights Bowen’s strength in physical comedy, I don’t think it was able to maximize her acting skills at all. That said, far more surprising things have happened before, so I don’t think she’s necessarily out now.
Now on her second consecutive nomination, Veep‘s Anna Chlumsky submitted Detroit for this year. Opposite to her submissions last year where she plays in total control freak mode, Chlumsky is more subdued in this episode as she was relegated to the funny one liners. This ended with a confession from Selina to her character Amy and one that also touched her physical comedy with her massage scene at the end of the episode. Chlumsky’s weak spot is that Veep has perfected its use of its ensemble that a character like hers really find it hard to totally stand out. But at leas we see some range here and some “clip” material in her episode.
Gunning for a possible 2/2 this year, Allison Janney shows a different dynamic devoid of her subtle acting in Masters of Sex with her nomination for Mom. Playing the hip mother Bonnie, she submitted the episode Estrogen and a Heart Breakfast which dealt with her menopause. Ding ding ding! We have a winner. More often than not, this is an Emmy winning storyline that has given wins to many actresses before. In her episode, Janney was funny, riotous, dynamic, and just goes on a lot of range that is very different from her only Emmy winning role. It’s also a category that loves big flashy characters such as hers so it makes her case stronger. Her main con though is that Mom isn’t necessarily a well received show by the Emmys, and she’s competing with five other actresses who all belong to Series nominated shows.
Following the footsteps of Amy Poehler, Kristin Wiig, and Bill Hader, Kate McKinnon became the fourth cast member of Saturday Night Live to be nominated in the supporting category. While I didn’t think that Emmy would recognize her quickly, winning is an altogether different thing. In her episode hosted by Anna Kendrick, McKinnon actually appeared in a lot of sketches starting with the cold open and a slot with Colin Jost in the Weekend Update. In between, she also sang in the Dongs All Over the World, and this is a good submission per se. However, I’ll probably start to predict an SNL regular for a win once somebody starts to win. I still think they stick out like a sore thumb in the midst of all these other shows and that doesn’t work well in their favor.
And to complete it, we have veteran actress Kate Mulgrew receiving her first Emmy nod for Orange is the New Black. She submitted the episode Tit Punch in which the flashback focused on her character Red, and how she ended up in prison. While it mostly is dramatic, her range was undeniably present in this episode as we watch her character switch back and forth to flashback and present time. It’s also a complete arc for her character, and it doesn’t hurt that she’s in the most nominated comedy this year.
There’s a strong case to make for both Allison Janney and Kate Mulgrew here. It really depends on what the assigned panel will like since both make sense as the likely winner here. Mulgrew is the veteran who is in the more loved show and has the longest screentime among all nominees here. Janney, on the other hand, comes back with a bang and I’m really not buying the spread the wealth thing between her two nods since thoe are two separate panels voting in here and in Drama Guest Actress and the chance of a person voting into both is slim to none. After all, the last person who won two acting Emmys the same year is Janney’s West Wing co-star Stockard Channing a dozen years ago. In the end, I guess I’ll go with Janney here. At times, the writing is already on the wall and that Emmys will just go with it (think of Maggie Smith in 2012 as for starters). Mulgrew is a close second though. The other four are really interchangeable it doesn’t even matter anymore…unless we get a Merritt Wever win again.
Prediction: Allison Janney, “Mom“
Alternate: Kate Mulgrew, “Orange is the New Black“
01. Allison Janney, “Mom“
02. Kate Mulgrew, “Orange is the New Black“
03. Anna Chlumsky, “Veep“
04. Julie Bowen, “Modern Family“
05. Mayim Bialik, “The Big Bang Theory“
06. Kate McKinnon, “Saturday Night Live“
Check my other 2014 Emmy prediction analysis here.
For more Emmy talk, you can also follow me on Twitter: @nikowl