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Emmy Predictions 2017: Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

Updated July 19: "SNL" dominates the field and has a returning champion in its corner, but this category is stacked with heavyweights.

Kate McKinnon as Hillary Clinton on SNL

NBC

Last Year’s Winner: Kate McKinnon, “SNL”
Still Eligible: Yes.
Hot Streak: Though broadcast series have been struggling overall at the Emmys, the Big Four have won 11 of the last 12 trophies in this category (ABC: 4, CBS: 3, Fox: 1, NBC: 3)
Fun Fact: Kristin Wiig and Amy Poehler had been nominated in this category, but Kate McKinnon is the only “SNL” player to win as a Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. (Gilda Radnor won in 1978 when “Saturday Night Live” was considered a variety show.)

Hot damn, “SNL.” Kate McKinnon won last year for “SNL,” but this year she’s joined by two of her castmates, Leslie Jones and Vanessa Bayer. Together, they make up half the field. Two of the other three nominees are from “Transparent” — Kathryn Hahn and Judith Light — while Anna Chlumsky represents the HBO awards darling, “Veep.”

So what does it all mean for the race? “SNL” is interesting. McKinnon is the defending champion here, so history is working in her favor. Academy members like voting for familiar faces, but the supporting categories are usually a bit more inconsistent when it comes to repeat winners. Allison Janney won twice in a row for “Mom,” and Julie Bowen took home back-to-back trophies for “Modern Family,” but those are exceptions to the rule. Is McKinnon as dominant a force as Janney and is “SNL” as hot as “Modern Family” circa 2012?

The case could certainly be made for the latter point, but then vote splitting becomes a factor. Will TV Academy members want to spread the love to the rest of the talented ensemble nominated here? If so, that could cost them all and benefit a solo representative like Chlumsky (who is long overdue for a win).

What’s interesting about “Transparent” is how Gaby Hoffman, who was nominated for both prior seasons, got turned away this year. Light was up last year, but this is Hahn’s first nomination. Voters may have seen her work in “I Love Dick” and got behind her for “Transparent,” even though her role was diminished in Season 3 compared to Season 2. But who between those two has the edge is a bit hard to determine: the returning nominee or the newbie with two great performances in one year?

Below are IndieWire TV Critic Ben Travers’ predictions for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (in alphabetical order), which will be updated throughout the awards season. Make sure to keep checking IndieWire for all the latest buzz and highlights from the 2017 race, and read the rest of the predictions in all categories, as well.

Predicted Nominees:

  1. Vanessa Bayer, “SNL”
  2. Anna Chlumsky, “Veep”
  3. Kathryn Hahn, “Transparent”
  4. Leslie Jones, “SNL”
  5. Judith Light, “Transparent”
  6. Kate McKinnon, “SNL”

Will Win: Anna Chlumsky, “Veep”
Could Win: Kate McKinnon, “SNL”
Should Win: Kathryn Hahn, “Transparent”

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