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Why Julia Louis-Dreyfus Deserves Her Fifth ‘Veep’ Emmy: IndieWire’s Emmys Endorsements (Comedy)

Dear Emmy voters: If you have any doubts over who to vote for this season, let us make the case for these fine series, performers and creators.

Master of None v Veep comedy


Comedy Series

“Master of None”
“Modern Family”
“Silicon Valley”
“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”

IndieWire’s Vote: “Veep”

It hurts us to think “Transparent” and “Master of None” may never get a turn at the table, especially this year after both delivered such stellar seasons: Jill Soloway’s follow-up far surpassed her already impressive first season, and Aziz Ansari’s Netflix debut showed just how diversity in front of and behind the camera can benefit our culture (not to mention how smart, insightful writing can still appeal to mainstream audiences). But David Mandel pulled off an equally impressive feat by matching (if not besting) “Veep” creator Armando Iannucci’s Emmy-winning prior season, stepping into massive shoes and running a six-minute mile without tripping. The best comedy, nay, the best series on TV remains the one to beat this Emmys season. All hail the queen.

READ MORE: Why the Emmys Should Crown ‘The Americans,’ Not ‘Game of Thrones’: IndieWire’s Emmy Endorsements (Drama)

Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

Lily Tomlin v Julia Louis-Dreyfus actress

Ellie Kemper, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep”
Laurie Metcalf, “Getting On”
Traces Ellis Ross, “Black-ish”
Amy Schumer, “Inside Amy Schumer”
Lily Tomlin, “Grace and Frankie”

IndieWire’s Vote: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep”

“Four more years!” “Four more years!” Julia Louis-Dreyfus has won four years in a row for her astounding portrayal of Selina Meyers on “Veep,” and, well, she deserves another term — or at least one more trophy. The incomparable talent already has five Emmys for “Veep” (four for acting and one as a producer), plus two more trophies for “The New Adventures of Old Christine” and “Seinfeld.” I know, I know: Share the wealth, right? Well, the reigning queen of TV comedy continues to find new facets of what could have easily been a one-note character. Selina keeps getting pushed to new extremes — highlighted in Season 5 a scene of conflicting emotions twisted into restrained jubilation — and Louis-Dreyfus keeps finding new ways to exhibit her character’s wide-ranging reactions. Any doubts as to whether she should win (again) should be referred to the finale, when (no spoilers) Louis-Dreyfus went largely wordless; an impressive feat in a comedy so exquisitely verbose. Until someone can top her (not that Lily Tomlin doesn’t come close), we have to keep honoring this landmark achievement. Dem’s the facts, Jack.

READ MORE: 2016 Emmy Predictions: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Thomas Middleditch v Jeffrey Tambor - lead actor

Anthony Anderson, “Black-ish”
Aziz Ansari, “Master of None”
Will Forte, “The Last Man on Earth”
William H. Macy, “Shameless”
Thomas Middleditch. “Silicon Valley”
Jeffrey Tambor, “Transparent”

IndieWire’s Vote: Jeffrey Tambor, “Transparent”

There’s a case to be made that this category should honor a strictly comic turn, making Tambor’s realistic, mostly punchline-free performance better suited for the dramatic category. If that were the case, first-time nominee Thomas Middleditch should get the boost. He’s so convincing as a anxiety-ridden computer programmer on “Silicon Valley” it’s almost shocking to realize that’s not really him. But Tambor’s past work — a diverse a portfolio as any other — provides a “been there, done that” confidence to his work in “Transparent.” He’s proven himself on more straight-forward comedies over the years, and here he’s more than capable of finding the funny in a series built on a delicate balance between deeply felt emotions and honest moments of humor. “Transparent” is as far from a sitcom as we can get in the half-hour format — and thankfully so — and one could argue that only makes Tambor’s challenges all the harder.

READ MORE: 2016 Emmy Predictions: Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series

Kate McKinnon v Anna Chlumsky - supporting actress

Niecy Nash, “Getting On”
Allison Janney, “Mom”
Kate McKinnon, “SNL”
Judith Light, “Transparent”
Gaby Hoffmann, “Transparent”
Anna Chlumsky, “Veep”

IndieWire’s Vote: Anna Chlumsky, “Veep”

How the hell did Anna Chlumsky not win this last year? Did voters lose consciousness before witnessing the magnificent fire she dropped on Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) during what has to be among the Top 10 fictional or real “I quit!” F-you’s of all time? Never mind. That’s in the past, and the future is here — almost. Amy is, perhaps, the only authentic protagonist offered in a series full of horrible people, and yet Chlumsky helps her fit right in with the creeps, fighting tooth and nail for her own needs as she steers the VP-turned-P toward what’s right (or at least better). Chlumsky expanded on that idea in Season 5, pushing forward as the series developed dynamically before landing on a surprising finale. So let’s make sure we don’t overlook Chlumsky’s fiercely specific, full-hearted character work once again.

READ MORE: 2016 Emmy Predictions: Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series

Burgess v Key - supporting actor

Louie Anderson, “Baskets”
Andre Braugher, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”
Keegan-Michael Key, “Key & Peele”
Ty Burrell, “Modern Family”
Tituss Burgess, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”
Tony Hale, “Veep”
Matt Walsh, “Veep”

IndieWire’s Vote: Keegan-Michael Key, “Key & Peele”

Between Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, Kate McKinnon and Keegan-Michael Key, a grand total of zero acting Emmys have been won. What do these fine thespians have in common, other than a bevy of unrewarded nominations? They all worked on sketch series. So often is the versatility demanded of these roles ignored in favor of actors portraying ongoing characters, it’s become a notable problem (even with the Emmys’ near-constant category shifting). So this is the year we break the cycle, and who better than the nine-time nominee, never-winner Key? Okay, okay, McKinnon would be a great choice, too, but — as we’ve explained — denying Chlumsky is no longer an option. Key deserves it, too, so let’s take a step forward for the group, together.

READ MORE: 2016 Emmy Predictions: Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

Guest Actress In a Comedy Series

Tina Fey Amy Poehler v Amy Schumer - guest actress

Christine Baranski, “The Big Bang Theory”
Tina Fey & Amy Poehler, “SNL”
Melora Hardin, “Transparent”
Melissa McCarthy, “SNL”
Laurie Metcalf, “The Big Bang Theory”
Amy Schumer, “SNL”

IndieWire’s Vote: Amy Schumer, “SNL”

When asked her opinion on the most deserving “SNL” host of the lot, IndieWire Film Editor (and official “SNL” critic) Kate Erbland responded with an emphatic, “Schumer, Schumer, Schumer!” And we don’t disagree. Though Fey & Poehler sound like an unbeatable combination (with the added bonus of Bruce Springsteen as their musical guest), Schumer’s “major energy and natural force shone through during every sketch,” earning her, in Erbland’s expert opinion, a right to join the “SNL” cast full-time. We’d love to see that, but we’ll be happy if she’s given an Emmy for her efforts.

READ MORE: Dissecting the Drama in the Acting Categories (and TCA, Week 2) — Screen Talk, Emmys Edition

Guest Actor In a Comedy Series

Martin Mull v Bradley Whitford - guest actor

Larry David, “SNL”
Tracy Morgan, “SNL”
Martin Mull, “Veep”
Bob Newhart, “The Big Bang Theory”
Peter Scolari, “Girls”
Bradley Whitford, “Transparent”

IndieWire’s Vote: Bradley Whitford, “Transparent”

There’s something instantly empathetic about Bradley Whitford’s performances on “Transparent.” In Season 1, his Marcy — the first person Jeffrey Tambor’s Maura ever befriended as her true self — wasn’t weak, afraid or even put in a position where you felt sorry for her. It was Whitford who captured her attitude, essence and struggle, all without overplaying it to either extreme. But Whitford swapped roles in Season 2 (after winning an Emmy), embodying the physician and sexologist who first advocated for transgender rights, Magnus Hirschfeld. A small role deserving of the “guest actor” title (whereas a few of these recurring spots feel more like supporting performances), Whitford again channeled something deep within himself, trusting the scripts and enlivening them at the same time, to make Magnus matter. Give him another one. He earned it.

READ MORE: ‘The Leftovers’ Delayed Until 2017: Can It Win Some Emmys Now, Please?

Directing For a Comedy Series

Veep v Master of None - directing

“Master of None” – Aziz Ansari, “Parents”
“Silicon Valley” – Mike Judge, “Founder Friendly”
“Silicon Valley” – Alec Berg, “Daily Active Users”
“Transparent” – Jill Soloway, “Man on the Land”
“Veep” – Dale Stern, “Mother”
“Veep” – Chris Addison, “Morning After”
“Veep” – David Mandel, “Kissing Your Sister”***

IndieWire’s Vote: “Master of None” – Aziz Ansari, “Parents”

This fine field of nominees eventually narrows down to David Mandel’s “Kissing Your Sister” and Aziz Ansari’s “Parents.” The former — an episode constructed to look like a character’s student documentary — gets major points for its attention to detail. There are so many easter eggs within “Veep’s” standout ninth episode, fans can watch over and over again and still find new aspects to admire. But we’ve got to give the slightest of edges to Ansari for crafting a gorgeous and deceptively daring second episode of “Masters of None.” Some of Ansari’s directorial choices are so intuitive they may go unnoticed — from the matching flashback introductions to the gorgeous pops of color within them — but they work so beautifully together to keep this ambitious episode grounded in the world Ansari already knows so well. It’s an impressive feat for any filmmaker, but more so because this was only Episode 2.

READ MORE: Why Aziz Ansari’s Dad Deserved an Emmy Nod (And Almost Got One)

Writing For a Comedy Series

Master of None v Catastrophe - Writing Emmys

“Catastrophe” – Rob Delaney & Sharon Horgan, “Episode 1”
“Master of None” – Aziz Ansari & Alan Yang, “Parents”
“Silicon Valley” – Dan O’Keefe, “Founder Friendly”
“Silicon Valley” – Alec Berg, “The Uptick”
“Veep” – David Mandel, “Morning After”
“Veep” – Alex Gregory, Peter Huyck, “Mother”

IndieWire’s Vote: “Catastrophe” – Rob Delaney & Sharon Horgan, “Episode 1”

Another stacked category, the writing nominees are all worthy competitors and a case could be made for each one of them. We haven’t backed “Silicon Valley” up to this point, which feels like a disservice to Mike Judge’s constantly tightening tech comedy (in its best season yet). But we still have to go with another series here, since Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan’s “Catastrophe” got some much-deserved love for their intimate and hilarious examination of a mistaken pregnancy, accidental relationship and legit love story. How they capture authenticity without sacrificing humor should be studied in schools, and doing so without giving into convention in premise makes the story’s construction and execution all the more admirable. Any winner would be fine here, but maybe think extra hard on “Catastrophe” before making your pick.

READ MORE: The All-Comedy-Predictions Episode — Screen Talk, Emmys Edition

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