Last Year’s Winner: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep”
Still Eligible: Yes.
Hot Streak: Yes, Emmys Queen Louis-Dreyfus’ winning streak is at five years, but if she earns one more nomination, she’ll be the most nominated lead actress of all time.
Fun Fact: In the last 10 years, Louis-Dreyfus has been nominated nine times: five times for “Veep,” and four times for “The New Adventures of Old Christine.” In the last 24 years, there have only been eight Emmys ceremonies without Louis-Dreyfus as a nominee.
Listen, we get that it’s been five years; five straight years of Julia Louis-Dreyfus winning Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series; five consecutive years of moving speeches and hilarious bits. Maybe you’re ready for a change. Maybe you’re thinking it’s time to switch it up. Maybe… you’re wrong.
There’s no question Louis-Dreyfus has earned each and every one of her wins for “Veep,” and the heralded actress turned in another magnificent (and emotional) turn in Season 6. This isn’t a lifetime achievement-like honor: Her performance puts Louis-Dreyfus right up there with the rest of her competition. If she snags her sixth straight trophy, the producer-star will have the most Emmy wins for a single performer in the same role, ever. She’d also tie Cloris Leachman for the most Emmys won by a female performer (eight overall).
But she’s not the only actress vying for that honor. Both Louis-Dreyfus and Allison Janney have seven Emmys currently, so if the “Mom” star can pull an upset — after switching from the Supporting Actress category to Lead this year — she’ll be the one the tie Leachman.
Between writing, producing, and acting, Lily Tomlin also has a boatload of gold statuettes: She’s got eight total awards and far more nominations, including two prior nods to “Grace and Frankie.” Perhaps the beloved Oscar nominee will get her first Lead Actress trophy in 2017.
That is, if some of the hot “new” hands don’t sneak in and snag it. Pamela Adlon has been putting up exquisite character work for years and won an Emmy in 2002 for her voice-over performance on “King of the Hill.” She’s been nominated for Guest Actress before as well as for producing and writing “Louie,” but this is her first nomination as a Lead Actress and the first nod for “Better Things.” All that good will could benefit her chances of winning, not to mention the critical groundswell of support for a fantastic series.
After two years of graciously supporting her co-star, Tomlin, Jane Fonda got her first nomination for “Grace and Frankie” this year. She’s also won before — for “The Dollmaker” in 1984 — but she’s never been up for Lead Actress either. And last but not least, this is the second straight year both Tracee Ellis Ross and Ellie Kemper were nominated for “black-ish” and “Unbrekable Kimmy Schmidt,” respectively. Both series have die-hard fans, as do the actors themselves.
Below are IndieWire TV Critic Ben Travers’ predictions for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series, 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.
- Pamela Adlon, “Better Things”
- Jane Fonda, “Grace and Frankie”
- Allison Janney, “Mom”
- Ellie Kemper, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”
- Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep”
- Tracee Ellis Ross, “black-ish”
- Lily Tomlin, “Grace and Frankie”
Will Win: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep”
Could Win: Tracee Ellis Ross, “black-ish”
Should Win: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep”