Last Year’s Winner: Alex Borstein, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
Still Eligible: Yes.
Hot Streak: Repeat winners have been a bit of a trend over the past decade. Prior to Alex Borstein’s win in 2018, Kate McKinnon won for “SNL” in 2016 and 2017. Before that, Allison Janney took home the Emmy for “Mom” in 2014 and 2015 (before switching to the lead category in subsequent seasons). Julie Bowen also won in back-to-back years for “Modern Family” from 2011 to 2012. You have to go back to 2001 – 2003 to get to the next repeat winner — Doris Roberts for “Everybody Loves Raymond,” who won three years in a row — which indicates the trend could be in mid-swing or coming to a close. We’ll find out more when 2019 crowns its champion.
Fun Fact: Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy is one of the few categories still dominated by broadcast networks. Since 2000, only three actors have won the category representing premium cable or streaming series: Borstein in Amazon’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” Merritt Wever in Showtime’s “Nurse Jackie” (2013), and Cynthia Nixon in HBO’s “Sex and the City” (2004).
Notable Ineligible Series: Zazie Beetz, “Atlanta”; Judith Light and Kathryn Hahn, “Transparent”
At the bottom of this page are IndieWire TV Critic Ben Travers’ predictions for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (listed in alphabetical order). This article will be updated throughout the season, so make sure to keep checking IndieWire for all the latest buzz from the 2019 race, and read predictions in the rest of the categories, as well. The Creative Arts Emmy Awards will be given out Saturday, September 14 and Sunday, September 15. The 71st Annual Primetime Emmy Awards will take place at the Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles, CA on Sunday, September 22. Fox is broadcasting the ceremony.
The State of the Race
To give you an idea how competitive this category has been, let me remind you there were eight nominees last year — there are only supposed to be six — and that’s the second time it’s happened in the last four years. The good news is there’s been regular turnover in at least a few slots, including actors from new and returning series. So it’s anyone’s game… even if the game is fierce.
Let’s start with the 2018 winner, Alex Borstein. The “Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” favorite is back for another round and shouldn’t have lost any momentum. Sure, the TV Academy’s long-time comedy favorite “Veep” is back, and Borstein didn’t have to go up against Anna Chlumsky in her first year of eligibility, but Chlumsky is also zero for five in the category. It could (and should) be her year, given it’s the last round for “Veep”, but there’s also Olivia Colman to think about. The recent Oscar winner didn’t break-in for “Fleabag” Season 1, but her publicity boost from “The Favourite” — as well as creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s surge from “Killing Eve” — could elevate the former “Night Manager” nominee. (Plus, you know, she’s that good in the Amazon comedy.)
Lest we forget, there are a slew of 2018 nominees ready to get back in the race: Aidy Bryant is another actress to only gain popularity since last year, thanks to her rave reviews for “Shrill,” but she could be a dual nominee with “SNL.” Kate McKinnon is hoping to join her, as a two-time winner, and Leslie Jones has her fingers crossed the voters still make room for three “SNL” nods. Betty Gilpin was pushed to even deeper emotional extremes in “GLOW” Season 2, while Megan Mullally is hoping the TV Academy hasn’t lost any love for the “Will & Grace” revival. Finally, Laurie Metcalf may not have “Roseanne” anymore, but she does have “The Conners”!
So who’s waiting in the wings, hoping to fly to the top circle in 2019? Marin Hinkle hopes her expanded role in “Mrs. Maisel” gets her elevated alongside Borstein, and D’Arcy Carden should be making sure NBC mails out Episode 9, “Janet(s),” where she (expertly) plays almost every character on “The Good Place” — plus her own! Post-cancellation, Rita Moreno needs the “One Day at a Time” love to manifest in Emmys, while Rosie O’Donnell will need a groundswell of support for her cancelled Showtime series, “SMILF.” Kether Donohue (“You’re the Worst”), Molly Shannon (“The Other Two”), and Catherine Keener (“Kidding”) just need eyeballs on their respective series to ensure a few votes are tossed their way, while former nominees Mayim Bialik (“The Big Bang Theory”) and Jane Krakowski (“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”) will require a bit of nostalgia for their outgoing originals (that have lost the Emmy sheen in recent years).
But wait, there’s more! Sarah Goldberg could ride the “Barry” train to her first nod, Sara Gilbert could be a beneficiary of any love for “The Conners” (though shouldn’t she be in the lead category?), and if the TV Academy takes to “Russian Doll” at all, don’t be surprised to see Elizabeth Ashley swoop in for her second nod (first since 1991). The same goes for “Shrill” scene-stealer Lolly Adefope, while Natasia Demetriou could sneak into the running if “What We Do in the Shadows” takes off.
- Alex Borstein, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
- Aidy Bryant, “SNL”
- Anna Chlumsky, “Veep”
- Betty Gilpin, “GLOW”
- Marin Hinkle, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
- Kate McKinnon, “SNL”
Spoilers: Olivia Colman, “Fleabag”; D’Arcy Carden, “The Good Place”; Sarah Goldberg, “Barry”
In a Perfect World: Rita Moreno, “One Day at a Time”; Catherine Keener, “Kidding”; Molly Shannon, “The Other Two”; Kether Donohue, “You’re the Worst”