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Emmy Predictions 2019: Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

Amazon represents half the nominees, but whether or not they can win is a tricky question to answer. [Updated September 16]

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 2 Alex Borstein

Alex Borstein in “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”

Nicole Rivelli / Amazon

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. 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

So far this decade, the Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy race is filled with back-to-back winners. “SNL’s” Kate McKinnon took home the trophy in 2016 and 2017. Allison Janney snagged consecutive wins for “Mom” in the years prior (2014 and 2015), while Julie Bowen nabbed two Emmys of her own for “Modern Family” in 2011 and 2012. This trend bodes well for last year’s victor, Alex Borstein, who’s looking for her second straight win in “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” Still, the pattern has to break sometime, and another year featuring one extra nominee could offer just the batch to do it.

First off, there’s Anna Chlumsky, who’s been nominated six times for “Veep” alone and has yet to win. She got to go through a full transformation in the final year (shifting from a logical, frustrated campaign manager to full-on Kellyanne Conway), and voters may finally be ready to reward her for an impressive run on HBO’s oft-honored gem. Of course, the buzzier pick also comes from HBO, as Sarah Goldberg nabbed her first nomination for “Barry” Season 2 after a surge of support for the show and her performance. If Bill Hader’s sophomore season makes a run, Goldberg could be a part of it.

But Amazon has valid contenders outside of the defending champ. Olivia Colman and Sian Clifford are out in front for “Fleabag,” snagging two nods for a series that far exceeded expectations on nominations’ day. Colman is fresh off an Oscar win, which never hurts when it comes to collecting more trophies, while Clifford gets more screen time, more development, and more consequential scenes — either one could make a move for the trophy with the right push. And yet “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” has another option, too. Marin Hinkle broke into the race for Season 2, and while she may face long odds (as the also-ran next to Borstein), there’s certainly support for the actress and her show.

That leaves Kate McKinnon (“SNL”) and Betty Gilpin (“GLOW”). McKinnon, as mentioned above, is a past winner, and a return trip to the winners circle seems difficult given voters have already honored her twice. The strong competition won’t help, though if everyone gets a good chunk of votes, perhaps the popular pick can make it back. Gilpin, meanwhile, is Netflix’s only nominee, which could boost her campaign — but not as much as the fact that Season 3 is going to hit shortly before voting starts. If the series is as well-respected as the first two, it could steer more votes her way.

Power Ranking the Nominees:

  1. Alex Borstein, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
  2. Anna Chlumsky, “Veep”
  3. Sarah Goldberg, “Barry”
  4. Olivia Colman, “Fleabag”
  5. Betty Gilpin, “GLOW”
  6. Sian Clifford, “Fleabag”
  7. Kate McKinnon, “Saturday Night Live”
  8. Marin Hinkle, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”

Will Win: Alex Borstein, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
Could Win: Anna Chlumsky, “Veep”
Should Win: Betty Gilpin, “GLOW”

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