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Emmy Predictions 2019: Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

With so many contenders, who will stand out? [Updated: June 10]

Emily Pendergast and Timothy Simons in "Veep" Season 7 Episode 7 series finale

Emily Pendergast and Timothy Simons in “Veep”

Colleen Hayes/HBO

Last Year’s Winner: Henry Winkler, “Barry”
Still Eligible: Yes.
Hot Streak: Unlike the women’s category, the Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy race hasn’t seen a repeat winner in over a decade. The last performer to take home back-to-back Emmys here was Jeremy Piven for “Entourage” in 2007 – 2008 (whereas even one win seems unimaginable today). “Modern Family” won three consecutive years, but the chosen victor rotated between Ty Burrell and Eric Stonestreet, while Tony Hale took home two trophies for “Veep,” but his streak was interrupted by Burrell winning again for “Modern Family.”
Fun Fact: “M*A*S*H” has more nominations than any other program with 21, but it only has two wins — Harry Morgan in 1980 and Gary Burghoff in 1977. If “Modern Family” can squeak out two more nods, it will tie the record (but the ABC comedy got blanked in 2018). “Veep” and “Will & Grace” are the next active series with the highest nomination count, currently locked together at seven apiece. (Oddly enough, “SNL” has the most nominations for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series with 15, while the men only have six.)
Notable Ineligible Series: Louie Anderson, “Baskets”; Brian Tyree Henry, “Atlanta”

At the bottom of this page are IndieWire TV Critic Ben Travers’ predictions for Outstanding Supporting Actor 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

Henry Winkler finally won his first Emmy Award in 2018, and he’s back in the race again. Given the continued heat surrounding last year’s breakout “Barry,” he could find himself in the winner’s circle once more, but whose performance — and story — looks to resonate with voters in 2019?

How about Alan Arkin? The Oscar-winner has four Emmy nods on his resume, dating back to 1967, but zero wins. His Golden Globe nomination for “The Kominsky Method” shows he’s got some early support for the Netflix original, and that could blossom into a fruitful Emmy run. Tony Hale, meanwhile, is looking to return to the TV Academy’s good graces for the final season of “Veep,” as are a few of his co-stars: Matt Walsh snagged back-to-back nominations for the last two eligible seasons, while Timothy Simons is getting another well-deserved spotlight during the HBO comedy’s last run.

Former nominees like Tony Shalhoub (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”), Tituss Burgess (“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”), and two “SNL” stars — Alec Baldwin and Kenan Thompson — all have good reason for high hopes, though the field is already tightening. What about the newcomers? Charlie Barnett made quite the impression as a perpetually dumped boyfriend in Netflix’s loopy “Russian Doll”; if the series sparks with voters like it did with critics, he could make a run. Matt Berry is earning early acclaim for “What We Do in the Shadows” (and has a few big-name fans singing his praises behind-the-scenes), while Andrew Rannells hopes enough voters see “Black Monday” to consider his spirited turn.

And then there are the bubble picks: Marc Maron is outstanding in “GLOW,” and while he missed out on a nomination last year, another season and another push from Netflix could be all he needs to break into the pack. William Jackson Harper is a fan favorite from “The Good Place” who’s disappearing into his nerdy, worrywart role; if voters distinguish the man from his part, he could get in, too. Dan Levy hopes one last wave of “Schitt’s Creek” love pushes the cult favorite into the limelight, and Andre Braugher needs “Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s” move to NBC to boost appreciation for his hysterical and precise turn.

That still leaves well-deserving dark horses like Desmin Borges in “You’re the Worst,” Nico Santos in “Superstore,” and Todd Grinnell for “One Day at a Time,” but it may be another supporting player from “Barry” who shakes things up this year. Anthony Carrigan wowed in the Season 2 premiere, and there’s no lack of love for NoHo Hank. Perhaps Winkler will pass the torch within his own series.

Predicted Nominees:

  • Alan Arkin, “The Kominsky Method”
  • Anthony Carrigan, “Barry”
  • Tony Hale, “Veep”
  • Tony Shalhoub, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
  • Timothy Simons, “Veep”
  • Henry Winkler, “Barry”

Spoilers: Tituss Burgess, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”; Matt Walsh, “Veep”; Stephen Root, “Barry”; Kenan Thompson, “SNL”; Charlie Barnett, “Russian Doll”

In a Perfect World: Andre Braugher, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”; William Jackson Harper, “The Good Place”; Desmin Borges, “You’re the Worst”; Marc Maron, “GLOW”; Nico Santos, “Superstore”

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