Throughout Emmy season, IndieWire will be evaluating the top contenders for TV’s most prestigious prize, and it all starts here. At the bottom of this page are IndieWire TV Critic Ben Travers’ predictions for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. This article will be updated throughout the coming months, along with all our predictions, to reflect an up-to-the-minute state of the race. Make sure to keep checking IndieWire for the latest coverage on the 2020 Emmys, including breaking news, analysis, interviews, podcasts, FYC event coverage, reviews of all the awards contenders, and more. The Creative Arts Emmy Awards will be given out Saturday, September 12 and Sunday, September 13. The 72nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards will take place at the Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles on Sunday, September 20. (See our awards calendar for a more detailed breakdown of important dates.) ABC is broadcasting the ceremony.
Last Year’s Winner: Alex Borstein, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
Still Eligible: Yes.
Hot Streak: Alex Borstein is the third consecutive actress to win back-to-back Emmys for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. Before the “Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” star took home trophies in 2018 and 2019, Kate McKinnon won in 2016 and 2017 for “SNL,” and Allison Janney won in 2014 and 2015 for “Mom.” Julie Bowen also won twice for “Modern Family” in 2011 and 2012, making Merritt Wever (“Nurse Jackie”) and Jane Lynch (“Glee”) the only winners not to repeat this decade.
Fun Fact: Including the women above, 11 performers have won the Emmy for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series twice — but only four have won more than two. Valerie Harper (“The Mary Tyler Moore Show”) and Laurie Metcalf (“Roseanne”) have three awards apiece, while Rhea Perlman (“Cheers”) and Doris Roberts (“Everybody Loves Raymond”) are tied for the most wins with four. Also: Each of the four actors won three years in a row, with Roberts and Perlman adding a fourth soon after.
Notable Ineligible Series: “Veep” (ended), “Fleabag” (ended), “Barry” (Season 3 will not premiere in time)
The State of the Race
2020 could be the year “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” takes control of the comedy race, and it could start right here in the Best Supporting Actress race. Not only does the Amazon Prime Video hit have two-time champion Alex Borstein returning to the race, but last year’s new nominee Marin Hinkle is looking strong again, as well. Add in Jane Lynch, whose increased role in Season 3 bumps her up from the Emmy-winning Guest Actor category into the Supporting race, and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” could own half the nominations all on its own.
That being said, it’s not like this year is seeing a dearth of contenders. Yes, between “Fleabag,” “Barry,” and “Veep” exiting the race, only four of last year’s nominees remain, but that was out of seven total nominations — there are typically just six, so the 2020 competition remains tight. Kate McKinnon is still a strong pick for her versatile turn on “SNL,” while Betty Gilpin’s “GLOW” has been off the air for a while, but the phenomenal actor should benefit from recent notable turns in “The Hunt” and “Coffee & Kareem.” (Yes, she’s excellent in the otherwise eye-rolling Netflix movie.)
Though you can’t count out a resurgence from favorites like Rita Moreno (“One Day at a Time”), Aidy Bryant (“SNL”), or any of the “Modern Family” crew, the rest of the prospective 2020 class are mainly newcomers. Annie Murphy is hoping to ride the wave of final season adulation expected for “Schitt’s Creek,” which, if big enough, could even sweep Emily Hampshire into the running, as well. D’Arcy Carden is overdue for a nod given her many challenging developments on “The Good Place,” and fellow NBC star (for “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist”) Lauren Graham is still searching for her first Emmy nomination. (Somehow, the Emmys missed the boat on every single season and a revival of “Gilmore Girls.”)
Continuing the wrongly-snubbed trend, Susie Essman has been long overlooked for her work on “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” and if voters spark to Larry David’s latest season as much as the rest of the world did, this might be her year. Of course, it would be an absolute treat to hear Judy Greer’s name called on nomination day; not only has the “Kidding” star never been nominated, but she manages to always strike the right chord in a series of ever-fluctuating tonal extremes. And after being overlooked by the Film Academy for “Dolemite Is My Name,” it would be a shame to see Da’Vine Joy Randolph’s excellent work in “High Fidelity” go unnoticed by the TV Academy, too.
1. Alex Borstein, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
2. Jane Lynch, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
3. Marin Hinkle, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
4. Kate McKinnon, “Saturday Night Live”
5. Betty Gilpin, “GLOW”
6. Lisa Kudrow, “Space Force”
Spoilers: Annie Murphy, “Schitt’s Creek”; D’Arcy Carden, “The Good Place”; Aidy Bryant, “Saturday Night Live”; Emily Hampshire, “Schitt’s Creek”; Susie Essman, “Curb Your Enthusiasm”; Rita Moreno, “One Day at a Time”; Lauren Graham, “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist”; Julie Bowen, “Modern Family”; Sofia Vergara, “Modern Family”; Laurie Metcalf, “The Conners”
In a Perfect World: Judy Greer, “Kidding”; Da’Vine Joy Randolph, “High Fidelity”