The list of Emmy nominees for outstanding lead actress in a comedy is full of familiar names (and
one two red-hot newcomers). In fact, because of all the top-notch actresses on this list, all of whom had good years on their respective shows, this category is going to be among the most difficult ones to call.
You’ll have a chance to make your choice in our Emmy poll series on Friday, but for now we’re going to make the case for the most veteran name on the nomination list: “Veep” star Julia Louis-Dreyfus. She has a good chance of taking home yet another Emmy next month, but there are plenty of obstacles for her to overcome to get there. First, the reasons why we think she’ll win:
She and the academy go way back. Considering she’s gotten 13 nominations over 20 years, Julia and the academy are practically old college chums. Her nomination for playing hapless vice president Selina Meyer in HBO’s “Veep” marks the third show for which she’s gotten an Emmy nod, after “Seinfeld” and “The New Adventures of Old Christine,” and she’s won one statuette for each of the first two. So, even though there are other Emmy perennials on this list, her history might work in her favor.
“Veep” is a pretty darn good show. The wins and nomination for “Old Christine” were surprising, but well-earned because Louis-Dreyfus carried what was otherwise a decent-but-not-great show, in a traditional four-camera laugh-track format. “Veep,” on the other hand, is a sharp satire of the backslapping, compromise-filled world of D.C. politics, and Louis-Dreyfus has done a great job of portraying a VP who tries to make a difference while she laments her dissolving personal life and her loss of power in the halls of Congress. If she won for this show, it sure would be a heck of a lot less surprising than when she won for “Old Christine” in 2006.
She may benefit from a backlash against Lena Dunham. The academy really, really wants to give HBO as many awards as they possibly can. And, while logic states that “Girls” is the hot show of the moment and could take home the comedy series award, the academy likes to giveth and taketh away at the same time. So, if there’s any backlash against “Girls” or Lena Dunham, JLD might be the beneficiary.
Here’s three reasons why she won’t take home the Emmy:
She’s not the only Emmy winner in the group. In fact, there are three other previous winners in this category, and Tina Fey, Edie Falco and Melissa McCarthy have all won more recently than JLD has. McCarthy has the potential to become a repeat winner, something the academy loves to do, and the academy would give Falco a statuette for reading Google results for “‘Nurse Jackie’ is not a comedy.” (Just kidding… kinda. “Jackie” had a very strong season, but we stand by our long-standing view that Falco doesn’t belong here).
Amy Poehler is due. This is Poehler’s fifth nomination, fourth for “Parks and Recreation,” and she did a great job during the latter half of the season, when Leslie Knope’s campaign for city council kicked into high gear. If she doesn’t win this year, people are going to start to think of her like they think of Steve Carell and Hugh Laurie — loving her work and shocked that she’s never won an Emmy for it.
There may not be a Lena Dunham backlash. Every so often, the hot and new wins over Emmy’s old friends, and Dunham has so much heat around her right now that it may transcend the academy’s skittishness with awarding newcomers. This might be the case, especially because “Veep” aired along with “Girls” and was overwhelmed by the buzz generated by Dunham’s show.