Emmys 2011: A Look at the Lead Comedy Actress Race — Including Our Dream Nominees

When it comes to the Emmy Awards, there’s no counting out 30 Rock’s Tina Fey. Ever. In 50 years, she’ll be Betty White. But this year’s Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series competition may be all about Showtime and its three show-stopping leading ladies. Will the Academy prescribe a consecutive win for Nurse Jackie’s Edie Falco, or will Toni Collette grab a second statue to go with Tara’s multiple personalities? Or could they and The Big C’s Laura Linney split the pay cable vote, leaving an opening for someone new, like Raising Hope’s Martha Plimpton?

Emmys 2011: Sizing Up the Best Comedy Race — And Sharing Our Dream Nominees

Review this slideshow of the major contenders — including TVLine’s half-dozen Dream Nominees — then vote for your own favorite six below. And check back tomorrow for our review of the Lead Actor in a Comedy race!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Cristal del mar says:

    Lea michele or courtney cox!!! Both deserve a Emmy ;)

  2. connie seo says:

    in love with
    big bang theory & the mentalist

  3. Eva says:

    Are you f’ing kidding me, Lea Michelle is leading this poll?!? She shouldn’t even be in the same category with these talented ladies!

    My Choices:
    Tina Fey, Martha Plimpton, Courtney Cox, Laura Linney and Tamsin Greig

    • calmdown says:

      Don’t be so pissy. glee has a big fan base it is just a poll.

      she is the lead in a popular show why wouldn’t she be included in the poll.

      weird folks getting up in arms over it.

      • Eva says:

        Don’t worry this poll won’t keep me awake at night. I just find it so laughable that she would even be in contention with actual talented accomplished actresses.

        • calmdown says:

          you don’t consider someone who has been working on b-way for years accomplished? She did 4 musicals by the time she was 21.

          give her a break she does a fine job as Rachel Berry and work hard at it. DO you know she has recorded over 30 song this season alone, She has choreography too.

          No reason to be disrespectful is all.

          • Eva says:

            I guess I should have been more specific, when I said accomplished I meant to say accomplished in quality work. I never said that she doesn’t work a lot but this is an acting category not who’s clocking in the most hours. She is left in the dust by the talented ladies in this category. Stating my personal opinion is not disrespectful.

      • youcalmdowntoo says:

        Because the Emmys is not a popularity contest.

    • noneedtohate says:

      Lets not pretend Lea Michele is not talented. Don’t like the show, the character or even the type of songs is best known for fine, but Lea is a fine actress and wonderful singer.

      Now reason to hate no one is going off on any other actress but becasue the glee fans have come out in force people feel the need to knock her. Just wrong she isn’t pushing the vote.

      In fact Lea has been very generous with her nominations saying the coolest thing to ever happen to her is losing to Toni and Edie etc.

      • Eva says:

        Who’s pretending? IMO she’s not talented enough to be in contention with the fine ladies in this category. I never stated that she wasn’t a decent singer I’m simply commenting on the fact that a strong actress she is not. The “Gleeks can come out in full force and it wouldn’t change the fact that her acting is below par. I also don’t know what her being “generous with her nomination” has anything to do with my statement.

        • noneedtohate says:

          And that is your opinion just because someone is a fan of the show doesn’t mean that their opinion is any less valid and many believe her acting is great.
          She has been nominated for other awards so someone likes what she is doing.

          They like how she portrays Rachel. She is dramatic and controlling and neurotic just like we love her to be

          I mentioned her comments in she is appreciative of the fact that theater woman are accomplished. She Is being respectful which is nice.

          And I think her work in B-way and glee have been quailty.

          We aren’t going to agree so I just say best of luck to all the woman

    • shut up who eva u r lea michele is talented i take it u dont no wat that is ! no F*** off and dnt say stuff like that when u no mate it will hurt other ppls feelings u minge !

      • boo on your attempt at humor says:

        cute, a adult trying to act like what they think a glee fan would say.

        nice try but a fail.

  4. Jake says:


  5. Gaby says:

    Lea Michele deserve it!

  6. Lisa Nyles says:

    Lea Michele has got to be the hardest working actress on tv and totally deserves to be nominated!

    • Laura says:

      Hardest working actress on TV? That’s not a fact at all or fair of you to say. How do you even know that? That is actually pretty insulting to other TV actresses out there (working and non-working).

      • calmdown says:

        Most sitcom only film a shot period of time. Lea has to record, learn chorography and be on set of up to 16 hours a days.

        She has recorded over 30 songs each song taking several hours to learn plus record and so on. They do multiple takes
        Most int eh industry have acknowledged how hard the glee kids work. Since Lea is the lead and has the most to record it is not far fetched to say she is one of the hardest working people on at tv show.

        hardest unknown but certainly one of the hardest.

  7. Martha says:

    Wtf, Lea Michele? She is a joke, ugh. Just because she is on a popular show. So many other women deserve her spot. I think she is awful. Great singer, awful actress imo. I’d even pick one of the Desperate Housewives. It’s actually impressive how great those 4 women work with their crappy scripts. Now they deserve some love, too.


    • dodgerfan says:

      she is a good actress and great singer and while a lot of people deserve it so does she.

      • Martha says:

        And that is entirely your opinion. I’m just saying I’ve seen way stronger comedic performances from actresses that are not even included on this list.

    • erika says:

      have you read lea michele lines on glee? her character is that way, the creators always said praizes for her on how she act exactly as they written the scene. her rachel berry is like they created and she is a fine actress.

  8. Gabrielle says:

    Lea is an amazing actress but unless RIB give Rachel a GOOD story line. You know, one that doesn’t have to do with Finn and making Rachel seem like this sad, pathetic mess over him. They could do So much with her character, but it unfortunatley seems all it will ever be is about Finn. ( such a crappy relastionship too.)

  9. JAE says:

    I like all of them but i would have to say that LEA MICHELE is the best!!!!!!!

  10. Lea Michelle is consisently good week after week. She sings from her heart; she is like a young Streisand. I can’t believe how incredibly talented this woman is! I just saw her perform last week and was blown away! Glee is a showcase for amazing talent. Lea deserves to win.

  11. Maddie says:


  12. mawhi says:

    Oh. Welcome, visitors from the Glee fandom.

  13. Renee says:

    People keep justifying a potential nomination for Lea Michele by saying that she has worked well with the crap that has been given to her. Well, I can totally say the same about Marcia Cross and Felicity Huffman and yet they aren’t even on this list. That is not a valid excuse, people. Glee had a terrible season but because it’s popular she will get a nomination. Meanwhile, Marcia and Felicity have given such strong comedic performances this season (even better than in season 1 when they were actually nominated) yet their talents get overlooked because of the fading show they star in: D. Housewives. Man, awards shows are sadly a popularity contest.

    Amy, Martha, and Laura should be the leads in this poll.

    • Sam says:

      Did you think they were anything else?

      Of course they are in part popularity polls. But that works against Lea cause she is still relatively new to Hollywood even if she has been working for 16 years.

      Lea fans are saying she did have crappy story lines but they also find her character funny, sensitive and yes dramatic. Plus they think she should get some credit for the other things she has to bring to the character in singing and dancing.

      It isn’t just one thing.

      • Renee says:

        I said award shows were a popularity contest, not the poll. Also, they are all entitled to their opinion and so am I.

        I also find many other women not even on this list that make their characters “funny, sensitive, and yes dramatic.”

        Using the “she also sings and dances” comment is such a cop out because a) she is pretty average at both and b) this is about acting, not singing and/or dancing.

        • Sam says:

          I don’t see why the singing and dancing is a cop out. It is one more aspect of the character she has to portray. Rachel Berry is an aspiring singer.

          If the a character was a high diver I would hope she would be able to portray that convincingly.

          And I didn’t mean poll I meant contest.

          • Renee says:

            Again, your opinion and I don’t agree. People seem to focus on that aspect (singing/dancing) way too much and throw it on people’s faces like that automatically makes her better. That’s what bugs me, people actually using those things as a cop out.

    • Eva says:

      THIS SO MUCH!! Felicity and Marcia were fantastic this season, they are the reason I keep watching DH.

      • Renee says:

        Same here! They are the main reason why I keep watching. Also, I believe season 7 was such a solid, quality season. Oh well, to each their own. And if you are the same Eva that said, “I guess I should have been more specific, when I said accomplished I meant to say accomplished in quality work. I never said that she doesn’t work a lot but this is an acting category not who’s clocking in the most hours. She is left in the dust by the talented ladies in this category. Stating my personal opinion is not disrespectful.” I BOW DOWN TO YOU. I couldn’t agree more! (Replying here bc I couldn’t reply above, lol)

        • Eva says:

          I know! This season gave new life to the show. I thought everyone really stepped up to the plate but there is just something about Marcia and Felicity. They steal every single scene they’re in, you just can’t help but keep your eyes one them!

          Guilty! :D

          • Renee says:

            EXACTLY. It’s so sad to see those two being dismissed just because people don’t think the show is good anymore (which I beg to differ. It isn’t exactly as amazing as season 1 was, but it’s impressive they managed to remain consistently average/okay throughout the years.) They are such scene/episode stealers it’s not even funny. Felicity’s performance in the season finale blew my mind.


  14. Katie says:

    First and foremost, I worship Parks & Rec and think Amy Poehler is more than deserving of an Emmy.

    But, I just have to say that I think Lea Michele is more than deserving of a nomination as well. It seems that many of the people who have posted negative things about Lea have some sort of hatred towards Glee. To be honest, Lea is one of the funniest people on the show. She plays her character so well that people automatically assume she’s just like her in real life. She does it all: sing, dance, act… plus she’s great with physical comedy. I don’t know how many times they’ve thrown food/slushies in her face or had her fall down/get inadvertently punched. It’s funny. She’s funny.

    I would like to direct you to the episode “Blame it on the Alcohol” if you don’t believe me.

    “It tastes like PINK!!”

    • Robert says:

      Why would you direct them to one of the worst, most cringe-worthy episodes Glee has ever produces? I’ve seen it and felt so much second-hand embarrassment for all the actors.

      • Sam says:

        I thought it was funny, every glee episode has missteps. But overall it was a funny episode the party scene alone was worth it.

      • Katie says:

        I didn’t reference “Blame it on the Alcohol” because it was the BEST episode of Glee, I referenced it because Lea Michele was hilarious in it.

  15. Richard says:

    Even though she would not win, Brooke Elliott from “Drop Dead Diva” should have been listed.

  16. no reason says:

    I see now glee hater have found the poll. Just like glee fans found it a while ago.

    Difference some glee haters are being disrespectful to Lea and the show, while the Lea fans have not been disrespectful to the other women on the list.

    • Eva says:

      I love that my dislike of Lea’s acting has turned into my dislike of the show! I actually still enjoy Glee even if this season was a total fail because it got swept up in it’s own hype. I keep watching for the characters that I love like: Sue, Mercedes, Kurt, Emma, Brittney, Santana, Artie, Tina, Mike and Puck. I even enjoy some of the songs they sing and may have purchased one or two. So please don’t assume I hate the show just because I don’t think Lea is a good actress!

      • no reason says:

        I did not direct my comments to anyone in particular.

        I just saw that all of a sudden it was some hate just becasue some of the fans put her in front of the poll.

      • Lanney says:

        Wow talk about ego. Why would you assume the person above was talking to you? Your opinion doesn’t matter at all in the grand scheme of things.

      • Wired says:

        I think it’s hilarious that most of the people commenting or rallying on Lea Michelle’s behalf cannot seem to spell or form a proper sentence. Goes to show who’s voting. Take an English class!

        • jeff says:

          Maybe English is not their first language. Glee is big all over the world

          Her name is Lea Michele not Michelle.

  17. Makayla says:

    Vote for Lea!!!!

  18. Ash says:

    Lea, Amy, Tina, and Martha and Courtney. =)

  19. Tony says:

    Tina, Amy, Martha and Lea…and whoever else…

  20. Joanie says:

    Whatever I like Lea. But I like Tina, Amy and Kayle too.

  21. Glory says:

    Lea Michele is just the best!! All the awards!!!

  22. Sean says:

    Emmy’s better get it right and give the Emmy to either Amy Poehler or Martha.

  23. Jay says:

    Lea Michele has worked so hard this year, this girl deserves a big reward. But she’s also a brilliant comedic actress and it’s not just the comedy either, her performance in the Born This Way episode is up there with any of these ladies acting capabilities. The writing on Glee really doesn’t do her justice.

  24. Jan says:

    I’m hoping Amy Poehler will win even though a lot of people have Laura Linney pegged to take this.

    Kaley Cucco has also been bloody hilarious this season (and I’m secretly hoping her BFF on the show, I don’t know her name, will get a supporting actress nomination).

    Martha Pimpleton is also the best part of ‘Raising Hope’ so I’m hoping she also gets a nom.

    And of course Tina Fey deserves a nomination. I strive to live like Liz Lemon in all ways (kidding).

    I think Lea Michele also deserves a nom. I find Rachel to be as funny as she is obnoxious and some of the best laugh out loud moments this season are because of her. It’s unfortunate that the writers got so caught up writing a quality story line for Kurt, they forgot about the rest of their show.

    I’ve never seen Mike and Molly but Melissa McCarthy had me crying with laughter during ‘Bridesmaids’. She was so good.

  25. Cameron says:

    Lea Michele!!! The new up and coming talent in Hollywood. She has it all…acting, dancing, and singing!!!

  26. Jens Garcia says:

    Lea Michele all the way!

  27. Sandra says:

    Lea Michelle :)

  28. Donnie says:

    Amy Poehler, Mary-Louise Parker, Toni Collette, Edie Falco, Laura Linney and Martha Plimpton. All of the Showtime ladies need to be in this category, as they give brilliant performances.

  29. Ella says:

    Lea Michele! Not only is she an amazing singer but also a great actress. She was brilliant in ‘Blame It On The Alcohol’ and her singing ‘My Headband’ was my favorite scene of the whole season.

    Yvonne Strahovski is also amazing. Episode after episode she portrays her character flawlessly and can convey so much emotion just through her facial expressions. She is the reason why I love Chuck as much as I do. But I thought she would try to get a nomination in the ‘Supporting Actress’ category?

    I also really like Kaley Cuoco, but I don’t think she had as much to do this season than in the previous ones.

  30. Siobhan says:

    LEA IS LEADING!!!! :) soooo inlove with her its not even funny! She is so funny as Rachel, and i’ve seen Spring Awakening on Youtube so i know she truely is an amazing actress. currently listening to her sing Jar Of Hearts…yeah, im addicted to her… im a Leaddict lol. love Yvonne too though!!! Both deserve a nomination, but Lea deserves the WIN!!! sorry, i get excited talking about Lea…

  31. Boo says:

    OMGLEEE Lea Michele has to win she was on her first broadway show at the age of 8 , she is an amazing actress singer and dancer also kindhearted and loves animals a winner all the way no doubt she wont win x I LOVE GLEE I WOULD DIE WITH OUT GLEE XX

  32. Thomas Nystuen Kristiansen says:

    Lea Michele deserves it most she is the best actress :-):-) <3

  33. Jo says:

    the best actress is toni collette but i don’t think United states of Tara is a comedy…

  34. Leamicheleshouldwin says:

    Lea michele should win talk about the talent and shes the best

  35. Valentijn says:

    I think that Lea Michelle should get the Emmy. She is good actress ans singer…

  36. Migiwara Sakura says:

    Lea Michele ^ ^

  37. Christine says:

    I am gonna have to give the emmy should go to LEA MICHELE…she has give AMERICA a lot…she stopped everything to go do THE GLEE LIVE TOUR 2011…She had just finished in Miniapolis and is taking the bus to Indianapolis for the performance tonight…she worked hard for it…this should result in something good for her…I am praying for her to win it…

  38. Julia says:

    Lea Michele

  39. SunshineGleek says:

    I voted for Miss Lea Michele like a thousand times and she is in the Lead. She is like the youngest one their and she has breath-taking Talent. Her lines are Funny and she is a really nice Girl. I <3 Lea and Hope she wins :)

  40. beebop says:

    Courteney Cox and Lea Michele all the way!
    I also love Amy Poehler and Tina Fey!
    Eva Longoria is awesome as well, but shes not on the ballot :((

  41. Angie says:

    Lea Michelle, I love her as Rachel Berry and she’s so talented and amazing.
    Yvonne Strahovski as Sarah Walker she’s just awesome

  42. Victor says:

    Yup Amy,bt i rily wish strahovski cud sneek up a lil

  43. Jenna says:

    Whilst the other ladies are excellent also, there’s no doubt that Lea Michele is a highly talented actress. Whilst it’s true that she works extremely hard and is an incredible singer, she is a fantastic comic actress also and always gives a great performance even when her material isn’t the best.

  44. Victor says:

    Strahovski as sarah walkes is keul.d fact dt she cud whup a guy’s ass is awesum…:)

  45. Victor says:

    Strahovski as sarah walker is keul.d fact dt she cud whup a guy’s ass is awesum…:)

  46. Matt says:

    Yvonne Strahovski is submitted in the supporting actress, not the lead actress, category.

  47. irrelevant says:

    Lea Michele… one of the hardest working young stars on the business. Not many actresses spend 16 hours days singing and dancing, and still find the strength to deliver amazing comedic performances everytime.

  48. Ajie says:

    guess the gleek freaks have been pressing the vote button way too much huh.

    doesn’t matter. poehler’s gonna win. we all know that.

  49. Bobby says:

    Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Kaley Cuoco, Courteney Cox, Martha Plimpton, and Patricia Heaton got my votes, but to be fair the only shows I watch other than those 6 on this list are Glee, Chuck, and United States of Tara (Chuck/USOT Im not even on the current season yet). Of those, I firmly believe Amy Poehler or Courteney Cox deserves the emmy this year

  50. forceofhabit says:

    If I could I would nominate Amy Poehler six times. So yeah, I want her to win. (and I want her to win best writing too, The Fight was hilarious)
    Then I would go with Tina Fey and Courteney Cox (how is she the only Friend who didn’t get a nomination??). I don’t watch any Showtime “comedy” but I don’t them there because seriously, they are NOT comedies!