WHY SHE DESERVES A NOD: If a Lucy is only as good as her Ethel, Rachel Bloom should thank her lucky stars that she scored the instantly lovable Champlin to play Rebecca’s BFF/partner in crime Paula on her CW musical comedy. No matter how outrageous the plot, Champlin threw herself in heart-first, making us wonder half the time whether her hyper-romantic character wasn’t actually the one who put the “crazy” in the series’ title. And, as hilarious an actress as she is — Paula pretending to be Jewish AND British in “My Mom, Greg’s Mom and Josh’s Sweet Dance Moves!” became the stuff of legend — she’s an even better singer. So if Emmy voters do the sane thing and nominate Champlin, maybe they’ll get to hear her perform “Face Your Fears” during the ceremony.
KETHER DONOHUE, YOU’RE THE WORST
WHY SHE DESERVES A NOD: If we were going to be friends with an adult woman who has no concept of how to be a grownup, we’d want it be with the daft Lindsay. Thanks to Donohue’s hilariously clueless, yet sweetly vulnerable touch, we wanted to take her character under our wing in Season 2 and teach her the basics of life as she struggled with being on her own for the first time. (Well, maybe not teach her everything — not if Lindsay not knowing how to pay the bills means we get more farcical scenes of Donohue struggling to get home via foot and bicycle, only to end up walking in a circle.) Even when Lindsay is being the worst — taking advantage of Edgar’s unrequited feelings for her or impregnating herself with a turkey baster to get back together with her estranged husband — Donohue is the best, making us laugh at every turn.
YAEL GROBGLAS, JANE THE VIRGIN
WHY SHE DESERVES A NOD: Grobglas has always been one of the show’s most underrated comedic players. (She made our Dream Emmy Nominees last year, too, for good reason.) But in Season 2, the actress took her skills to the next level with two memorable performances as the no nonsense Petra and her newly discovered, mousy twin sister Anezka. When the former went through the painful process of giving birth to her own twin girls, Grobglas brought the frightened mom’s anger to life in spectacularly comedic fashion – and then tugged on our heartstrings as she dealt with postpartum depression. That arc, alone, would have been impressive enough to earn Grobglas accolades. Then we met the awkward, secretly duplicitous Anezka, a role which required the actress to transform her body language and voice, and it was like we were discovering Grobglas’ genius all over again.
JANE KRAKOWSKI, UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT
WHY SHE DESERVES A NOD: Krakowski has practically made a career out of playing semi-functioning lunatics, and it could be argued that they’ve all been building up to Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’s Jacqueline Voorhees. The Netflix comedy’s second season chronicled the divorcée’s desperate journey back to the top, and while we were all surprised to see her settle somewhere in the middle, we enjoyed every manic step of the way — from her short-lived search for a man (“Time to get more D’s than a kid with undiagnosed dyslexia!”) to her new apartment woes (“If I can see New Jersey, that means it can see me!”). The fact that Krakowski also made us feel for the ridiculous character is proof enough of her Emmy worthiness.
JENIFER LEWIS, BLACK-ISH
WHY SHE DESERVES A NOD: In the name of “Black Jesus!”, we’re here to testify that no one on TV right now is more lethal with a one-liner than Lewis. Whether Grandma Ruby was strong-arming her family to attend her church’s verry long Sunday services or eviscerating her daughter-in-law’s cooking, Lewis’ hilarious haughtiness was a highlight of an incredible Season 2. Our feelings on Lewis’ own Emmy-worthiness can best be summed up by quoting Ruby’s own chortling reply about whether she’d envisioned herself as Cookie in the Empire-themed family Christmas photo she was planning: “Is there another bad bitch in this house?”
ANDREA MARTIN, DIFFICULT PEOPLE
WHY SHE DESERVES A NOD: Right from the start of Hulu’s scathing comedy, Martin’s Marilyn Kessler was like a delicious, layered cake — one she would totally judge you for eating. Pushy, overly invested and wildly outspoken — among other less-positive adjectives we’re sure her TV daughter (played by Julie Klausner) might contribute — Martin made fresh the Jewish mother archetype. But the cherry on top of it all was that, despite her therapist character being paid to fix people’s lives, she proved just as insufferable and messed-up as the show’s leads — not to mention her own patients. Martin effortlessly wove these traits together in Season 1, concocting a flawlessly flawed character that genuinely made is wonder: Do I wish she was my mother? Or would I not wish her on my worst enemy?
NIECY NASH, GETTING ON
WHY SHE DESERVES A NOD: For always making sure that we could hear the beating heart of the underrated HBO gem beneath the chaos at Billy Barnes, Nash was invited last year to join the Emmy race. Now the Television Academy just needs to invite her BACK. And, really, how could its members not give her another nomination? The actress delivered one lovely performance after another in the series’ third and (sob) final season, as her beleaguered Nurse DiDi did her damnedest to look out for her mother-in-law, her self-absorbed co-worker Dawn and, futilely, even the extended-care unit itself. Certainly, Nash should get more than a memorial orange for doing work that was so consistently moving — she should get her second Emmy nod (and perhaps her first win, too!).
REBECCA WISOCKY, DEVIOUS MAIDS
WHY SHE DESERVES A NOD: Lifetime’s upstairs-downstairs dramedy may not be the first show that you’d associate with the word Emmy, but as Wisocky’s viciously condescending Evelyn attempted an adoption — then heartbreakingly saw her son taken away by his long-missing biological father — the actress brought new levels of shading and color to her scene-stealing character. It may not be polite to discuss how much money you have — as Evelyn told little Deion before they ordered in from Spago and projected Frozen on the wall of the east terrace — but it’d be even less courteous if Wisocky’s name wasn’t part of this year’s Emmy discussion.