Emmys 2011: A Look at the Supporting Comedy Actress Race, Including Our Dream Nominees
Eve Best, Nurse Jackie
This doctor from the Showtime hit has never been nominated for an Emmy. But with on-screen BFF Edie Falco likely going for her second in a row (in the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series category), she could get lucky and win a nomination based on proximity (as well as being deserving).
Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory
The erstwhile Blossom┬'s upgrade to Big Bang regular makes her eligible for an Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy nod. And, since her character is, in essence, a female Sheldon ┬— played by the hit CBS comedy┬'s lone Emmy winner, Jim Parsons ┬— a nomination does, in fact, compute.
Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Nominated for the first time last year, this Modern mom is all but assured another nod in 2011. The question is less ┬"Will she get in the race?┬" (she will) and more ┬"Will her consistently pitch-perfect work, combined with all the dues she┬'s paid (on Ed, Boston Legal, Lost, etc.), win her the race?┬"
Alison Brie, Community
In her favor is that a) she shines on a buzzed-about show, and b) she┬'s also appeared on Emmy fave Mad Men. In other words, she┬'s both cool and familiar. Working against her is that Community may be too cool for the room of Emmy voters, and she may not be that familiar.
Yvette Nicole Brown, Community
Even in a fleeting study room moment, she can say more with her eyes alone than a lot of other actors can mouthing an entire script full of dialogue. Unfortunately for Brown, this category is overstuffed with worthy nominees — and for that matter, so is her own show.
Jenna Fischer, The Office
With the departure of Steve Carell, The Office went through an almost unprecedented sitcom shake-up this season, making the warmth and constancy that Pam┬'s portrayer provides a major comfort to viewers. If voters noticed too, the actress could receive her first nomination since 2007.
Alyson Hannigan, How I Met Your Mother
She was denied one nomination after another during her long run on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and she hasn┬'t received a single nod since How I Met Your Mother┬'s debut. Short of a miracle ┬— or some seriously aggressive campaigning on CBS┬' part ┬— as downright wonderful as she is, her odds of being recognized appear to be slim to none.
Gillian Jacobs, Community
She┬'s deftly navigated the hairpin turns that Community has thrown her way ┬— at this point, probably only Joel McHale┬'s Jeff is a more complex character than her Britta. Yet the crowded field of potential nominees, coupled with the comedy┬'s ensemble nature, makes her a dark-horse candidate for a nod.
Rashida Jones, Parks and Recreation
As Amy Poehler┬'s level-headed partner in crime, this alumna of The Office epitomizes the spirit of the ┬"supporting┬" actress: The designated straight woman bolsters her peers, giving the show┬'s high jinx a down-to-earth foundation off of which they can bounce.
Ellie Kemper, The Office
This season, The Office gave its zany receptionist not only more air time, but the most heart-tugging love triangle since Jim/Pam/Roy — plus an unlikely father figure in Steve Carell┬'s Michael. As a result, her winsome Kelly Erin Hannon is, at least, an appealing long shot.
Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock
The 30 Rock scene-stealer has been up for the Supporting Actress in a Comedy Emmy twice before. And since her larger-than-life alter ego, Jenna, hasn┬'t shrunk any, neither have her chances of being nominated again. Trouble is, since her ‘TGS’ front woman doesn┬'t ever really grow, can Krakowski┬'s odds of winning ever improve?
Jane Lynch, Glee
She┬'s already won both an Emmy and a Golden Globe for her career-making portrayal of Glee┬'s queen of mean, the now-iconic Sue Sylvester. (And she’s hosting the big show this year!) So although another nomination is virtually in the bag, voters may decide this go-┬'round to spread the wealth — especially since the category is so crowded with yet-to-be-recognized talents.
Christa Miller, Cougar Town
She┬'s a TV veteran (The Drew Carey Show, Scrubs) doing the near impossible — making the sharpest-tongued member of Cougar Town┬'s biting cul-de-sac crew likeable — so she should be a shoo-in for a nomination. But since the comedy has yet to be shown any love by Emmy, she may have to wait.
Heather Morris, Glee
Though she gives a whole new meaning to the term ┬"playing dumb┬" as Glee┬'s often bubble-headed Cheerio, this relative newbie ┬— previously best known as a dancer ┬— may have to settle, for now, for the budding stardom that the Fox hit has brought her way. Priceless as she is, she┬'s merely a lovable long shot for Emmy acknowledgment.
Busy Philipps, Cougar Town
The ongoing transformation of her character from trashy slut to semi-respectable but sensitive airhead, has been both heart-breaking and hysterical. Unfortunately, she┬'s in the same boat as co-star Christa Miller: Emmy hasn┬'t yet realized that their show, much less they, exist. Something┬'s gotta give before they get their due.
Aubrey Plaza, Parks and Recreation
If there was an Emmy for deadpan comic timing, this Parks and Rec standout would already have a trophy case full. Alas, she will probably have to settle for cheering on co-star Amy Poehler and, if Team Pawnee is really lucky, the show itself.
Melissa Rauch, The Big Bang Theory
Now that she┬'s been promoted to series regular, Bernadette┬'s portrayer can compete in this category. And since, in addition to this role, she also made an impression on True Blood last season, she may be fresh in Emmy voters┬' minds when they go to fill out their ballots.
Cobie Smulders, How I Met Your Mother
With her character coming to a crossroads this season ┬— and her alter ego┬'s alter ego returning yet again! ┬— the timing would seem ideal for her to receive her first Emmy nomination. That is, except for that fact that only castmate Neil Patrick Harris has ever netted an acting nod for the show.
Holland Taylor, Two and a Half Men
This 2000 Emmy victor (for The Practice) has been nominated four times in this category for her work on Two and a Half Men, and has gone home empty-handed each time. Something tells us that in light of the show being upstaged by ousted leading man Charlie Sheen, this won┬'t be the year she returns to the winner┬'s circle.
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family
Arguably the breakout star of ABC’s hit comedy, the show┬'s red-hot mama was nominated last year and is sure to be up for an Emmy again this time around. Indeed, given the amount of buzz that surrounds her, she is probably the one to beat.
Merritt Wever, Nurse Jackie
Though she stands out on Showtime┬'s dark comedy as the antithesis of title character, this relative newcomer probably isn┬'t well known enough to nab a slam-dunk nomination. Plus, most of the attention for Nurse Jackie is focused on, well, Nurse Jackie.
Betty White, Hot in Cleveland
The grand dame of Cleveland already has seven Emmys in her cupboard (including one she earned last year for hosting Saturday Night Live ), so a nomination would make sense. However, with all three of her co-stars ┬— Valerie Bertinelli, Jane Leeves and Wendie Malick ┬— also in this category, the vote could be split, and all Hotties’ chances diminished.
Kristen Wiig, Saturday Night Live
The SNL funny lady is riding high: Not only is she the sketch-comedy series┬' most talked-about female cast member since Molly Shannon, she┬'s now a bona fide movie star to boot (thanks to the box office hit Bridesmaids). But will voters assume she┬'s already moved on to the big screen and elect to deny her a second nod?