Emmys 2012: The Lead Comedy Actress Race in Review, Including Our Dream Nominees
Christina Applegate, Up All Night
Pro:Up has some serious heart, thanks in large part to the warmth Applegate brings to the ensemble comedy. Her chops, honed on sitcoms like Married With Children and Samantha Who?, make anxiety-prone new mom Reagan a delight to watch.
Con: Post-Bridesmaids buzz put the spotlight on co-star Maya Rudolph; Applegate's Emmy chances might've lowered a bit in the process.
Beth Behrs, 2 Broke Girls
Pro: Behrs' rich-girl-taken-down-a-peg Caroline was a hit, especially when paired with Kat Dennings' diner diva Max.
Con:Broke tends to play ethnic stereotypes and smut jokes for laughs, which may not sit well with a PC nominating committee.
Courteney Cox, Cougar Town
Pro: We'd raise some merlot to a Cox nomination, something that hasn't happened despite four seasons as cul-de-sac queen Jules, not to mention a little past gig called Friends.
Con: The fact that Cox has gone so long without a nod makes us think the Academy might be taking her for granted. And Cougar's move to basic cable next season isn't likely to help her odds of making the list in the future.
Kaley Cuoco, The Big Bang Theory
Pro: It's high time for never-nominated Cuoco, Bang's underrated beauty, to get the kind of Emmy love usually reserved for her male co-stars Jim Parsons (Sheldon) and Johnny Galecki (Leonard).
Con: The sci-fi-obsessed comedy is all about its guys, which might not bring Cuoco's performance to mind when it comes time for nominations.
Kat Dennings, 2 Broke Girls
Pro: Dennings' wry, indie sensibility is the perfect complement to co-star Beth Behr's fallen heiress vibe.
Con: It Behrs repeating; Broke's biggest critique – too many race and sex gibes – may hurt Dennings' chances of making the nominee list, as well.
Laura Dern, Enlightened
Pro: As a New Age self-helper seething with tamped-down corporate rage, Dern portrays Amy's dueling natures with the balance of a perfectly executed yoga pose. Also helping her Emmy odds: The Golden Globe she picked up in January.
Con: We called Dern's Amy "the most tantalizingly/unapologetically unlikable lead character in recent memory," and that was when we were arguing for the show's renewal! If Emmy voters feel the same way, they may not give Dern a second thought.
Zooey Deschanel, New Girl
Pro: We refuse to use "adorkable" in this plug; nonetheless, quirky Deschanel really has made an art form out of melding cute, smart and awkward.
Con: Given Girl's positive press and critical success, there's really no reason its leading lady shouldn't make the slate. Not nominating her, however, would require a whole lot of cash for the d-bag jar.
Lena Dunham, Girls
Pro: Dunham had us hooked the moment Hannah tried to turn her unpaid internship into a real job and wound up getting fired instead. The series' writer, executive producer, sometime director and star is unafraid to make her character look bad, which of course makes us love her all the more.
Con:Girls' all-white cast, full of famous people's kids, got some negative attention at the beginning of the season; if Emmy voters tuned out because of it, they missed Dunham's best stuff.
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Pro: Falco's already won once (2010) for playing the addict nurse with the killer 'tude, and Jackie's rehab stint and surprise divorce this season are the kind of stuff Emmy loves.
Con: Her nomination last year didn't yield a win, which could mean that Falco's gotten all of the accolades she's going to receive for the Showtime series. Plus, as Falco has said herself, her work is more dramatic than comedic.
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Pro: Emmy loves showing 30 Rock some love; Fey's been nominated five times and won once, and Fey's portrayal of Liz's evolving maturity — helped along by loving boyfriend Criss – has been a pleasure to watch this season.
Con: If the Emmys want to make room for some new talent, Fey could get squeezed out.
Patricia Heaton, The Middle
Pro:The Middle's Frankie is always trying to get ahead, but invariably falls behind. Heaton's portrayal of the wannabe supermom and less-than-stellar car saleswoman has a real-life, flailing quality to it that's endearing.
Con: Heaton's derogatory Tweets aimed at Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke this spring probably didn't sit well with liberal Academy voters. If they can't look past it, Heaton won't be looking at a nomination.
Jane Levy, Suburgatory
Pro: Levy plays witty teen Tessa with a great mix of scathing sarcasm and what-the-heck-am-I-doing? naivete.
Con:Suburgatory doesn't have Girls' deafening critical buzz or 30 Rock's history of excellence; the sitcom, and its key female player, might fade into the non-nominated background as a result.
Laura Linney, The Big C
Pro: When Cathy's entire world shifted — some good news about her health coincided with her hubby's heart attack — Linney masterfully revamped her character's take on life, death… and bartending.
Con: Linney's C nomination last year netted her nothing, which could mean Linney's chances of making the nominee list this year are terminal.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Pro: The PSAs! Smilegate! The spilled pregnancy-test pee! Whether she's engaged in physical comedy or stumbling to cover up a press rumor, two-time Emmy winner (and 12-time nominee) Louis-Dreyfus’ hilarious turn as Selina Meyer has “award-worthy role” written all over it.
Con: None. She’s a shoo-in.
Melissa McCarthy, Mike & Molly
Pro: McCarthy took home the statue last year for good reason: She's excellent, even when the source material comes up lacking. (An episode about Molly trying to squeeze into her wedding dress? Really?)
Con: Despite the accolades McCarthy earned last year, Emmy voters may feel that she's done all she can do at the CBS sitcom and keep her out of the nominee pool because of it.
Lea Michele, Glee
Pro: If for nothing else, Michele deserves a nod for that heart-breaking car scene with Finn in the finale. Can anyone else remember the last time she was that amazing?
Con: Her last nomination came two years ago, which may be an indication that Emmy's interest in the Broadway baby has passed.
Mary-Louis Parker, Weeds
Pro: Parker played last season's Nancy, fresh out of jail and scrambling to get her brood back together, with gusto — thank goodness there's going to be a Season 8 to resolve that Sopranos-esque ending!
Con: Though she's gotten three nods for the role, the last time was in 2009. Unless the Emmy committee is smoking some premium herb, it probably won't nominate her this year.
Martha Plimpton, Raising Hope
Pro: Plimpton was nominated last year for her portrayal of Virginia, Hope's (non-senile) matriarch, and she was even better this season.
Con: Someone’s gotta get cut to make room for all the new blood. (Side Note: Let’s hope it’s not her.)
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation
Pro: Poehler's been nominated for the past two years, and Leslie's campaign and love life — both controversial — created even more chances for hilarity this season.
Con: With such a stellar season behind her, there's Knope way Poehler won't be asked back to the Emmy party.
Ashley Rickards, Awkward
Pro:One Tree Hill alum Rickards did a fine job as trying-to-fit-in Jenna — extra points for lugging that unwieldy cast around — in the inaugural season of the MTV comedy.
Con: Rickards is a relative unknown, and Awkward is still building its audience. If Emmy voters are inclined to nominate someone who plays a precocious teen, it'll more likely be Suburgatory's Jane Levy.
Krysten Ritter, Don’t Trust the B—- in Apt. 23
Pro: Ritter is brashly funny as Chloe, the maelstrom who routinely overwhelms her gee-whiz roomie, June.
Con:B—- debuted in April, which means Ritter hasn't had much time to make an impression and could be easily overlooked.