Emmys 2012: The Supporting Comedy Actress Race in Review, Including Our Dream Nominees
Kristen Bell, House of Lies
Pro: Snarky and conflicted, Jeannie's redeeming grace is that Bell plays her with such commitment. That's also the main reason that you didn't feel that dirty cheering for her merger-stopping drunken toast at the end of the show's inaugural season.
Con:Lies didn't quite live up to its early buzz; despite Bell's solid performance, the series' uneven freshman outing might hurt her chances for a nomination.
Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory
Pro: In Bialik's second season on the show, Amy continued to prove an entertaining counterpart for socially stunted Sheldon, and capped it by holding his hand in the finale.
Con: Bialik was great last season, too, but got no Emmy love. This year could be more of the same.
Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Pro: After Claire's mishap-plagued campaign for city council, 2011 winner Bowen will most assuredly be in the running again this year.
Con: Even Claire's creepy grief grin won't stop Bowen from getting her third nomination.
Alison Brie, Community
Pro: Brie's broad talent — watch her as tightly wound Annie and it's hard to imagine her as Mad Men housewife Trudy, and vice-versa — is one of Community's greatest strengths. That's probably why the Critics' Choice Television Awards nominated her this year.
Con: It pains us to say this, but the underdog comedy will be lucky to score a nod for Outstanding Craft Services in a Comedy Series.
Yvette Nicole Brown, Community
Pro: Even before her anime alter ego appeared, we would've given Brown a nomination for her work in "Foosball and Nocturnal Vigilantism." Who knew sweet Shirley had such a competitive and dark past?
Con: One of the less-talked-about members of the Community cast, Brown and her talents tend to fly under the radar.
Anna Chlumsky, Veep
Pro: Everyone loves a success story, and former child star Chlumsky showed she's grown into quite the comedic actress on a show with heaps of critical acclaim.
Con: With the Veep focus on Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Chlumsky may stay as behind-the-scenes as the chief of staff she plays.
Eliza Coupe, Happy Endings
Pro: Coupe's take on perfectionist Jane is equal parts silly and sweet, with some screwball thrown in — the "spring smackdown" comes to mind.
Con: The same con for co-star Casey Wilson applies here, too. (Editorial note: Boo.)
Cheryl Hines, Suburgatory
Pro: Hines' portrayal of image-obsessed mama Dallas is even more entertaining than her performance on Curb Your Enthusiasm, for which she received two nods.
Con:Suburgatory's amazing ensemble may actually work against Hines' chances; Allie Grant, Carly Chaikin and Ana Gasteyer are just as deserving, and rather than single one actress out, Emmy voters may avoid the group all together.
Gillian Jacobs, Community
Pro: After the way she played Britta's battles with Chang and her failed attempt at grief counseling, it's no wonder that Jacobs recently nabbed a Critics' Choice Television Awards nomination.
Con:Community and its cast are Emmy long-shots.
Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock
Pro: In the sitcom's sixth season, Krakowski pushed Jenna's absurdist limits without losing her fame-monger core. Also, she's been nominated for the past three years.
Con: Emmy voters may feel 30 Rock‘s time has passed.
Diane Ladd, Enlightened
Pro: Ladd masterfully provides ballast as her Helen weathers daughter Amy's emotional hurricanes.
Con: The veteran actress, whose prior nominations were for guest spots, plays a very buttoned-up character; such a reserved performance might get lost among her more attention-grabbing peers.
Jane Lynch, Glee
Pro: Despite the con argument below, 2010 winner Lynch is the Glee cast member most likely to grab a nomination.
Con: Coach Sylvester's one-liners and nicknames were in full effect this season, but Lynch basically twiddled her thumbs as the McKinley seniors prepped for graduation.
Heather Morris, Glee
Pro: As the less snarky (and, let's admit it, less intelligent) half of Brittana, Morris sold us on the idea that she and Naya Rivera's Santana were perfect for each other.
Con: Morris didn't do much this season aside from serving as Santana's Sapphic arm candy. That, coupled with Emmy's gradual cooling on the song-and-dance show, could leave her nomination-less once more.
Busy Philipps, Cougar Town
Pro: It's time to give Philipps, who has elevated sidekickery to an artform, some credit for shaping Laurie into the cake-making ball of fun she is.
Con: Three seasons on Cougar Town with no nominations might mean another nod-less Emmy year for Philipps.
Aubrey Plaza, Parks and Recreation
Pro: April did some growing up this year (settled into married life, actually acted like she cared about her job) and Plaza's portrayal of the former intern took on some nice subtleties. Still funny as heck, too.
Con: Among Parks and Rec's funny women, leading lady Amy Poehler tends to dominate; never-nominated Plaza could get overlooked if Emmy voters focus on her on-screen boss.
Melissa Rauch, The Big Bang Theory
Pro: Rauch was admirable in a season-long wedding arc that ended right as Bernadette saw new husband Howard launch into space.
Con: It's the same problem that will likely plague co-star Mayim Bialik: Because they're on a show about nerdy guys, the ladies — no matter how talented — tend to fade into the background.
Naya Rivera, Glee
Pro: This season, Rivera handled her tough-talking character's even tougher storyline — a family freak-out over her being gay — with aplomb.
Con: Like co-star Chris Colfer, Rivera's best scenes this year were too dramatic to qualify as comedy, which might keep her out of the running.
Maya Rudolph, Up All Night
Pro: After Bridesmaids' success, the NBC sitcom was retooled to put an emphasis on Rudolph's self-aggrandizing Ava. Smart move, Up All Night.
Con: The talented Rudolph spent more than a decade getting laughs on Saturday Night Live without a single nomination to show for it. It's conceivable that her first season in a sitcom will go unrecognized, too.
Eden Sher, The Middle
Pro: Sher has a knack for playing Sue's middle-child neuroses with a winning, unflagging optimism. Plus, a guest-host spot on The View revealed her fun, up-for-anything side.
Con: Because Sher's more established co-stars tend to get the little buzz that The Middle generates, she's at a disadvantage for making the nominee list.
Hannah Simone, New Girl
Pro: Simone took two-dimensional CeCe and turned her from a bitchy model into someone we actually cared about. (Bedding Schmidt didn't hurt.)
Con: All of the supporting buzz about Girl has centered on its guy cast members, and even if Simone threatened to crazy murder the Academy, we doubt it would help her nomination chances.
Catherine Tate, The Office
Pro: British comedienne Tate came into her own as the usurping Nellie, whose tangles with Andy energized The Office's eighth season.
Con:Office fans either loved Nellie or they hated her. If Tate had the same polarizing effect on Emmy voters, she might be sunk.
Sofia Vegara, Modern Family
Pro: There's no reason why Vergara, whose Gloria can get a laugh with a mispronounced syllable, shouldn't repeat her 2010 and 2011 nods.
Con: Like we said above, though she may ultimately lose to co-star Julie Bowen (Claire), this lady's a lock for a nomination.
Merritt Wever, Nurse Jackie
Pro: Wever's kooky Zoey provides Showtime's dark comedy with a bubbly lightness it definitely needs. And with this season's big developments in her relationship with Lenny, 2012 may be the year Wever gets her first Emmy nod.
Con: If Emmy voters aren't into Wever's offbeat take on the nursing student, it's unlikely she'll join the list of nominees.
Betty White, Hot in Cleveland
Pro: White has a string of nominations dating back to the 1950s, and she was on the list last year for her portrayal of Cleveland's grand dame, Elka. Trust us, she'll be there again this year.
Con: There's no chance TV vet White won't be asked to the party.
Kristen Wiig, Saturday Night Live
Pro: Wiig's post-Bridesmaids season was also her last one on the NBC institution; there's a good chance that Emmy voters will reward the rising star's seven-year run with a nomination.
Con: See above. There's almost no way the thrice-nominated Wiig's name won't be announced on nomination morning.
Casey Wilson, Happy Endings
Pro: Wilson's had some a-mah-zing scenes this season, as Penny figured out that she did, indeed, have feelings for Dave. Also, her character can be so pathetic, it'd be a crime not to toss a nod Wilson's way.
Con:Endings hasn't been able to attract Emmy's attention yet, making it all the easier to abbrev Wilson right out of the competition.