If that SNL exit buzz is to be believed, this could be the final year Studio 8H staples Kate McKinnon and Cecily Strong find themselves in Emmy’s Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series race for their work on NBC’s late-night institution. McKinnon already has two wins under her belt (in 2016 and 2017), while Strong — who snagged a nomination last year alongside McKinnon — would be gunning for her first trophy.
In a perfect — one might even say Dream Emmy— world, Academy members would throw some love Ego Nwodim’s way. For our money, she was this season’s SNL MVP.
Scroll through the list below to see who is joining Nwodim on our Dream Emmy short list (remember, these aren’t predictions; they’re wish lists) and then tell us if our picks warrant a “Hell, yes!,” “Um, no” or “How could you leave off so-and-so?!”
For the record, 2021 Emmy nominations will be voted on from June 17-28, and unveiled on July 13. The 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony is scheduled to air on Sunday, Sept. 19 on CBS.
Scroll down for links to our previous Dream Emmy categories:
Outstanding Drama Series — Our 7 Dream Nominees
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series — Our 7 Dream Nominees
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series — Our 8 Dream Nominees
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series — Our 8 Dream Nominees
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series — Our 7 Dream Nominees
Outstanding Comedy Series — Our 7 Dream Nominees
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series — Our 7 Dream Nominees
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series — Our 7 Dream Nominees
NAOMI ACKIE, MASTER OF NONE
WHY SHE DESERVES A NOD: Ackie brought undeniable emotional depth to Season 3 of Master of None as Denise’s eventual ex-wife Alicia. The British-born thespian’s strongest moments came in Episode 4, which chronicled Alicia’s harrowing IVF journey. In one scene, a hormonal Alicia cried about a margarine commercial, and in another, she inspired her doctor and herself by declaring “bad bitch” status. Through every high and low, Ackie kept us so rapt that when she finally realized her dream, it felt like our dream, too.
GABRIELLE DENNIS, A BLACK LADY SKETCH SHOW
WHY SHE DESERVES A NOD: Hey, if SNL can dominate this category every year with its ensemble players, we don’t see why A Black Lady Sketch Show can’t join in on the fun. The HBO series draws much of its strength from the ridiculously gifted Dennis, who can be a dolled-up glamour girl in one sketch and a hard-ass gang member in the next. Sometimes she even transforms within the same sketch! (Check out the Season 2 highlight “Age Aunt Nothing But a Number” for proof of that.)
EGO NWODIM, SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE
WHY SHE DESERVES A NOD: In her third season, Nwodim proved herself an essential cast member with multiple breakout characters, including R&B legend-turned-Twitter phenom Dionne Warwick and freshly vaxxed boomer Edith Puthie. But her best work of all came late in Season 46, when she appeared as Pauline, a weary mother in her darkest hour. Her spiel about Disneyland — “Why is that hussy so tired?” she asked of Sleeping Beauty. “She don’t have kids!” — was the stuff of Weekend Update legend.
PAULA PELL, GIRLS5EVA
WHY SHE DESERVES A NOD: Gloria may be the least glamorous member of the revived girl group at the center of Peacock’s chaotic comedy — she’s a dentist now, after all — but Pell reliably delivered the laughs as the quartet’s deadpan weirdo. A longtime writer for SNL, Pell has been branching out into acting lately, and thank goodness she has, because she stole scenes left and right, bringing the earthy bass that made Girls5eva’s harmonies really sing.
WANDA SYKES, THE UPSHAWS
WHY SHE DESERVES A NOD: Let’s be real, Sykes can recite the dictionary and make it funny. That said, she was a force as Lucretia in the first season of Netflix’s family comedy. Whether she was delivering acidic comebacks to Bernie’s (Mike Epps) many insults, showing her family and friends tough love, outsmarting those who tried to take advantage of her or owning up to her stubbornness, Lucretia was a complex woman who dialed up the comedy in every scene, thanks to Sykes’ standout performance.
JUNO TEMPLE, TED LASSO
WHY SHE DESERVES A NOD: When we first met Keeley Jones, it was tempting to pigeonhole her as a Page 3 Girl who had embedded herself among AFC Richmond, as Jamie Tartt’s sometime squeeze. But we, coach Ted and even team owner Rebecca Welton — one to suffer no fools — came to realize that Keeley was in fact a force of nature, as Temple imbued the savvy social media maven with endearing layers and a heart as big as a pitch. Tired of being chewed up by the U.K. gossip mill, Keeley proved her worth to the team — while also melting grouchy Roy Kent’s heart.
HANNAH WADDINGHAM, TED LASSO
WHY SHE DESERVES A NOD: Once Rebecca Welton’s agenda became clear — to tank her ex-husband’s team by installing an American rube as its coach — you were fixing to root against her. But from the moment that Rebecca took a considered (and apparently mind-blowing!) bite of Ted’s gifted biscuits, we knew that AFC Richmond’s owner was on track for a turnaround. Waddingham, though, didn’t tip her hand straight away; no, Rebecca kept Ted’s sincere charms at arm’s length, until — in one of Waddingham and Jason Sudeikis’ finest scenes — she helped him off the proverbial ledge, amidst his panic attack.