10 Comedic Actresses Who Deserve An Emmy Nomination In 2015
Female comedians definitely don’t get the same due as their male counterparts, which is unfair given that many of these women are actually funnier. Yet with the Emmys, this is their chance to shine and the ladies who are the most talked about for a nomination have done just that over the past year. Whether it’s the reigning champ Julia Louis-Dreyfus or a newcomer like Gina Rodriguez, this could be one of the most talented group of nominees the Emmys have put up in some time. Here’s a look at a few who you should be watching regardless of who ultimately takes the top prize.
Disclaimer: Many of these entries include mild spoilers so, if you are not caught up, you may want be careful navigating certain entries.
Bonus: Lisa Kudrow –The Comeback
The former Friends star and Emmy winner didn’t wait long to pick a follow-up project to the long running NBC series as the next year she signed with HBO for The Comeback. Though it only lasted a season, it was a critical hit and became a cult favorite netting Kudrow another Emmy nomination. Last year, HBO gave it a second life in a limited run event format and now she could repeat that award show success.
The female comedy race is usually tight as it’s arguably a stronger field than on the men’s side with names like Melissa McCarthy, Amy Poehler and Julia Louis-Dreyfus normally dominating the proceedings. It’s not totally out of the realm that Kudrow could re-claim a nomination, but it will be a little tougher. Regardless her Comeback shows she’s still got it!
10. Lena Dunham – Girls
The Girls star is multi-talented and able to succeed on both sides of the camera, but it’s been interesting watching her show lose steam during award season the last few cycles. While Dunham herself is outspoken, her work speaks for itself and it brought a breath of fresh air to HBO and the Emmy race when it first debuted in April of 2012.
This year, the odds looked just as stacked against the series, but voters will likely make up for the snub by keeping Dunham in the mix for writing and acting. She may be a polarizing figure, but she’s definitely got allies and she definitely keeps things interesting…which given the predictability of the Emmys themselves is a good thing.
9. Melissa McCarthy – Mike & Molly
CBS knows it helped launch the career of Melissa McCarthy as, despite her previous role on Gilmore Girls and breakout success with Bridesmaids, it was Mike & Molly that really kept her front and center with the public. As a result, no matter how much lower the series’ ratings get, network executives will keep it on until her contract expires. That’s good news for viewers as those who do watch the series regularly know how enjoyable it is on a weekly basis.
McCarthy’s been nominated three out of the last four years and even took home the prize during her first time in contention. Her snub during the 2012-2013 season was an odd outlier and one that many don’t expect to occur very often in the future. Between McCarthy and Mom’s Allison Janney, the network has two of the most reliable and solid female actresses on TV and voters have clearly recognized it.
8. Constance Wu – Fresh Off The Boat
Fresh Off The Boat didn’t have the most auspicious start as its timeslot made it a self-starter, which is dangerous for any rookie series. Yet audiences tuned into it to start and many stayed around for the full run, earning it a second season. A lot of the credit goes to Constance Wu, who plays the show’s matriarch.
A tiger mother in every sense of the word, Wu’s character struggles to understand a lot of the traditional suburban traditions. The humor is in the way she tries to adapt to the situation and make it suit her own system. Wu’s also just funny and has a great sense of comedic timing. Boat didn’t start the season on anyone’s radar but thanks to Wu it certainly ended it that way.
7. Jane Fonda/ Lily Tomlin – Grace & Frankie
It’s hard to separate the two because both women clearly know how to act. Fonda is a two-time Oscar winner and Tomlin is a five-time Emmy winner, so when you put the two together its clear what the result will likely be.
Netflix’s Grace & Frankie has already been renewed for a second season and, given the star appeal of both leading ladies, it is no great mystery as to why that is the case. The series also has a fun premise that gives the pair a lot to work with every episode (plus talented co-stars in Sam Waterson and Martin Sheen). While critics had some issues with the show itself, they mostly acknowledged how enjoyable it was for the former 9 to 5 stars to be reunited on-screen again and it’s a safe bet many voters may feel the same way.
6. Edie Falco – Nurse Jackie
If you think about it, Nurse Jackie is a comedy the same way Shameless is, but you have to give Showtime credit for knowing how to work the system. Yet while Shameless has had some issues getting nominations, Nurse Jackie hasn’t had the same problem.
Falco’s been nominated every year the series has been on the air and that trend won’t likely stop this year. With her win for the series back in 2010 and her multiple wins for The Sopranos, Falco is a Emmy rarity…a winner in both genres. It’s no easy feat that this immense talent has not gotten lost on voters. With Nurse Jackie ending, there’s also the nostalgia factor that could come into play as the Emmys, a lot of time, like to reward their old favorites during their swan song seasons and that could come into play again here.
5. Amy Schumer – Inside Amy Schumer
Amy Schumer as an Emmy nominee for acting…those are words many never thought would be written. And it’s not from lack of talent as Schumer is one of today’s strongest and smartest comedians, but many weren’t sure if voters would gravitate towards her humor.
Last year though, they did and nominated her and her writing team for her Comedy Central sketch series Inside Amy Schumer. Granted it was just one nomination, but it could very well be the first of many to come as all it takes sometimes is just a little push in the right direction. Even if Schumer doesn’t break through, her series has a solid chance of earning nominations as well which, while not a win, an individual nomination is still a step in the right direction.
4. Amy Poehler – Parks & Recreation
It’s become a running joke that Poehler gets nominated and never wins (in fact she and buddy Jon Hamm even created a “non-winners” party following the annual event). The irony here is that it’s actually not funny that she doesn’t win.
Poehler has been nominated over a dozen times since 2008 and she’s never once won. It’s mind-boggling and confusing how one of TV’s brightest stars has never been given the highest recognition in the business. Parks & Recreation was not a perfect show to start and it barely survived long enough to right the ship…but it did. People stuck with the show because they liked the cast, which was headlined by Poehler. With the series going off the air, the actress deserves her moment in the spotlight…hopefully voters will finally agree.
3. Ellie Kemper – Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
As a series, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt took an unorthodox road to the screen including a pick-up at NBC before eventually shifting to Netflix. Yet, regardless of the network it airs on, both saw the star appeal in lead actress Ellie Kemper.
From Bridemaids to The Office, Kemper has been on the road to the next level for some time and this series is going to elevate her ever further. Created by another top comedienne in Tina Fey (and her longtime partner Robert Carlock) the series made an instant splash with the media. Then again, most things that air on Netflix tend to make a splash…which usually also gets on the Emmy’s radar. Kemper could join the party in just her first year of contention and she’ll be one of the most likeable additions to the red carpet festivities if that’s the case.
2. Gina Rodriguez – Jane The Virgin
Speaking of likeability, audiences can’t help but cheer for Gina Rodriguez, the breakout star The CW’s Jane The Virgin who could give the network its first Emmy nomination in a major category.
The CW’s been waiting forever to get into the Emmy game. The problem is every time executives think they have the next big thing, it fizzles with voters. With Jane The Virgin, that momentum came quicker than expected and the momentum behind it held solid. While the show itself faces an uphill climb for a nomination, Rodriguez is in prime position to become part of that next generation of talented females dominating the airwaves. For The CW’s sake, let’s just hope the show stays strong in season two and doesn’t trail off like previous Emmy favorite Ugly Betty did a few years ago.
1. Julia Louis-Dreyfus – Veep
Realistically it’s going to be hard to top Julia Louis-Dreyfus, as Veep is such a well put together series that is anchored firmly around her. What makes Louis-Dreyfus so talented though is that she’s able to work off her ensemble so both sides come off stronger. It’s that type of very symbiotic relationship that has made the series so successful for HBO.
Of course, Louis-Dreyfus is no stranger to Emmy love as like Edie Falco, she’s also a Emmy rarity. Over her established career, the actress has won the award for three different series (including Seinfeld and The New Adventures of Old Christine). It’s hard to get one successful series on the air and this woman has had three (with likely more to come in future years). Remember how Candice Bergen pulled her name out of contention to let someone who actually has a shot at winning have a better chance? Well that may be the only way someone’s able to eventually top Louis-Dreyfus.