Taylor Schilling

2014 Emmy Preview: Outstanding Lead Actress Comedy

Over the weekend we discussed the rapid decline of the Lead Actor in a Comedy series category, which has led to an era of dominance by Jim Parsons. This category is on the verge of having an actress win it three years in a row. However, unlike her male counterpart it is not from a dearth of competition, but rather sheer brilliance. The only question to ask in this category is can anyone stop Julia Louis-Dreyfus?

Nominees

When you come at the Queen, you best not miss.

When you come at the Queen, you best not miss.

 

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep” (1/4) – Emmy royalty, she has won four awards and received 15 nominations, eight for lead and seven for supporting actress in a comedy series. All signs point to her taking home a fifth golden statute tomorrow night. Veep is the best comedy on television and Dreyfus is the main reason why. The way she rips through the profanity laced Iannucci dialogue or plays Selina Meyer’s determination to matter in Washington is pure gold. Right now she is playing in a higher league than the rest of her competition.

Taylor Schilling, “Orange is the New Black” (9/2) – Fan opinion is split on Piper Chapman as a character. Count me amongst the fans, as a suburban boy she reminds me of home. But even the haters must admit that Schilling’s performance is impressive and worthy of a nomination. It is hard to match Jenji Kohan’s last leading lady, Mary Louise Parker from Weeds, but Schilling seems to have a great grasp of Kohan’s wry sense of humor and brings it out in her performance.

Amy Poehler, “Parks and Recreation” (7/1) – This was Poehler’s worst season on the show, which is still better than 99% of the female leads in comedies. Another black mark on the Emmy’s record. It astonishes me that Poehler has never one for playing Leslie Knope a character that against all odds has become more iconic than Michael Scott from The Office. Over the past six seasons no one has been better at making an audience run the gambit of emotions than Poehler as Knope. She makes us laugh, cry, get angry, laugh even harder, feel embarrassed, and then laugh harder than we thought possible. Sadly it appears,  just like Carrell, Poehler will never take home the gold.

Lena Dunahm, “Girls” (30/1) – I hate Dunham with a fiery passion, but that she brings such passion out of me may speak to the level of talent she has. I’m just not sure if my hatred is jealousy or because she actually sucks. It is a complicated matter and I need to explore my feelings on it further before I decide if she is worthy of this nomination.tumblr_mp5tiekfvN1r0dgn4o1_500

Melissa McCarthy, “Mike and Molly” (30/1) – Everyone loves Melissa McCarthy. Except for Jenny McCarthy, but that is a complicated story. She is a bona fide movie star that seems to crap out hundreds of millions in box office. But that does not mean she is delivering an Emmy worthy performance on TV. First off, the material she is given is not nearly up to the caliber she deserves. This shouldn’t count against her, but it only allows her to glide by on tired gags. Emmy voters quickly realized that Jason Segal’s movie success did not translate to a stellar performance on How I Met Your Mother and must do the same with McCarthy. This will be the last year she gets nominated.

Edie Falco, “Nurse Jackie” (30/1) – Falco sneaks in to the field because she has won this award playing this character before and she is a phenomenal actress. However, Nurse Jackie is suffering creative fatigue and Falco has been forced to cycle through the same character beats as earlier in its run. Again, this is not her fault, but it also lessens the appeal of the role.

Snubs

Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson, “Broad City” – An Emmy first is needed, nominate a pair of actress for one spot. Broad City is the best new comedy of the year and also the comedy that made me laugh the hardest. The credit all goes to Glazer and Jacobson who not only serve as the show’s stars, but its creators as well. The majority of scenes in the show feature just the two of them improving off one another. Their chemistry is unmatched on TV today and it is impossible to separate them.

Rossum has grown to outshine the immensely talented William H Macy on Shameless.

Rossum has grown to outshine the immensely talented William H Macy on Shameless.

 

Emmy Rossum, “Shameless” – This is a tough year for Shameless to submit in the comedy category. It spent the previous three seasons in drama, while being a twisted dark comedy about a family surviving on Chicago’s South Side. Then switched to comedy and delivered its most dramatic season yet as the weight that the Gallaghers have been holding up all came crashing down on top of them. The focal point of this crash was Rossum’s Fiona whom nearly killed her toddler brother by leaving cocaine out on the table, then proceeded to have a prison arc of her own, but without all the humor that Schilling got to play with on Orange is the New Black. Never the less, comedic or not, Rossum deserves more recognition for her work on the underrated Shameless.

Best Bet

There is a great case to be made for a Schilling win. Orange is the New Black is a trendy new show that has a groundswell of support and might have a huge night, racking up award after award. Schilling could very well be a beneficiary of that support and topple Queen Dreyfus. But in reality talking up anyone else in this category is like betting on Floyd Mayweather’s next opponent. Yeah, it sounds fun and tempting to correctly pick the man that takes him down, but in the end Money Mayweather is going to win by decision. Bet big on Dreyfus.

Should Win 

Dreyfus is the Queen, but Veep has a tremendous supporting cast, while Glazer and Jacobson carry the show on their own. Yes, it is cheating to pick a pair over one person, but it takes something special like this to topple a legend. And while Veep is a better overall show, no one made me laugh harder than Jacobson and Glazer on Broad City.

Will Win 

This is the biggest lock of the night. Dreyfus makes it a three peat. You’re welcome Pat Riley. She is just too good and Emmy voters love her too much for anyone to beat her.

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