Saturday, May 18, 2024

Looking At The 2023 Emmy Race For Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series

Voting for the 75th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards is still underway, so the conversation is growing regarding specific contenders’ momentum and who will eventually be nominated for an Emmy. However, one category I was to analyze closer is Outstanding Supporting Actress in A Comedy Series. There are familiar faces who will most likely be returning nominees. However, other talented newcomers are also in play, making this one of the more competitive categories this year.

Sheryl Lee Ralph, Janelle James & Lisa Ann Walters – “Abbott Elementary”
Last year’s supporting actress award was one of the shocking wins of the evening, as veteran actress Sheryl Lee Ralph took home her first prestigious telecast award for her performance as Barbra Howard in “Abbott Elementary.” As surprising as the win was, awards season proved to us Sheryl Lee Ralph wasn’t just a one-time fluke, with her winning again for the Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series category at the Critics Choice Awards and receiving a Golden Globe nomination. Sheryl Lee Ralph soon rose in mainstream appeal with her impactful awards speeches and phenomenal work in season 2 of “Abbott Elementary.” The second season gave her more material to work with both the comedy and heart of her character and her relationship with the show’s star, Janine Teagues (Quinta Brunson). The increasing success and word-of-mouth buzz surrounding “Abbott Elementary” indicate that the show may become a juggernaut at this year’s Emmy Awards, which may result in double-digit nominations. This momentum and the show’s likely chances of winning the Outstanding Comedy Series prize can put Sheryl Lee Ralph back on that stage for a consecutive win. But even with all of the goodwill on her side, Sheryl Lee Ralph is by no means a lock to win the category due to other contenders who could also take the award home.

Janelle James will likely return to compete for the win as the scene-stealing Principal, Ava Coleman, in “Abbott Elementary.” Janelle James was one of the heavy favorites in last year’s Emmy season, confidently predicted by many pundits and awards prognosticators for the category. It wouldn’t be a total surprise if she gained the same momentum again for the show’s second season. While Sheryl Lee Ralph is spectacular, the character lacks a certain level of development outside of her comedic genius, unlike her co-stars, Lisa Ann Walters and Melissa Schemmenti, who were given more of a look at their personal lives and struggles both in and out of the classroom. Lisa Ann Walters is another veteran actress who has put in the work over four decades with credits including “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “Glow,” which could also lead to a nomination for her in this category. But the nomination may just be the win for Lisa Ann Walter, as Janelle James has already started planting the seeds of familiarity with voters if another co-star from “Abbott Elementary” were to win.

Hannah Waddingham – “Ted Lasso”
Whether you loved where the direction “Ted Lasso’s” third season took or not, it’s hard to deny that the series finale wasn’t a satisfying emotional experience for those who have followed the show since the beginning. This includes the performance of previous Emmy Award winner Hannah Waddingham, who displays some of her best work in the series as Rebecca Welton in her character’s resolution. She previously won the award at the 73rd Annual Emmys in 2021 for the series’ debut season and received another nomination for season 2, which makes her no stranger to voters. Additionally, with “Ted Lasso” potentially being the runner-up in the Outstanding Comedy Series category (and still contending for a win), the likelihood of other cast members receiving nominations puts Waddingham back in a position to return to the ceremony for a third time.

Ayo Edibiri – “The Bear”
When it comes to rising new stars who continue to excel and exceed in 2023, Ayo Edibiri instantly comes to mind. She has been literally everywhere this year, from her work on “Abbott Elementary,” to the South By Southwest film “Bottoms,” to her recent appearance in “Black Mirror” and her upcoming work in “Theater Camp” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” But it’s her performance in “The Bear” that has grabbed people’s attention. Her work is nothing short of excellent as the sous-chef, Sydney Adamu, as she holds her own very well against the show’s lead star, Jeremy Allen White. Edibiri might be the new kid on the block with this year’s Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series, as this would be her first nomination. However, audiences have seen actresses in this category repeatedly win on their first nominations in recent years, such as Sheryl Lee Ralph, Hannah Waddingam, and Alex Borstein. Nevertheless, those actresses are considered veteran performers who worked decades in the industry to build up to those career-winning narratives. Ayo Edibiri is a great actress who is just getting started, but if the release of season two of “The Bear” is as great as season one, it would help in her case to contend for a win. Jeremy Allen White’s current winning streak at awards shows in the Lead Actor category is placing more attention on Edibiri. Therefore, if White continues to sweep the category, that could be enough to bring Edibiri along as a surprising dark horse winner. Additionally, if Edibiri gets two nominations for “The Bear” and her guest role in “Abbott Elementary,” it could put her in a powerful place where she could be considered too big for Television Academy voters to ignore.

Other Contenders
There are other contenders, such as Alex Borstein (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel“), Juno Temple (“Ted Lasso“), and Sarah Goldberg (“Barry“), who are more likely to round out the category as nominees rather than competing for an actual win like the ladies mentioned above. Alex Borstein has won twice for her fabulous performance as the witty potty mouth manager Susie Myerson. But to say the Television Academy might have moved on from awarding her for that character isn’t far-fetched, given how she hasn’t won since 2019 for the show’s second season. Juno Temple may once again be in the shadow of co-star Hannah Waddingham. It also doesn’t help that her character, Keeley Jones, has experienced some of the season’s biggest criticisms with the direction of her character and story arc. Sarah Goldberg is no stranger to this category, having received a nomination for “Barry’s” second season, and would be very fortunate to return for one last nomination, especially after inexcusably missing out on a nomination for season three, which some would argue was her most passionate and raw work on the show to date.

All of these actresses have the benefit of their shows ending and the added publicity and sentimentality that comes with it. Still, their potential nominations might be the farthest each goes in this year’s race. And then there’s newcomer Jessica Williams for Apple TV’s new comedy show “Shrinking,” who could easily slide in if one of these other ladies doesn’t make it this year. It’s just a question of whether or not the Television Academy is ready to go all-in on the new show or not.

Right now, my current nomination predictions for Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series are…

Sheryl Lee Ralph – “Abbott Elementary” (ABC)
Hannah Waddingham – “Ted Lasso” (Apple TV+)
Ayo Edebiri – “The Bear” (Hulu)
Janelle James – “Abbott Elementary” (ABC)
Alex Borstein – “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (Amazon Prime Video)
Juno Temple – “Ted Lasso” (Apple TV+)
Lisa Ann Walter – “Abbott Elementary” (ABC)

Who do you think will be nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series? Please let us know in the comments section below or on our Twitter account, and be sure to check out our latest Emmy Nomination predictions here.

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Isaiah Washington
Isaiah Washington
Aspiring Screenwriter & awards season junkie. If you don't hear from me, I'm probably busy watching a film.

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