Aside from Ramy Youssef, this category is loaded with veteran names. Anderson, Cheadle, Danson, Douglas and Levy are a formidable quintet making up the field for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, who have all been in this category before, but only one of them has previously prevailed—and not for the show in which he currently stars (that would be you , Ted Danson). The winner here for the past two years was Bill Hader, but his show took this season off, leaving a ripe opportunity for change. Let’s look at the contenders in both Lead and Supporting Actor Comedy categories and see who gets the Pete’s Winner Pick stamp.
This is the sixth season for the hit ABC sitcom, and the sixth consecutive nomination for Anderson, a perpetual nominee but never a winner. If he wants to take heart, though, he should get advice from a fellow nominee, Ted Danson, who only won his first Emmy on his eighth nomination for Cheers. He proved you don’t have to be eternally overlooked, and, hopefully, that will be the case for Anderson, who’s so good it’s easy to pass him by.
Talking about being passed by—look no further than Don Cheadle, now on his 10th Emmy nomination but still looking for a first win. This is his second consecutive nomination for the Showtime series, but previously he had four more for another comedy series, House of Lies, so he is no stranger to this particular category. A well-liked actor, Cheadle could win for that reason alone.
The Good Place
This is Danson’s 18th Emmy nomination since first being recognized in this category for Cheers in 1983. As mentioned earlier, it took him seven more times before finally winning the gold in 1990, and then another three nods before gaining a second Emmy in 1993, but it has been nearly 30 years since a victory and Danson could certainly be sentimental favorite.
The Kominsky Method
Douglas won an Emmy for playing Liberace in the TV movie Behind the Candelabra in 2013, and this is his second nomination, as the acting teacher Sandy in the Chuck Lorre dramedy. Despite being a movie star, Douglas is certainly no stranger to Emmys—early in his career, he had three consecutive nominations for his role in The Streets of San Francisco. He won a Golden Globe for Kominsky in its first season but missed out on the Emmy. Maybe this time?
The beloved Levy has really hit his stride with this series. A two-time Emmy winner for his writing work on SCTV, Levy’s nominations here last year and again this year are—believe it or not—his first ever for acting roles. He is definitely the favorite to take this, especially since voters won’t get another chance.
The star of the self-titled series won the Golden Globe earlier this year on his first time out, and now he is not only a first-time nominee in this category, he’s also a nominee in the comedy directing category as well. Youssef is the only contender here who’s a true-blue first timer, and if this distinguished group of nominees should manage to cancel themselves out, Ramy can expect a big night.
Oscar winners, acting veterans, multiple Emmy champs, past drama series nominees, an SNL cast member, and a chip off the old block make up the list of contenders here. Starting with the latter, Daniel Levy—son of Eugene, and co-creator of Schitt’s Creek—is the man of the hour at the Emmys, as this is just one of his four nominations this year for the show. Given that he has several chances to win, maybe he’ll give a break to someone else. Keep an eye on Oscar winner Mahershala Ali, so drolly fine in Ramy, although, personally, I would love to see Alan Arkin take it for his touching and funny turn on The Kominsky Method.
Previous multiple Emmy winners Andre Braugher (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) and Sterling K. Brown (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) obviously have their fans too, as does four-time winner and reigning champ Tony Shalhoub, also for Maisel. William Jackson Harper (The Good Place), and the ever-talented Kenan Thompson (Saturday Night Live) round out the category.
The Winner: Daniel Levy, Schitt’s Creek
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