Pete Hammond’s Emmy Predictions 2021: Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series – Will Voters Make The Smart Choice In A Strong Field?

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·11 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Like the Lead Comedy Actor group, this category only sports five nominees, including veterans Tracee Ellis Ross and Allison Janney, but also two new HBO Max shows providing sensational roles for a couple of TV sitcom veterans. Deservedly, the Emmy last year went to Catherine O’Hara of Schitt’s Creek, showing that voters do like to honor their icons when they can. However, this is a category that usually resists change: Julia Louis Dreyfus won it six times in a row for Veep, and Candice Bergen took it five times in a row for Murphy Brown. This year there is one former Emmy winner who carries the odds to be back in the winner’s circle for a new show that broke just as the season came to an end. Here is the rundown of the nominees and then scroll down for the predicted winner, followed by analysis and a predicted winner in the corresponding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series category.

<img class="size-medium wp-image-1234684236" src="https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/AidyBryant.png?w=300&quot; alt=" - Credit: NBC" width="300" height="162" srcset="https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/AidyBryant.png 1967w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/AidyBryant.png?resize=150,81 150w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/AidyBryant.png?resize=300,162 300w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/AidyBryant.png?resize=1024,553 1024w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/AidyBryant.png?resize=1536,830 1536w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/AidyBryant.png?resize=60,32 60w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/AidyBryant.png?resize=352,190 352w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/AidyBryant.png?resize=110,59 110w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/AidyBryant.png?resize=285,154 285w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/AidyBryant.png?resize=320,173 320w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/AidyBryant.png?resize=640,346 640w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/AidyBryant.png?resize=800,432 800w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/AidyBryant.png?resize=1280,692 1280w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" />NBC

More from Deadline

Aidy Bryant, Shrill

Bryant is just fine in this Hulu comedy, but how many voters have even seen it? Her nomination was a surprise, but the less competitive nature of the category, and the fact several shows that might have made the cut were not on the air this season, helped her get this bid. Good as she is, there is little chance of winning. Voters love her though, and she is also up for SNL in supporting.

<img class="size-medium wp-image-1234821770" src="https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/kaely-cuoco-credit-colin-hutton.jpg?w=300&quot; alt=" - Credit: Collin Hutton/HBO Max" width="300" height="200" srcset="https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/kaely-cuoco-credit-colin-hutton.jpg 1920w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/kaely-cuoco-credit-colin-hutton.jpg?resize=150,100 150w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/kaely-cuoco-credit-colin-hutton.jpg?resize=300,200 300w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/kaely-cuoco-credit-colin-hutton.jpg?resize=1024,683 1024w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/kaely-cuoco-credit-colin-hutton.jpg?resize=1536,1024 1536w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/kaely-cuoco-credit-colin-hutton.jpg?resize=630,420 630w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/kaely-cuoco-credit-colin-hutton.jpg?resize=60,40 60w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/kaely-cuoco-credit-colin-hutton.jpg?resize=352,235 352w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/kaely-cuoco-credit-colin-hutton.jpg?resize=900,600 900w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/kaely-cuoco-credit-colin-hutton.jpg?resize=110,73 110w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/kaely-cuoco-credit-colin-hutton.jpg?resize=285,190 285w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/kaely-cuoco-credit-colin-hutton.jpg?resize=320,213 320w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/kaely-cuoco-credit-colin-hutton.jpg?resize=640,427 640w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/kaely-cuoco-credit-colin-hutton.jpg?resize=800,533 800w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/kaely-cuoco-credit-colin-hutton.jpg?resize=1280,853 1280w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" />Collin Hutton/HBO Max

Kaley Cuoco, The Flight Attendant

After 12 seasons of The Big Bang Theory, Cuoco took matters into her own hands, found Chris Bohjalian’s 2018 novel, took it to Warner Bros. and got a deal for her new series. Her efforts paid off: she landed it smoothly and got her first ever Emmy nomination for a role that takes her off into new directions, where the sky’s the limit. She could be a sleeper here, but there is some stiff competition on the flight path.

<img class="size-medium wp-image-1234571021" src="https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/allison-janney-in-mom.jpg?w=300&quot; alt=" - Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS" width="300" height="200" srcset="https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/allison-janney-in-mom.jpg 1000w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/allison-janney-in-mom.jpg?resize=150,100 150w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/allison-janney-in-mom.jpg?resize=300,200 300w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/allison-janney-in-mom.jpg?resize=630,420 630w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/allison-janney-in-mom.jpg?resize=60,40 60w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/allison-janney-in-mom.jpg?resize=352,235 352w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/allison-janney-in-mom.jpg?resize=900,600 900w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/allison-janney-in-mom.jpg?resize=110,73 110w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/allison-janney-in-mom.jpg?resize=285,190 285w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/allison-janney-in-mom.jpg?resize=320,213 320w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/allison-janney-in-mom.jpg?resize=640,427 640w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/allison-janney-in-mom.jpg?resize=800,534 800w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" />Monty Brinton/CBS

Allison Janney, Mom

Janney won a couple of supporting Emmys for the first couple of years of this great sitcom, but then decided to go for lead status, regularly earning more nominations (she has 15 in her career and seven wins). A win here could tie her with Cloris Leachman in rarefied territory, and the series gets to end on a high note. Will that be enough? Or do voters think Janney already has enough?

<img class="size-medium wp-image-1234821773" src="https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/158294_7299.jpg?w=300&quot; alt=" - Credit: ABC/Richard Cartwright" width="300" height="240" srcset="https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/158294_7299.jpg 3000w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/158294_7299.jpg?resize=150,120 150w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/158294_7299.jpg?resize=300,240 300w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/158294_7299.jpg?resize=1024,820 1024w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/158294_7299.jpg?resize=1536,1230 1536w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/158294_7299.jpg?resize=2048,1640 2048w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/158294_7299.jpg?resize=60,48 60w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/158294_7299.jpg?resize=352,282 352w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/158294_7299.jpg?resize=110,88 110w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/158294_7299.jpg?resize=285,228 285w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/158294_7299.jpg?resize=320,256 320w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/158294_7299.jpg?resize=600,480 600w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/158294_7299.jpg?resize=640,512 640w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/158294_7299.jpg?resize=749,600 749w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/158294_7299.jpg?resize=800,641 800w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/158294_7299.jpg?resize=959,768 959w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/158294_7299.jpg?resize=1280,1025 1280w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" />ABC/Richard Cartwright

Tracee Ellis Ross, Black-ish

Ross has proved herself and has been racking up Emmy nominations since 2016 for this sitcom, which only has one more year to go. Will voters wait to honor her on the final season, or will they throw what would be a major upset in the series’ seventh inning?

Jean Smart, Hacks

Smart has nailed the most memorable role of her career as Deborah Vance, an aging Vegas female comedian (think Joan Rivers meets Elayne Boosler with a bit of Debbie Reynolds), in this darkly funny and biting series. She’s so good in this it would be a shock if she doesn’t pick up a fourth career Emmy.

THE PREDICTED WINNER: JEAN SMART, HACKS. Not even close.

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES

Aidy Bryant has little chance of winning in the Lead category, and not much chance here either as one of three SNL nominees that also include two-time winner Kate McKinnon and another SNL vet Cecily Strong. I doubt any of them can win against some killer competition that also includes two more members of the Ted Lasso cast. Both are simply superb, but Hannah Waddingham as the team owner probably has the advantage over equally fine Juno Temple.

Rosie Perez is always fun to have on board and she doesn’t disappoint in The Flight Attendant, but for edgy brilliance check out Hannah Einbinder, who is the other ‘hack’ in Hacks—believe me, she goes toe-to-toe with Jean Smart, and that’s no small task. With 20 noms for Ted Lasso and 15 for Hacks, it comes down to a question of which new show got more eyeballs from Emmy voters. If Temple can pull just a few votes away from Waddingham, who has been a precursor favorite on the awards circuit, that could open the door for Einbinder. I’m really torn. Can we call it a tie?

THE PREDICTED WINNER: HANNAH WADDINGHAM, TED LASSO. In a battle between a pair of Hannahs, momentum for Ted Lasso probably tips the scale in Waddingham’s favor.

<img class="size-large wp-image-1234821779" src="https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Ted_Lasso_Photo_010102.jpg?w=1024&quot; alt=" - Credit: AppleTV+" width="1024" height="683" srcset="https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Ted_Lasso_Photo_010102.jpg 6720w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Ted_Lasso_Photo_010102.jpg?resize=150,100 150w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Ted_Lasso_Photo_010102.jpg?resize=300,200 300w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Ted_Lasso_Photo_010102.jpg?resize=1024,683 1024w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Ted_Lasso_Photo_010102.jpg?resize=1536,1024 1536w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Ted_Lasso_Photo_010102.jpg?resize=2048,1365 2048w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Ted_Lasso_Photo_010102.jpg?resize=630,420 630w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Ted_Lasso_Photo_010102.jpg?resize=60,40 60w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Ted_Lasso_Photo_010102.jpg?resize=352,235 352w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Ted_Lasso_Photo_010102.jpg?resize=900,600 900w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Ted_Lasso_Photo_010102.jpg?resize=110,73 110w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Ted_Lasso_Photo_010102.jpg?resize=285,190 285w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Ted_Lasso_Photo_010102.jpg?resize=320,213 320w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Ted_Lasso_Photo_010102.jpg?resize=640,427 640w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Ted_Lasso_Photo_010102.jpg?resize=800,533 800w, https://deadline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Ted_Lasso_Photo_010102.jpg?resize=1280,853 1280w" sizes="(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px" />AppleTV+

Best of Deadline

Sign up for Deadline's Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.