Inside Emmy: Handicapping the Best Comedy Actress Race

by | August 29, 2009 at 12:50 PM | Emmy 2009

If you listen to TV critics, this won’t be much of a race this year. “My guess is it’s probably going to be Tina Fey again,” says Alan Sepinwall, TV critic for the Newark Star-Ledger. In fact, Sepinwall predicts both Fey and her show, “30 Rock,” will close the deal on the better part of their 22 nominations.

“I expect it’s a year where Tina Fey goes up to the podium a bunch of times,” he adds.

In any event, they’re going to vote anyway, so here’s a look at the contenders.

Christina Applegate – “Samantha Who?” (ABC)
Why she’ll win: Hollywood loves a survivor, and Applegate – a year removed from being diagnosed and treated for breast cancer – certainly is one.
Why she won’t: She’s the star of a buzzless show that just got cancelled.
Watch Christina on ‘Samantha Who?’.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus – “The New Adventures of Old Christine” (CBS)
Why she’ll win: She’s a two-time Emmy winner who’s always a threat to bring home trophies.
Why she won’t: She won in 2006, back when “Christine” was new… but her show is no longer the hot comedy that wins Emmys. Don’t get us wrong – she’s great – but is she really going to win in the same category that Fey’s in?
Watch Julie on ‘The New Adventures of Old Christine’.

Sarah Silverman – “The Sarah Silverman Program” (Comedy Central)
Why she’ll win: Suddenly departing from 50 years of voting tradition, TV Academy members decide they really do like raunchy jokes about female genitals.
Why she won’t: Emmy voters may switch on “Jon Stewart” from time to time, but they don’t stick around for the scripted stuff. She has no chance.
Watch Sarah Silverman clips.

Toni Collette – “The United States of Tara” (Showtime)
Why she’ll win: Big-time movie actress flexing her range with multiple characters in a Spielberg-produced TV show – it could happen.
Why she won’t: If a Showtime comedy produces an acting award, Mary-Louise Parker will get it.
Watch Toni on ‘The United States of Tara’.

Mary-Louise Parker – “Weeds” (Showtime)
Why she’ll win: Emmy voters, who gave the drama actor trophy to “Breaking Bad’s” Bryan Cranston last year, like the idea of parents who deal drugs.
Why she won’t: Showtime is among the best in the business at marketing its shows for Emmy consideration, which shows in the fact that a network with only 15 million subscribers gets so many noms (this is Parker’s fourth in a row for “Weeds”). But the fact of the matter is, not enough Emmy voters watch the network on a regular basis, and getting actual Emmy wins is another matter.
Watch Mary-Louise on ‘Weeds’.

Tina Fey – “30 Rock” (NBC)
Why she’ll win:
It’s been Tina Fey’s year since last fall and it hasn’t ended yet. She still has too much buzz to lose.
Why she won’t:
Freed from her gubernatorial constraints, Sarah Palin goes into Letterman-killer mode, starting a grassroots conservative media protest, targeting the woman who targeted her with a dead-on impression last fall.
Watch Tina on ’30 Rock’.

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