From later-life women with gay husbands to recovering addicts to vain millionaires, the supporting actress in a comedy category sure has a diverse cast of characters. This category, too, has gotten a bit predictable; haven’t they all? With such recognizable ladies in such largely watched series, it’s easy to see why. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy to like. Some great performances by supporting comedy actresses have graced our screens this season. Here are six I’d like to see be recognized:
Becky Ann Baker, Girls
Becky Ann Baker, who plays Loreen Horvath, Hannah’s mom, on Girls, is technically a guest actress. But since she appeared in five episodes of this 10-episode season, per the Emmys’ new 50 percent or more rule, she qualifies as supporting actress. She and Peter Scolari (Tad, Hannah’s dad) were quite memorable during their amped-up plot this season. Baker’s performance as a woman scorned from her husband coming out as gay was not at all PC, but her spiteful, at times spit-like-venom delivery, was nothing if not memorable. She’s a standout this season, for sure.
Allison Janney, Mom
This is Allison Janney’s category to lose. And it’s easy to see why. Janney’s performance as recovering addict Bonnie is energetic and fun to watch. But this season of Mom gave her even more to do: with the death of the love of her life, Janney was able to grieve, alienate her family, and turn to drugs as Bonnie—stretching her creative muscle in a way unseen in sitcoms like this. She and Anna Faris did so wonderfully.
Jane Krakowski, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
It is a damn shame that Jane Krakowski never received an Emmy for her work on 30 Rock. But thankfully, Emmy voters can rectify that for her role in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Krakowski brings that branded sense of absurdist humor to Jacqueline in the way only Krakowski can. With 30 Rock over, I was most sad that I was never going to see Jenna Maroney on my screen again. Jacqueline Vorhees is not the same, but it’s as close as we’ll get for now. And Krakowski is an expert at taking outlandish one-liners and infusing them with heart and endearment. She deserves at least a nod—but a win would be great, too!
Andrea Navedo, Jane the Virgin
It’s probably not easy to keep up with two of the biggest breakout characters on TV (Jane Gloriana Villanueva and Rogelio de la Vega), but Andrea Navedo more than held her own on Jane the Virgin. What could have been a one-note, mother-more-like-daughter character was actually deeply maternal, emotional, and vulnerable, and that’s all thanks to Navedo’s performance. I don’t know Navedo personally or professionally, but her performance screams generous. Her natural acting ability grounds the insane happenings going on around her character, especially Jane’s pregnancy and Rogelio’s… well, entire personality. She’s definitely made me cry on a few occasions. And, well, this is a comedy category: she’s made me burst out laughing more than on a few occasions, to boot!
Kathleen Rose Perkins, Episodes
Kathleen Ann Perkins is the funniest actress on television at the moment. Boom. I said it! How anyone has been ignoring her comedic sensibility on Episodes this long is confounding. Her unique sense of neuroses as Carol rivals that of Thomas Middleditch on Silicon Valley. I don’t think there’s a line, or a facial expression, or a gesture Perkins delivers that I don’t laugh at. With every misstep Carol takes (which, let’s be honest, is every step), Perkins’ ability to not make me want to scream at her through the screen deserves recognition on its own. The fact that she makes me guffaw to no end is just icing on the cake. But what delicious icing!
Lauren Weedman, Looking
Lauren Weedman was always the most traditionally funny character on HBO’s late Looking (except that movie wrap-up!). But the second season of the comedy gave Weedman so much more to do. Starting with the funeral episode, Weedman downright broke my heart, multiple times. But throughout the rest of the season, she truly got to chew through an intricate arc about loosening the ties (even just a little bit) with her best friend Dom, a unique relationship study not seen much on television, or anywhere for that matter, and that was equal parts funny, heartbreaking, and plangent. Here’s to a nom!
Honorable Mentions: I have to also give a mention to Jane the Virgin‘s Yael Grobglas, who played her villainous character Petra delightfully. Petra absolutely surprised me in every, single episode. And Grobglas elevated what was on paper into someone we undeniably root for. My favorite aspect of her acting is continuous double-cross—not to other characters, but to the audience themselves. With so many of them, you’d think we’d be on to it by now, but not so. She’s fantastic. And I also have to mention Anna Chlumsky, Veep. Her character’s breakdown early in this fourth season will probably earn her the recognition off the bat.
Predictions: I think this is going to be a bit of a predictable category, with Julie Bowen of course making an appearance. So far, I don’t think there’s any doubt that Allison Janney will be nominated, and will win. Anna Chlumsky is expected to be recognized again. I also expect Mayim Bialik to be nominated. Then, I think Judith Light from freshman comedy Transparent will be recognized. And then, of course, Kate McKinnon.
This is one in a series of Emmys posts this awards season. Check out the Emmys tag for more dream nominees and features.