Emmy Predictions: Lead Actress in a Comedy Series – Can Tracee Ellis Ross’ Historic Noms for Acting and Producing Help With Voting?

·4-min read

Variety's Awards Circuit is home to the official predictions for the upcoming Emmys ceremonies from film awards editor Clayton Davis. Following history, buzz, news, reviews and sources, the Emmy predictions are updated regularly with the current year's list of contenders in all categories. Variety's Awards Circuit Prediction schedule consists of four phases, running all year long: Draft, Pre-Season, Regular Season and Post Season. The eligibility calendar and dates of awards will determine how long each phase lasts and is subject to change.

To see all the latest predictions, of all the categories, in one place, visit THE EMMYS COLLECTIVE
Visit each individual category, according to the awards show from THE EMMYS HUB
Link to film awards hub THE OSCARS HUB

More from Variety

DRAFT>>>PRE-SEASON>>>REGULAR SEASON>>>POST SEASON

2021 EMMYS PREDICTIONS:
OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES

UPDATED: Aug 19, 2021

AWARDS PREDICTION COMMENTARY: Double nominated for her role of Annie Easton in the third and final season of Hulu’s “Shrill” and for multiple characters on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” in the supporting comedy actress race, the dynamic Aidy Bryant beat out some big names to land here. This nom boosts her visibility and provides a clearer path to a win — but for “SNL.”

Perennial Academy favorite Allison Janney has seven previous Emmy wins, including two for this role (but in the supporting category). She made a triumphant return to this ballot for the final season of her CBS sitcom after previously being nominated in 2018 (last winning in 2015). While voters have proven they have loved her for a long time, it is still a long shot for her to win, given the competition she faces.

It looked like this was Kaley Cuoco’s category to lose until “Hacks” showed up. That early frontrunner status certainly means she is not out of the race yet. She delivers incredible moments as the alcoholic Cassie in HBO Max’s adaptation. That her show is more dramatic than those of her fellow nominees makes her stand out further. She still could squeeze past Smart, especially if voters are celebrating Smart in her other category and want to spread the love.

Landing her fifth Emmy nomination, Tracee Ellis Ross is now the second-most nominated Black actress in this category’s history, just one behind Isabel Sanford for “The Jeffersons.” Coincidentally, Ross also made history as she became the first Black woman to be nominated for both acting and producing the same series at the Emmys. She could be a come-frombehind winner.

No one does comedy like Jean Smart, and the three Emmys she has won thus far were all in comedy categories (two in guest for “Frasier,” one in supporting for “Samantha Who?”). As a double nominee this year (also up in supporting limited series/TV movie actress for “Mare of Easttown”), she has the momentum, in addition to the singular talent, to put her at the front of this pack.

The viewing platform for Emmy nominees opens on Aug. 13 with final-round voting, beginning on Aug. 19 at 9 a.m. PT until Aug. 30 at 10 p.m. PT.

Check out the full rankings of the category’s nominees in the chart below.

ALL SUBMISSIONS & RANKINGS:

Jean Smart and Sam Asghari - Credit: Courtesy of HBO Max
Jean Smart and Sam Asghari - Credit: Courtesy of HBO Max

Courtesy of HBO Max

AWARDS CATEGORY HISTORY (Lead Actress Comedy)

The Primetime Emmy Awards, better known simply as the Emmys, is television's most prestigious artistic award. There are many records held for both wins and nominations in the near eight decades.

For wins: Julia Louis-Dreyfus has won this award seven times, the most of any actress, six of which were consecutive for "Veep," almost the entire run of the series. Candice Bergen and Mary Tyler Moore have won this prize five times over their careers. "Veep" and "Murphy Brown" have been the most nominated series for lead actress comedy.

For nominations: Julia Louis-Dreyfus is the most nominated actress with 12 with Mary Tyler Moore and Bea Arthur behind with 10 and nine.

"The Golden Girls" is the most nominated series with 15 nominations over its run, with "Cheers" behind it with nine.

2021 Primetime Emmy Awards Predictions

About the Primetime Emmy Awards (Emmys)

The Primetime Emmy Awards, better known as the Emmys, is given out by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS). Since 1949, the awards recognize excellence in American primetime television programming. They are divided into three classes - Primetime Emmy Awards, the Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards (honors artisan achievements) and the Primetime Engineering Emmy Awards (recognizes significant engineering and technological contributions). The typical eligibility period is between June 1 and May 31 of any given year. The Television Academy comprises over 25,000 members, representing 30 professional peer groups, including performers, directors, producers, art directors and various artisans and executives.

  • The 73rd Emmy Awards are scheduled to air on Sunday, Sept. 19 at 8:00 pm est on CBS and on-demand on sister streamer Paramount Plus.

Best of Variety

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

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting