1998 Best Actress Oscar champ Gwyneth Paltrow (“Shakespeare in Love”) could well win her first Emmy for her guest role as Holly Holiday on “Glee.” In the episode entitled “The Substitute,” Paltrow pinch hit for the ailing Mr. Schuester (Matthew Morrison) and delivered three big performances (“Forget You,” “Nowadays/Hot Honey Rag,” and “Singin’ in the Rain/Umbrella”). This was the same winning formula that won “Glee” guest star Neil Patrick Harris an Emmy last year.
Paltrow faces off against two other funny ladies who guested on “Glee.” Emmy champ Kristin Chenoweth (“Pushing Daisies”) reprised her Emmy-nominated role as April Rhodes. In “Rumours,” April returns to town trying to convince Schuester to leave his job and perform with her on the road. While this is more of a cameo Dot-Marie Jones earned her first Emmy nod for her season-long guest role as the new female football coach, Shannon Beiste. She has submitted the episode “Never Been Kissed,” which shows a softer side as the coach has her feelings hurt when the glee club guys are imagining her in compromising situations to control their urges.
Elizabeth Banks is another rookie in this race for her recurring role as Avery Jessup on “30 Rock.” In the episode “Double-Edged Sword,” Avery goes into labor while she and new husband Jack (Alec Baldwin) are visiting Canada, much to their dismay since they are true American patriots who look down on the Canadian health care system. It is a funny performance but takes a back seat to the main storyline featuring Tina Fey and Matt Damon in an airplane stuck on the runway.
Seven-time winner Fey picked up her third consecutive bid for hosting “Saturday Night Live.” She reprised her impression of former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, sang with Maya Rudolph in the opening monologue, and was funny in a handful of sketches. While she won this award in 2009, third time is unlikely to be the charm.
Cloris Leachman, the most honored performer in primetime Emmy history with eight victories (including three in this category), is technically a guest star on the freshman hit “Raising Hope,” but appears in almost every episode as Maw Maw. In the season finale, “Don’t Vote for This Episode,” she has some funny moments as the family gathers to celebrate her 85th birthday. However, as her five minutes of screen time is doled out in short bursts, she may not make an impact on the judges.
Senior editors Chris Beachum and Rob Licuria talk about all this and more in the video below.