Who will contend for Comedy Actress at Emmys?

In recent years, the Best Comedy Actress category at the Emmys has been limited to big-name actresses delivering extremely competitive performances. However, this year race is wide-open. Our forum posters have different lineups of nominees, arguing about who gets in and who gets snubbed.

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The race is so competitive that the current champ, Melissa McCarthy (“Mike & Molly”), isn’t even a sure bet to contend again. She pulled off a surprise win in this category last year for the freshman season of the CBS laffer and just received an Academy Award nomination for “Bridesmaids,” the film that many pundits believe helped her win this award. While her return to the race is not unlikely, it may be harder than many think. Her win could turn out to be like that of Kyra Sedgwick (“The Closer”) who won Drama Actress in 2010 and was snubbed last year. Perhaps voters thought, “Here’s your win for years of doing great work, now get out of here.” Being an Oscar nominee certainly doesn’t hurt, but after the fantastic year she has had voters may not feel compelled to reward her anymore and could leave her name off the ballot.

When it comes to predicting the nominees, you can never go wrong backing Tina Fey (“30 Rock”). She is an Emmy darling, with seven wins under her belt. She won the second of her five consecutive bids in this race in 2008 for the NBC Thursday night staple. 

Amy Poehler of NBC’s acclaimed “Parks and Recreation” is also a safe bet after being nominated for this role in both 2010 and 2011. Last year, she caused a riot in the Nokia Theater with her beauty-pageant idea. Some posters are already predicting her for the win but it is too early to call the race just yet.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who won this award in 2006 for the first season of “The New Adventures of Old Christine,” is back with the HBO comedy “Veep.” Besides her five consecutive bids for “Christine,” she racked up seven noms and one win (1996) for “Seinfeld” and is a likely contender this year. 

Golden Globe winner Laura Dern (“Enlightened“) is looking good for a nomination at this point, but her support may die down since it has been a while since HBO aired the last episode of this new series. 

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Four women from Showtime will be vying for a slot: Mary-Louise Parker (“Weeds”), Edie Falco (“Nurse Jackie”), Laura Linney (“The Big C”) and Kristen Bell (“House of Lies”). The weakest of these is probably Parker, who had three bids in a row before falling off the radar in 2010. Falco won in 2010 for the first season of her show and contended again last year. Bell’s show is new so we don’t know whether or not Emmy will like her. Linney is best poised to return, but even she is on shaky ground. Her loss last year came despite being the frontrunner. As she had gone three for three at the Emmys before, it was even more surprising. At this point, a nomination for her is a 50/50 shot.

Last year, Martha Plimpton landed a bid for the first season of “Raising Hope” and the star of this Fox gem could very well return. Part of a Hollywood family and well-liked by actors, Plimpton is the standout on a show created by Greg Garcia who had Emmy success with “My Name is Earl” (Jamie Pressly prevailed with one of her two supporting bids). 

Zooey Deschanel is, literally, the “New Girl“, and every year the Emmy voters like to include that kind of nominee in the field. However, her Golden Globe loss and the so-so ratings for her Fox show may cause the Academy to look the other way.

Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs could surprise for the new CBS hit “2 Broke Girls.”

Lisa Kudrow, who contended for the single season of “The Comeback” in 2006, could surprise wiht a bid for her new Showtime series “Web Therapy.” She won one of her six supporting bids for “Friends” in 1998. 

The previously snubbed Patricia Heaton (“The Middle”) and Courteney Cox (“Cougar Town”) could get in for the third seasons of their ABC laffers.

Perhaps the women from TV Land’s “Hot in Cleveland” will move up to lead.

One of the “Desperate Housewives” could get a farewell nod for their last season of this long-running ABC show.

Anything is possible in the mind of the voter. What do you think will happen? Join the discussion in our forums.

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