Jane Krakowski is no stranger to showbiz awards. In 1986 and 1987, she was nominated at the Daytime Emmys for Best Ingenue for playing the role of Rebecca “T.R.” Kendall on “Search for Tomorrow.”
After leaving the daytime drama, Krakowski set her sights on Broadway, originating the role of Dinah in “Starlight Express” in 1987 and playing it for nearly two years before garnering a 1990 Tony nomination for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for playing Flaemmchen in “Grand Hotel.”
Throughout the 1990s, Krakowski transitioned between film (“Mrs. Winterbourne,” “Go”), stage (“Company,” “Tartuffe,” “Once Upon a Mattress”), and television (“Ally McBeal”), but didn’t strike individual awards gold until 2003, when she won a Tony for Featured Actress in a Musical for a revival of “Nine.”
In 2006, Krakowski was cast as vain actress Jenna Maroney on “30 Rock,” a role played by “Saturday Night Live” alum Rachel Dratch in the unaired original pilot before producers Lorne Michaels and Tina Fey decided to take the character in a new direction.
But despite the early Emmy success for the show, which won Best Comedy for each of its first three seasons, Krakowski was snubbed for Best Comedy Supporting Actress in 2007 and 2008. She eventually scored Emmy bids for seasons three through five (2009-2011), but lost to Kristin Chenoweth (“Pushing Daisies”), Jane Lynch (“Glee“), and Julie Bowen (“Modern Family“), respectively.
Jenna was especially prominent during the show’s sixth season, but to the surprise of many Emmy-watchers Krakowski was left out in 2012.
But she has been welcomed back to the category this year. Perhaps more surprisingly, so has Jane Lynch, who was nominated twice in a row for “Glee” (2010-2011) but was also snubbed in 2012. In addition to Lynch, Krakowski faces off against another previous winner, Bowen, as well as Bowen’s “Modern Family” co-star Sofia Vergara, who, like Krakowski, is on her fourth Emmy nomination; Merritt Wever (“Nurse Jackie“) and Mayim Bialik (“The Big Bang Theory“), both on their second nods; and Emmy newcomer Anna Chlumsky (“Veep“).
If Krakowski wins, it wouldn’t be the first time the Emmys have honored a performer in this category for her work in a final season. Recent examples include Megan Mullally (“Will & Grace”) and Doris Roberts (“Everybody Loves Raymond”), as well as Chenoweth and Cynthia Nixon (“Sex and the City”), who both won their first Emmys for their final seasons.
Krakowski has submitted to Emmy judges the one-hour finale, “Hogcock!/Last Lunch.” In it, Jenna contemplates the next chapter of her life as an actress and then sings the closing number, “Rural Juror,” which garnered a nomination for Original Music and Lyrics. It’s worth noting that Mullally also won for belting out a tune in the one-hour “Will & Grace” finale.
Among experts, Gold Derby’s Tom O’Neil and Paul Sheehan currently rank Krakowski first, as well as the LA Times‘s Glenn Whipp, while The Wrap’s Steve Pond has her trailing Julie Bowen. Four editors – Chris Beachum, Marcus Dixon, Rob Licuria, and David Schnelwar – also rank Krakowski first, while Matt Noble and Daniel Montgomery rank her behind Bowen.
Watch Krakowski’s performance of “Rural Juror” below and then make your Comedy Supporting Actress predictions: