Allison Janney has remarkably won seven Emmys in just the last 16 years for her work in “The West Wing,” “Masters of Sex” and now “Mom,” in which she plays recovering addict Bonnie, whose daughter is also working to stay sober. She has won Best Comedy Supporting Actress twice in a row for this role, and if she wins a third time, that will bring her career total to eight, tying her with Cloris Leachman for the most ever Primetime Emmy wins for acting (Leachman has one other performance award from the Daytime Emmys, so Janney would still have a little catching up to do).
According to the predictions of Expert TV journalists we’ve polled, Janney will in fact tie that record, though she has some tough competition. Ten out of 18 experts favor Janney, giving her leading 10/11 odds: Robert Bianco (USA Today), Debra Birnbaum (Variety), Lynn Elber (Associated Press), Joyce Eng (TV Guide), Pete Hammond (Deadline Hollywood), Lynette Rice (Entertainment Weekly), Paul Sheehan (Gold Derby), Anne Thompson (Indiewire), Ken Tucker (Yahoo) and Adnan Virk (ESPN).
This year Janney submitted to Emmy judges the episode “Terrorists and Gingerbread” in which Bonnie confronts her own mother, who finally comes back into her life after putting Bonnie in foster care when she was a child.
Janney is out front, but Anna Chlumsky (“Veep”) will give her a run for her money. This is her fourth straight nomination for playing Amy Brookheimer in the HBO political satire, and four experts are predicting she’ll win for the first time, giving her 7/2 odds: Michael Ausiello (TV Line), Eric Deggans (NPR), Tom O’Neil (Gold Derby) and Robert Rorke (New York Post). Chlumsky submitted the episode “C**tgate,” in which Amy is tasked to find out who called President Selina Meyer the C-word.
Two experts are predicting Kate McKinnon (“Saturday Night Live”), giving her 15/2 odds: Matthew Jacobs (Huffington Post) and Jarett Wieselman (Buzzfeed). This is McKinnon’s third nomination in this category and her fourth overall (she also earned a songwriting nomination in 2014). She would be the first regular “SNL” cast member to win an Emmy since variety performers were moved into the comedy acting races in 2009. She hopes to improve the show’s fortunes in this category with her submission episode hosted by Ariana Grande, in which McKinnon plays a variety of characters, including Hillary Clinton, Tilda Swinton and a mermaid.
Matt Roush (TV Guide Magazine) is the only expert predicting Judith Light (“Transparent”), giving her 14/1 odds. This is Light’s first nomination for playing Shelly Pfefferman in the Amazon streaming series, but it’s her second Primetime Emmy nom overall. She also won a pair of Daytime Emmys for her leading role in “One Life to Live” (1980-1981). She submitted the episode “Flicky-Flicky Thump-Thump,” in which Shelly reconnects physically and emotionally with Maura for the first time since they were husband and wife before Maura’s gender transition.
Meanwhile, Kerr Lordygan (Rotten Tomatoes) is going out on a limb for Niecy Nash (“Getting On”), giving her 16/1 odds. She’s nominated for the second straight year for playing Nurse Denise “Didi” Ortley, and in her episode submission, “Don’t Let It Get in You or on You,” Didi’s family comes to the hospital after she takes her mother-in-law out of her nursing home.
None of our experts are predicting the last nominee in the category, Gaby Hoffmann (“Transparent”), who gets 80/1 odds. She’s nominated for the second time in a row (her third nomination overall) for playing free-spirited feminist Ali Pfefferman. She submitted the episode “Bulnerable,” in which Ali bonds with her mentor while seeking guidance for her graduate admissions essay.
Gold Derby’s Editors, who cover awards year-round, also predict Janney will win, though our rankings indicate a much wider margin of victory. Six of us place her out from: Sheehan, Chris Beachum, Marcus James Dixon, Rob Licuria, Matt Noble and myself. O’Neil is the only editor who favors Chlumsky.
Our Top 24 Users, who got the highest scores predicting last year’s Emmy winners, are also leaning towards Janney. Fourteen of them predict her, but Light isn’t that far behind with support from seven. Chlumsky is backed by two top users, while McKinnon is forecast by one.
Our All-Star Top 24, who scored the highest when you combine Emmy predictions from the last two years, are giving the edge to Janney, too. Fourteen expect her to prevail, followed by four for Chlumsky, two for McKinnon, and one apiece for Light and Nash.
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