Jeffrey Tambor is the defending champ for Best Comedy Actor at the Emmys. He won last year for the first season of “Transparent,” in which he plays Maura Pfefferman, a transgender woman adjusting to her new life after coming out to her adult children. In all, the Amazon series won five of its 11 Emmy bids. It proved every bit as popular with TV academy voters for the second season earning 10 nominations including Best Comedy Series. Does that mean Tambor will win an easy second Emmy?
Before finally winning last year, Tambor had lost six times in the supporting race for “The Larry Sanders Show” (1993, 1996-1998) and “Arrested Development” (2004-2005). He is now on his eighth career bid, and 12 of the expert TV journalists we’ve polled give him the edge, resulting in leading 8/11 odds: Debra Birnbaum (Variety), Joyce Eng (TV Guide), Matthew Jacobs (Huffington Post), Tom O’Neil (Gold Derby), Robert Rorke (New York Post), Matt Roush (TV Guide Magazine), Paul Sheehan (Gold Derby), Anne Thompson (Indiewire), Ken Tucker (Yahoo), Adnan Virk (ESPN), Glenn Whipp (LA Times) and Jarett Wieselman (Buzzfeed).
Meanwhile, there is significantly more support this year than there was in 2015 for “Black-ish,” which has earned Anthony Anderson a second straight Best Comedy Actor bid. Last year that was the show’s only Emmy nom, but this year it added Best Comedy Series and Best Comedy Actress (Tracee Ellis Ross) to its tally. As a result one expert, Eric Deggans (NPR), is betting on Anderson to prevail, which places him second overall with 3/1 odds.
There is also significant support for “Master of None,” so much so that star Aziz Ansari earned his first-ever Emmy nomination for Best Comedy Actor, plus three more: Best Comedy Writing and Best Comedy Directing (both for the episode “Parents”), and Best Comedy Series as a producer. He was never nominated for his previous role on “Parks and Recreation” despite two Best Comedy Series nominations for that show, so voters may feel he’s overdue. One expert, Kerr Lordygan (Rotten Tomatoes), thinks Ansari is the man to beat, resulting in 9/2 odds in our experts’ overall predictions.
Those three contenders are up against Emmy favorite William H. Macy, who is nominated for the third year in a row for playing dysfunctional dad Frank Gallagher in “Shameless.” Macy’s been nominated 12 times in all, counting past bids for writing and producing as well as acting; he won twice for the 2002 telefilm “Door to Door”: Best Movie/Mini Actor and Best Movie/Mini Writing. However, his is one of only two nominations for “Shameless” this year — the other is Best Comedy/Variety Stunt Coordination. That may indicate limited support for the show overall, so he only gets 20/1 odds based on our experts’ rankings.
Will Forte is nominated for the second year in a row for “The Last Man on Earth.” It’s his fifth nomination overall, including writing bids for “The Late Show with David Letterman” (1998) and “Last Man” (2015) as well as a guest-acting nom for “30 Rock” (2013). But he has yet to win, and his is the only recognition for “Last Man,” which is down from four nominations last year. Experts give him 18/1 odds to prevail.
Rounding out the category is Thomas Middleditch, star of “Silicon Valley,” who broke through for the first time this year even though “Silicon” has been nominated for Best Comedy Series for all three of its seasons so far. This year the show is up for 11 awards total, even more than “Transparent,” so if an upset comes from anywhere, maybe it’s from him. But our experts aren’t so optimistic: they rank him sixth in the category with 28/1 odds.
Be sure to make your Emmy predictions right here. You’ll compete to win our contest prizes for best picks — $500 (first place), $300 (second place) and $200 (third place) in Amazon gift certificates — a place of honor on our leaderboard and a starring role in next year’s Top 24 Users (the two dozen folks who do the best predicting this year’s Emmy nominations). Be sure to read our contest rules.