A Emmy win for Alec Baldwin as Best Comedy Supporting Actor for “Saturday Night Live” would be an interesting anomaly. He played Donald Trump in the sketch comedy series as guest star instead of as a regular cast member, but after Trump’s surprise victory in the presidential election Baldwin appeared so many more times that he was no longer eligible to compete in the guest category. You’d think it would be more difficult to win an Emmy against full-time cast members on other shows, but Baldwin has nevertheless emerged as a frontrunner. He would be the first to win this category for “SNL” since sketch comedians started competing in the comedy categories in 2008, but Baldwin has the advantage of being an industry darling with 16 past Emmy nominations, including two wins for Best Comedy Actor for “30 Rock” (2008-2009).
Be sure to make your own predictions in this race as well as the rest of the Primetime Emmy categories and compete against our Emmy experts who cover this race year-round for such leading media outlets, as well as the two dozen amateurs who ranked in the top 24 last year, the all-stars who did well for two years in a row, and thousands of Emmy fans just like you. (Scroll down to see up-to-date racetrack odds derived from all of these predictions.)
Baldwin has to watch out for Louie Anderson (“Baskets”), who is the defending champion. Anderson won last year on his show’s only nomination, which in itself is impressive. But it’s even more important that he managed to win under a brand new judging system that decided winners by a simple plurality vote instead of a ranked preferential ballot. This may only be Anderson’s second Primetime Emmy bid (he won twice before at the Daytime Emmys), but the fact that he’s a proven winner under the current system may be crucial.
Tituss Burgess (“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”) contends for the third year in a row, but he has yet to win. However, he was recently nominated for Best Comedy Actor at the Screen Actors Guild Awards. SAG does not distinguish between lead and supporting performers, which makes his inclusion there all the more significant. And he gives exactly the kind of larger-than-life performance that often wins this category, like past champs Michael Richards (“Seinfeld”), Sean Hayes (“Will & Grace”), and Eric Stonestreet (“Modern Family”).
Speaking of “Modern Family,” another such scene-stealer is back in contention for the eighth year in a row: Ty Burrell. He’s the last remaining Emmy nominated actor for “Modern Family,” and now he’s the third most nominated actor in the history of this category, behind David Hyde Pierce (11 nominations for “Frasier”) and Harry Morgan (nine times for “December Bride” and “M*A*S*H”). Burrell won twice before (2011, 2014), so don’t count him out, especially since “Modern Family” still had enough support this season to pick up another nom for Best Comedy Series.
Like Burrell, Tony Hale (“Veep”) is a two-time winner (2013, 2015). This is his fifth straight nomination for the HBO political satire. He’s undoubtedly helped by the fact that “Veep” is by far the most nominated comedy series this year with 17 bids, and it’s the two-time defending champ for Best Comedy Series. That indicates widespread TV academy support. But his co-star Matt Walsh is also nominated, for the second straight year, and there’s a greater risk that they will split the vote under the current voting system.
UPDATED: August 24, 2017
1. Alec Baldwin, “Saturday Night Live” — 2/5
2. Louie Anderson, “Baskets” — 7/1
3. Tituss Burgess, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” — 8/1
4. Tony Hale, “Veep” — 40/1
5. Ty Burrell, “Modern Family” — 66/1
6. Matt Walsh, “Veep” — 66/1