The Emmy for Best Comedy Actress has been dominated by one woman over the past decade: Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Her tour-de-force performance as bumbling politician Selina Meyer on “Veep” has earned her six Emmys in a row (and counting), breaking the record for most wins for an actor in a single performance, let alone consecutive wins. Louis-Dreyfus’ Emmy reign started with the show’s first season in 2012 and has not let up since. Her victories have led to many great actresses going unrewarded, including Amy Poehler (“Parks and Recreation”), Lena Dunham (“Girls”), Laura Dern (“Enlightened”), Lisa Kudrow (“The Comeback”), Tracee Ellis Ross (“black-ish”) and Lily Tomlin (“Grace and Frankie”).
Before JLD’s victories there were two women that got to bring home the Comedy Actress Emmy this decade. Edie Falco prevailed in 2010 for her decidedly dramatic performance in “Nurse Jackie,” while a pre-Sean Spicer Melissa McCarthy earned her Emmy in 2011 for “Mike & Molly” for playing Molly Flynn, a woman who meets the love of her life at Overeaters Anonymous. So which do you consider the best Comedy Actress winner of the decade? Vote in our poll below, but first let’s dive deeper into each winning performance.
Edie Falco — “Nurse Jackie” (2010)
Falco won her Emmy for Showtime’s “Nurse Jackie” in an era where female-led dramedies on premium cable were very popular. Falco, primarily a dramatic actress, delivered an emotionally complex performance as the titular pill-popping nurse in “Nurse Jackie.” While not funny in the traditional sense, Falco did excel in the show’s darkly comedic moments and created another unique character, following her Emmy-winning performance in “The Sopranos.” Falco was nominated for every season of “Nurse Jackie.” She can also say she’s the only actress in the modern era to beat Louis-Dreyfus at the Emmys, with the latter nominated in 2010 for “The New Adventures of Old Christine.”
Melissa McCarthy — “Mike & Molly” (2011)
McCarthy broke a four-year streak of actresses in single-camera series winning Emmys in this category, taking home the prize for CBS’s multicam sitcom “Mike & Molly.” McCarthy’s performance as Molly Flynn was sweeter than the brash characters she would become famous for in movies, instead sharing similarities with her other famous TV performance, Sookie in “Gilmore Girls.” McCarthy was also coming off her scene-stealing role in “Bridesmaids” that summer, which likely helped her claim the trophy. After her victory in 2011 she was nominated again in 2012 and 2014.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus — “Veep” (2012-2017)
And now for the big kahuna. Louis-Dreyfus successfully put all “‘Seinfeld’ curse” arguments to bed when taking on Selina Meyer in 2012. Embodying much of what’s wrong with politics, Selina was and continues to be corrupt, greedy, easily influenced, and all-together incompetent. She also happens to produce some of the most legendary one-liners on television week after week. “Veep” fans have followed Selina’s rise and fall from power, from relatively useless vice president to power-hungry president to disgraced former president, and Emmy voters cannot get enough, rewarding Louis-Dreyfus each step of the way. Even those who tire of the same person winning over and over do not complain much about JLD’s streak. With only one season of HBO’s “Veep” left it would be shocking if the beloved actress wasn’t rewarded one last time, creating an Emmy record that could possibly never be broken.
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