Emmy Experts say Alec Baldwin (‘SNL’) will win, but warn of upset from a less presidential rival

Alec Baldwin has seemed like the Emmy frontrunner for “Saturday Night Live” ever since it was announced last fall that he would be joining the cast — temporarily, we thought — to impersonate presidential candidate Donald Trump. But then November came, and instead of putting an end to Baldwin’s stint on the show, the election actually put Trump in the White House. Baldwin kept returning for sketches week to week, so many times in fact that he was no longer eligible to compete for an Emmy as a guest actor. No worries — now he’s the frontrunner for Best Comedy Supporting Actor, according to our Experts.

As of this writing we’ve polled 14 TV journalists from top media outlets for their Emmy picks, and 10 of them are betting on Baldwin: Debra Birnbaum (Variety), Eric Deggans (NPR), Joyce Eng (TV Guide), Tom O’Neil (Gold Derby), Matt Roush (TV Guide Magazine), Paul Sheehan (Gold Derby), Anne Thompson (IndieWire), Ken Tucker (Yahoo), Adnan Virk (ESPN), and Jarett Wieselman (Buzzfeed).

Baldwin is an industry darling with 16 past Emmy nominations, including two wins for Best Comedy Actor for “30 Rock” (2008-2009). His track record at the SAG Awards is even better: he won Best Comedy Actor seven years in a row (2007-2013). That’s important to note because the Emmys changed their procedure last year from ranked ballots to a simple plurality vote of all eligible members of the TV academy’s acting branch. That more closely resembles SAG voting, so if he was capable of dominating those awards, he might be able to dominate these as well.

Just as importantly, we saw that Emmy voters love “SNL” this year. It’s not only the most nominated variety program of the year, it’s the most nominated program — period. It’s tied with the lavish HBO sci-fi series “Westworld” with 22 nominations, including more acting nominations (nine) than any other drama, comedy, movie, or miniseries this year. So we know the academy as a whole is paying attention and that the actors branch is especially enamored of the series. And they like Baldwin so much that they even gave him a second nomination this year for Best Reality Host for “Match Game.”

But we also know for a fact that Emmy voters like Louie Anderson (“Baskets“), and they like him enough that he won under this new voting system last year. Perhaps that’s why our remaining four Experts give him the edge: Matthew Jacobs (Huffington Post), Kerr Lordygan (Rotten Tomatoes), Lynette Rice (Entertainment Weekly) and Robert Rorke (New York Post).

Not only did Anderson win this award last year, he managed to win on his show’s only nomination. This year, however, Emmy voters gave “Baskets” twice as much love by also honoring Zach Galifianakis with a surprise nomination for Best Comedy Actor. So the show has not lost any ground with voters — quite the opposite.

Which our our Experts are right? Or are they all underestimating the remaining four nominees: Tony Hale and Matt Walsh (“Veep”), Tituss Burgess (“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”) and Ty Burrell (“Modern Family”).

Be sure to make your Emmy predictions so that Hollywood insiders can see how their TV shows and performers are faring in our Emmy odds. You can keep changing your predictions until just before winners are announced on September 17. And join in the fierce debate over the 2017 Emmys taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our TV forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.

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