With 23 nominations and six wins, Lily Tomlin is among the most recognized stars at the Primetime Emmys. The actress and comedian, who won her most recent Emmy in Best Voice-Over Performance for narrating the HBO documentary “An Apology to Elephants” (2013), is well positioned to land her 24th nomination this year for the third season of Netflix’s “Grace and Frankie.” It would be her third straight nomination for the series — will she win it this time?
Tomlin plays the irresistibly earthy Frankie Bergstein in the Netflix series about two women whose longtime husbands leave them for each other. In addition to being Emmy-nominated for the first two seasons of the series, losing to Julia Louis-Dreyfus (“Veep”) on both occasions, Tomlin just garnered a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for Best Comedy Actress this past January. She fell short to Louis-Dreyfus there as well, but it was nonetheless a big night for the acting veteran, as she took home SAG’s Life Achievement Award. Tomlin’s co-star Jane Fonda also earned a SAG nomination for Best Comedy Actress, an indicator of increased industry support for “Grace and Frankie,” which up until then had garnered little awards recognition beyond Tomlin.
Tomlin and her fellow Best Comedy Actress contenders are likely to enter this year’s Emmy ceremony as underdogs to Louis-Dreyfus, who is poised to score n unprecedented sixth consecutive win for her HBO series. Still, Tomlin is not without strong possible episode submissions to send to academy members for consideration.
This season she had a remarkable mix of comedic and dramatic material to work with. “The Burglary,” in which Frankie is terrified after a home burglary, finds the actress in prime comic form as Frankie drives Grace nuts with her fears that the perpetrator will return. Also laugh-out-loud funny is “The Floor,” in which Grace and Frankie, en route to a business meeting, throw their backs out and wind up stuck on the floor. Of course, lots of kvetching ensues.
If Tomlin wishes to submit an episode with more dramatic heft, as she did in 2015 (“The Vows”), the final two episodes of this season (“The Musical” and “The Sign”) are also very powerful, as Frankie suffers a mild stroke and finds herself torn over whether to move away with boyfriend Jacob (Ernie Hudson) or stick around with Grace. These episodes demonstrate Tomlin’s range as an actress and, even if it is an uphill climb to defeat Louis-Dreyfus, would be certain to impress voters.
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