Following six straight years of dominance by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, there will be a new Best Comedy Actress Emmy winner this year since “Veep” is sitting out the season to accommodate Louis-Dreyfus’ breast cancer treatment. But the “new” winner could very well be an old face: Allison Janney, who would win her record-tying eighth Emmy.
After nabbing two supporting wins for “Mom,” Janney shifted to the lead category last year and faced off with her then-fellow seven-time winner Louis-Dreyfus. Now with Louis-Dreyfus MIA, Janney is in prime position to succeed her, especially if the “I, Tonya” star wins the Best Supporting Actress Oscar as predicted.
Janney is already a treasured star and an Emmy darling, so an Oscar win would only amplify that affection. She’d be the fourth person to accept an Oscar and Emmy in the same calendar year after Liza Minnelli (Best Actress for “Cabaret” and as a producer on Best Variety Special champ “Liza with a ‘Z’ in 1973), Helen Hunt (Best Actress for “As Good as It Gets” and Best Comedy Actress for “Mad About You” in 1998) and Helen Mirren (Best Actress for “The Queen” and Best Limited Series/TV Movie Actress for “Prime Suspect: The Final Act” in 2007). George C. Scott also won both in 1971 for his performances in “Patton” and the TV film “The Price,” but he refused the Oscar.
Recently, Matthew McConaughey and Viola Davis have come close to the Oscar-Emmy combo. They scored Oscars for “Dallas Buyers Club” (2013) and “Fences” (2016), respectively, and contended at the Emmys for “True Detective” and “How to Get Away with Murder.” But their Oscar glow couldn’t overcome industry fervor for Bryan Cranston on “Breaking Bad”’s final season and Elisabeth Moss on the first season of “The Handmaid’s Tale.”
Janney doesn’t have a revered departing show or a breakout freshman show with an overdue star to deal with (yet), but she might have to take down some past champs in this category: Debra Messing and Roseanne Barr, who are back with the revivals of their hits “Will & Grace” and “Roseanne.”
An eighth win would tie Janney with Louis-Dreyfus and Cloris Leachman as the Emmys’ most decorated performers. It would also give Janney victories in five of the six actress categories for regular series. She also has two wins each in drama supporting and drama lead for “The West Wing” and one in drama guest for “Masters of Sex.” Someone get her to host “Saturday Night Live” STAT so she can get that comedy guest Emmy.
Do you think Janney will pull off the Oscar-Emmy double this year?