Emmy voters usually love repeat winners, but not in the race for Best Comedy Actress over the past decade. Beginning with Patricia Heaton (“Everybody Loves Raymond”) in 2001, 10 different ladies have taken home this award: Jennifer Aniston (“Friends”), Debra Messing (“Will and Grace”), Sarah Jessica Parker (“Sex and the City”), Felicity Huffman (“Desperate Housewives”), Julia Louis-Dreyfus (“The New Adventures of Old Christine”), America Ferrera (“Ugly Betty”), Tina Fey (“30 Rock”), Toni Collette (“United States of Tara”), and Edie Falco (“Nurse Jackie”).
Falco, Fey, and Collette are all returning to the battleground again this year. Also back on the ballot from last year’s nominees are Lea Michele (“Glee”) and Amy Poehler (“Parks and Recreation”). The slot held by Louis-Dreyfus is now open since her series was canceled last season, so there will be at least one newcomer to the derby.
Many pundits predict three-time Emmy champ Laura Linney (“The Big C”) to not only fill that slot, but to win the race. Other stars of freshman series in the hunt include Melissa McCarthy (“Mike and Molly”), Martha Plimpton (“Raising Hope”), Sarah Chalke (“Mad Love”), Melissa Joan Hart (“Melissa and Joey”) and both Jennifer Finnigan and Joanna Garcia Swisher (“Better with You”).
Those from returning shows hoping to reap a nod include Heaton (now starring on “The Middle”), three-time nominee Mary-Louise Parker (“Weeds”), Courteney Cox (“Cougar Town”), Kaley Cuoco (“The Big Bang Theory”), Brooke Elliott (“Drop Dead Diva”), Billie Piper (“Secret Diary of a Call Girl”) and the ladies of “Desperate Housewives” (Huffman, Marcia Cross, Teri Hatcher, and Eva Longoria).
Gold Derby founder Tom O’Neil with senior editors Chris Beachum and Rob Licuria discuss the race for Best Comedy Actress in this video slugfest. Our experts and editors also weigh in with their predictions.
Watch our three experts slug it out over these other cliffhanger races: