Justin Timberlake is expected to win his second Best Comedy Guest Actor Emmy for hosting “Saturday Night Live.” He first took home this award in 2009, the year that the TV academy allowed guest hosts on this long-running series to contend in this category. That change came about after the Emmys eliminated the individual variety performance award. “SNL” regulars now compete in the supporting races while the hosts can be nominated for guest acting.
Timberlake also picked up two bids for songs he wrote for the show; he won that award in 2007 for the ditty “Dick in a Box” that he sung with “SNL” regular Andy Samberg during his second hosting gig. This time around, Timberlake shone in his opening monologue as well as a number of sketches including “The Barry Gibb Talk Show.” The producers were so pleased with his episode that it was submitted in the series, directing and writing races as well.
Zach Galifianakis returned to host “SNL” for a second time and knocked it out of the park with his “Annie” impersonation during the opening monologue. That moment was one of the most memorable of the season.
Will Arnett reaped his third guest nod for playing Devin Banks on “30 Rock.” In the episode “Plan B,” the former rival to Jack (Alec Baldwin) longs to return to the executive suite. Arnett lost his 2008 race to fellow “30 Rock” guest Tim Conway and last year’s bid to “Glee” guest Neil Patrick Harris.
Matt Damon earned his first Emmy acting bid (after three for producing reality series “Project Greenlight”) for his “30 Rock” role as a love interest for Liz Lemon (TIna Fey). In “Double-Edged Sword,” his character, an airline pilot named Carol, refuses to take off following a fight on the flight with Liz.
Two-time Tony Award champ Nathan Lane (“Forum,” “The Producers”) contends for the third time in this race following bids in 1995 for “Frasier” (he lost to Carl Reiner on “Mad About You”) and in 1998 for “Mad About You” (Mel Brooks won the second of three in a row for guesting on that laffer). Lane played Pepper Saltzman, a flamboyant friend of Cameron (Eric Stonestreet) and Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) twice this season on “Modern Family.” In the second of these appearances — “Boys’ Night” — the three of them are joined by Jay (Ed O’Neill), who forges a surprising bond with Pepper.
Move/Mini Best Actor nominee Idris Elba (“Luther”) played a potential love interest for Laura Linney‘s character Cathy on “The Big C.” However, his screen time as Lenny in the episode “Blue-Eyed Iris” was limited.
Senior editors Chris Beachum and Rob Licuria talk about all this and more in the video below.