Julia Louis-Dreyfus (“Veep“) has won Best Comedy Actress for the last five years in a row. Indeed, she has never lost this race for this deft political satire. As it has more nominations this year than ever before (17), this HBO series doesn’t appear to be losing any steam with Emmy voters. The actress previously won this award in 2006 for her previous starring role in “The New Adventures of Old Christine,” giving her a record six overall in this category. Counting her supporting win for “Seinfeld” in 1996, Louis-Dreyfus has seven acting wins total, just one shy of Cloris Leachman‘s Primetime Emmy record of eight.
Be sure to make your own predictions in this race as well as the rest of the Primetime Emmy categories and compete against our Emmy experts who cover this race year-round for such leading media outlets, as well as the two dozen amateurs who ranked in the top 24 last year, the all-stars who did well for two years in a row, and thousands of Emmy fans just like you. (Scroll down to see up-to-date racetrack odds derived from all of these predictions.)
So who could beat Louis-Dreyfus? She might face a strong challenge from Tracee Ellis Ross (“Black-ish“), who is nominated for the second time and who just won the Golden Globe earlier this year for her role in the ABC sitcom, but she has yet to win at the Emmys.
Lily Tomlin is nominated for the third straight year for “Grace and Frankie.” She has yet to win for this performance, but we know the TV academy loves her. She has won six times out of 24 nominations that span a remarkable 46 years. Her co-star Jane Fonda is nominated for the first time this year for “Grace and Frankie,” though she too is familiar to Emmy voters: she’s been nominated five times, winning once for her role in the TV movie “The Dollmaker” in 1984.
Maybe the biggest threat to Louis-Dreyfus comes from Allison Janney (“Mom“), who was nominated in the supporting race for the last three years before promoting herself to the lead contest this year. Janney also has seven acting Emmys, so the actors branch of the academy seems to admire her just as much as they do Louis-Dreyfus. And Janney won the supporting race for this role twice (2014-2015), so this is a performance they have already responded to generously.
Pamela Adlon (“Better Things“) surprised many Emmy pundits with her bid for the FX freshman series, though she’s far from an Emmy newcomer. This is her first nomination in this race, but it’s her sixth overall, including a win for voice acting (“King of the Hill,” 2002) and nominations for “Louie” as a guest actress, producer, and writer.
Rounding out the category is Ellie Kemper (“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt“), who is nominated for the second time for playing the title role in the Netflix series. She and Ross are the only nominees in this category without previous Emmy wins.
UPDATED: August 24, 2017
1. Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep” — 1/4
2. Tracee Ellis Ross, “Black-ish” — 10/1
3. Lily Tomlin, “Grace and Frankie” — 25/1
4. Allison Janney, “Mom — 40/1
5. Pamela Adlon, “Better Things” — 66/1
6. Ellie Kemper, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” — 66/1
7. Jane Fonda, “Grace and Frankie” — 80/1