After nine appearances as Donald Trump so far this season on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” Alec Baldwin shouldn’t be surprised if he eventually gets inaugurated out of “guest star” status with Emmy Awards voters and sworn in to the race for Best Comedy Supporting Actor, thanks to the controversial 50% rule that Peter MacNicol (“Veep”) knows all too well.
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Two years ago the TV academy implemented a new rule requiring that performers who appear in 50% or more of a show’s episode count would be submitted for Emmy consideration in the supporting categories rather than the guest races. Controversy had risen in past years when performers such as John Lithgow (“Dexter”) and Uzo Aduba (“Orange is the New Black”) appeared in entire seasons but were still allowed to compete as guest stars.
The new rule was invoked in dramatic fashion last year when MacNicol was nominated for Best Comedy Guest Actor for “Veep.” Gold Derby noticed that MacNicol had appeared in one too many episodes to be considered a guest star, so under the new rule MacNicol’s nomination was revoked and given to Peter Scolari for “Girls.” In a shocking turn of events, Scolari went on to win the award as Lena Dunham’s father on the HBO sitcom after initially not even being nominated.
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Baldwin looks like he could potentially be involved in the same type of situation, considering how popular his Trump impression has been with fans and the media. For each of the past four years “SNL” produced 21 episodes, so if they do the same number for Season 42, Baldwin can only appear in 10 maximum and still be able to retain his guest star status. If Baldwin continues on for two more episodes (which seems likely given his track record in the role and his willingness to engage President Trump in discussions on Twitter) that’d be more than 50% so he’d have to submit as Best Comedy Supporting Actor. In that case, Baldwin would be taking on the likes of last year’s winner Louie Anderson (“Baskets”), as well as previous champs Tony Hale (“Veep”) and Ty Burrell (“Modern Family”).
While “Saturday Night Live” has dominated the Guest Actor and Actresses categories with hosts such as Tina Fey, Betty White and Justin Timberlake winning statues, the supporting categories at the Emmys have seemed to favor sitcom actors as opposed to those from sketch comedy shows. While Kate McKinnon won on her third nomination last year, such “SNL” stalwarts as Kristen Wiig, Amy Poehler and Bill Hader were never able to win despite multiple supporting nominations.
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Baldwin’s Emmy chances also seem tied to what state the country is come September and how funny or painful Baldwin’s take on Trump is looked at by then. While it seems likely many Emmy voters will still be angry enough at last year’s election to want to include Baldwin it will be curious to see whether that anger will carry him to the podium. While his recent appearances as Trump may have won over some Emmy voters/fans it remains to be seen if the once equally controversial Baldwin will be able to rise again to Emmy glory as President Donald J. Trump.
This season Baldwin took over the duty of impersonating the presidential candidate from former cast member Darrell Hammond. “SNL” executive producer Lorne Michaels announced that it was Baldwin’s “30 Rock” co-star Fey who suggested Baldwin take on the role. No reason was given as to why Hammond was removed from the role, though he did appear as Bill Clinton in the season opener and continues as the show’s announcer. Baldwin also stars on ABC’s “Match Game” reboot and could content as Best Reality Host at the Emmys.
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