‘Saturday Night Live’: Emmys could make political statement by rewarding Alec Baldwin, Kate McKinnon, Melissa McCarthy

Thanks to its brilliant political coverage, “Saturday Night Live” could have an amazing year at the Emmy Awards. Starting with the headline-making impressions of Alec Baldwin‘s Donald Trump, Kate McKinnon‘s Hillary Clinton, Melissa McCarthy‘s Sean Spicer and more, there are many avenues to victory for “SNL” this year. It has been a whopping 24 years since the sketch comedy won Best Variety Series, but thanks to increased notoriety and ratings it’ll be tough for the Emmys to vote against it.

The show has thrived in this 42nd season, creating more buzz than ever before for Baldwin’s buffoonish portrayal of Trump and the President’s subsequent anger at this impression. Opponents of Trump have rallied behind the sketch comedy program for pushing the President’s buttons, and the show’s writers have certainly leaned in. We’ve seen Baldwin’s Trump bumbling through debates, arguing his case in the People’s Court and even playing with a colorful toy sphere.

The comedy hasn’t stopped there, though. “SNL” has also expertly parodied some of Trump’s more eccentric staffers. After playing Clinton for the first half of the season, McKinnon found another strong character in chief strategist Kellyanne Conway, focusing on her thirst for fame and her tendency to say the wrong thing. McKinnon even got to show off her dramatic chops as Conway on the disturbingly dark “Fatal Attraction” parody.

The biggest surprise of the season, though, was McCarthy’s performance as Press Secretary Spicer. No one saw the impression coming on the Kristen Stewart-hosted episode, but it became an instantly iconic sketch with a comedy masterclass from McCarthy. McCarthy went on to play the always-agitated Spicer in two other sketches before her own hosted episode last week, where she added deeper layers of desperation to the press secretary. Vote here for your favorite “SNL” female host.

Baldwin will be competing for Best Comedy Supporting Actor this year, having appeared in too many episodes to qualify for Comedy Guest Actor. Considering winners are now decided by straight popular vote rather than a ranking system, Baldwin’s popularity in Hollywood combined with the resonance of his performance could make him unbeatable for that trophy. Meanwhile, McKinnon could easily take home her second consecutive Emmy for Best Comedy Supporting Actress after last year’s victory where she became the first regular “SNL” cast member to win since Dana Carvey in 1993. She has achieved a lot of good will through her portrayals of Clinton and Conway, on top of impressions of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Then there’s McCarthy, who could finally win an Emmy for “Saturday Night Live” after receiving nominations (but no wins) for Best Comedy Guest Actress for each of her first four hosting appearances. In her hosted episode, McCarthy goes broad with slapstick comedy and gets to showcase her trademark Spicer performance once again. The love for her Spicer impression alone could be exactly what she needs to finally get an “SNL” Emmy.

“SNL” is also in a great position to win Best Variety Sketch Series after losing to “Inside Amy Schumer” in 2015 and “Key & Peele” in 2016. If its newfound buzz wasn’t enough, neither of the aforementioned winners will be in the mix this year, clearing the way for victory. The sketch show could also win Best Variety Directing and Best Variety Writing after prevailing at both the DGA and WGA Awards this year. So will Emmy voters embrace “SNL” in a big way for Season 42? Trump and company so frequently taking on the “Hollywood elite” could lead to a protest vote that results in multiple Emmy wins for a show Trump insists is “boring and unfunny.”

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