2018 Emmy predictions slugfest: Best Comedy Guest Actress is a real battle between Tiffany Haddish, Jane Lynch and …

Gold Derby contributors Zach Laws, Charles Bright, Tom O’Brien and Amanda Spears seem to be of one mind in our Emmy nominations slugfest about the favorites in the race for Best Comedy Guest Actress (watch above). For O’Brien, “it’s a two-woman race” between Tiffany Haddish, the first female African-American comedian to host “Saturday Night Live,” and Jane Lynch, who plays the vaudeville-style comic in “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.”

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Spears agrees on the merits of both frontrunners, noting that Haddish “gave the best monologue of the season.” She also praises Lynch’s “Mrs. Maisel” performance “dressed in this fat suit and doing this kind of really vaudevillian performance stand-up set, which is hilarious” followed by an unexpected turn in her character.

Laws notes that “SNL” has won this category the past two years, so it’s a show that voters like to reward here, but he also feels that Lynch “has a fighting chance of winning, especially if ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ is winning.” However, he also makes the case on behalf of two other nominees — Molly Shannon, who was the only performer from the eight guest actors submitted by “Will & Grace” to snag a nomination, this time, as Laws notes, “for a broadly comic performance” — and Maya Rudolph, as a judge in the afterlife in the increasingly popular “The Good Place.” Shannon and Rudolph have each received one prior Emmy nomination, but neither has won.

Bright also takes up the cause for both Shannon and Rudolph. He argues that Shannon has a shot based not only on her performance but also her background and history in the business in a career that has encompassed both comedy and drama. “She’s one of those performers whose presence you look forward to,” he observes. The only problem, he feels, is that Rudolph “has that same sort of presence and good will.”

In an interesting coincidence, O’Brien recalls that two of the nominees, Rudolph and Haddish, had an acclaimed presenting turn as a team at this year’s Academy Awards, prompting many critics to suggest that the Oscars hire both women to pair up again to host next year’s ceremony. So there’s lots of good will in this category to go around.

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Spears reminds us that the fifth nominee in this category, Tina Fey tapped for hosting “Saturday Night Live,” was the only actress that the show submitted in this category and that, in order to be considered, Haddish had to enter herself. Fey is, of course, an Emmy favorite and won her ninth Emmy in this very category (shared with Amy Poehler) two years ago, but the contributors are skeptical that she can repeat so soon.

The sixth nominee, Wanda Sykes, an Emmy winner for writing “The Chris Rock Show,” received her second consecutive nomination in this category for her performance as Daphne in “Black-ish,” where she stirs things up in every boardroom meeting. Spears laments that she’s “not really involved” in the rest of the show, but Sykes receives high marks from the panel for when, as head writer for “Roseanne,” she became the first person to quit the show after the racist tweets by the show’s star.

PREDICT the Emmy winners now; change them until September 17

Be sure to make your Emmy predictions today so that Hollywood insiders can see how their TV shows and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions as often as you like until just before winners are announced on September 17. Be sure to also predict winners for the Creative Arts ceremonies slated for September 8 and 9. And join in the fun debate over the 2018 Emmy taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our television forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.

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