Stand-up comedian and musician Katt Williams is nominated for his first ever Emmy: Best Comedy Guest Actor in “Atlanta.” Williams appears in the season two premiere episode “Alligator Man” as Earn’s (Donald Glover) uncle Willie who has gotten himself into a bit of a domestic dispute much to his nephew’s chagrin. Williams’s nomination is one of nine major noms for the series, including three others in the acting fields, two for writing, two for directing, and one for Best Comedy Series.
In “Alligator Man,” Williams’s character sets the tone for the entire season and delivers one of the show’s most comedic turns. Over the course of the episode Willie antagonizes Earn, who has arrived to prevent the police from getting involved to the point of frustration. But in the end Willie provides Earn with much-needed wisdom about learning from mistakes, and he also bequeaths to him a gold-plated gun that has implications for Earn later in the season.
Can Williams win for this episode? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons:
Williams is the titular character of his episode submission, as were recent champs Peter Scolari (2016 winner for the “Girls” episode “Good Man”) and Bradley Whitford (2015 winner for the “Transparent” episode “Best New Girl”). As a guest performer on any show, having an entire episode focused on you is a huge plus, giving voters a wealth of material to consider when making their decision.
Every other nominee in this category — Sterling K. Brown (“Brooklyn Nine-Nine”), Donald Glover (“SNL”), Bill Hader (“SNL”), Lin-Manuel Miranda (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”) and Bryan Cranston (“Curb”) — is a previous Emmy winner so any voters looking to award someone new could easily see Williams as their guy, especially given his long career in comedy.
Williams is also up against “Atlanta” series creator and star Glover, so voters who watch the episode submissions in this category will get to see two wildly different Glover performances for the price of one. So Williams’s nomination could potentially help Glover more than himself.
Glover and “SNL” alum Bill Hader are not only multiple acting nominees this year, but also earned nominations for their work as producers, directors and writers of their series — Hader co-created “Barry,” which has 13 total nominations. Glover and Hader are up against one another in a total of five categories this year, so Comedy Guest Actor could be seen as an opportunity for a consolation win if the other wins the lion’s share of other awards.
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