“Atlanta” was one of the biggest Emmy breakthroughs of 2017, earning six nominations including Best Comedy Series and winning Best Comedy Actor and Best Comedy Directing (both for series creator Donald Glover). But those noms didn’t include the show’s supporting actors Zazie Beetz, Brian Tyree Henry and Lakeith Stanfield. Can they break through in season two? It’s common for a popular show to expand its nominations after its initial breakthrough, like “The Office,” “30 Rock” and “Veep.”
After an abbreviated six-episode first season in 2005 “The Office” broke through at the Emmys in 2006 for its second season, which won Best Comedy Series. Then supporting actors Rainn Wilson and Jenna Fischer made the cut for the first time in 2007 for season three.
“30 Rock” was an instant hit at the Emmys, winning Best Comedy Series in 2007 for its first season and again in 2008 for its second season. Then the show’s supporting actors Jack McBrayer, Tracy Morgan and Jane Krakowski made the cut for the first time in season three.
“Veep” was nominated for Best Comedy Series for season one in 2012, when Julia Louis-Dreyfus started her six-year winning streak for Best Comedy Actress. Then the actors branch of the TV academy warmed up to supporting players Tony Hale and Anna Chlumsky in season two in 2013.
“Veep” is on an extended hiatus due to Louis-Dreyfus’s recent treatment for breast cancer, so it won’t return in time to compete at the 2018 Emmys. Since “Veep” was nominated for 18 awards last year that opens a lot of potential doors for “Atlanta” to walk through, including acting bids for its supporting cast.
In addition to their work on the show, Beetz, Henry and Stanfield have all seen their stars rise over the last year. Beetz plays Van, the on-again-off-again girlfriend of Glover’s character Earn Marks and the mother of his daughter. She will also be featured as Domino in the upcoming “Deadpool” sequel, which opens May 18. Emmy voters often gravitate towards actors coming off of big movie hits. Katherine Heigl won Best Drama Supporting Actress for “Grey’s Anatomy” in 2007 after starring in the movie “Knocked Up.” And Melissa McCarthy‘s Best Comedy Actress victory for “Mike and Molly” in 2011 followed her big-screen breakthrough in “Bridesmaids.”
Stanfield is also coming off a big year. He had a standout role in the Oscar winning film “Get Out” — you could even call him the title character since he’s the one who issues that dire warning to Daniel Kaluuya. In recent years he has also had noteworthy roles in “Short Term 12” (2013), “Selma” (2014) and “Miles Ahead” (2015), so his rising profile could help him break through for his “Atlanta” role as the right hand man of up-and-coming rapper Paper Boi (Henry).
But it might be Henry who has the best shot at an Emmy nomination among the supporting cast this season — at least, he is according to the early predictions of hundreds of Gold Derby users who have entered their picks here thus far. He ranks among our top six contenders for a Best Comedy Supporting Actor nom. It doesn’t hurt that he’s already an Emmy nominee, just not for “Atlanta.” Though he missed out on a bid for his breakthrough role as Paper Boi last year he ended up with a nomination for Best Drama Guest Actor for appearing in flashbacks in the “This is Us” episode “Memphis.” That put him on the awards map, which could make voters finally take notice of him in “Atlanta.”
So do you think “Atlanta’s” sophomore season will be a breakthrough for the show’s supporting cast?
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