Could Kumail Nanjiani earn his first Emmy nomination for Best Comedy Supporting Actor for his role as programmer Dinesh Chugtai in HBO’s tech comedy “Silicon Valley”? After four previous seasons on the show he has yet to be singled out by the TV academy for his performance, so what would make 2018 any different? Well, this is his first time entering the Emmy race with an Oscar nomination under his belt.
“Silicon Valley” has consistently been one of the most nominated comedies at the Emmys, and over the years it has only gotten more popular with voters. It earned 5 nominations in 2014, then 7 in 2015 (including victories for its production design and picture editing), 9 in 2016, and an all-time high of 10 nominations in 2017. But the actors branch of the TV academy remains stubbornly resistant to the show. To date the only acting nomination for the show was Thomas Middleditch for Best Comedy Actor in 2016.
But Nanjiani is coming off the biggest year of his career. He starred in “The Big Sick,” a semi-autobiographical romantic comedy about his courtship with his wife Emily V. Gordon (with whom he co-wrote the script), who was stricken with an illness that left her in a medically-induced coma. The film was a sleeper hit at the box office and earned Nanjiani and Gordon an Oscar nom for Best Original Screenplay. The momentum for the film even helped Nanjiani earn a Comedy Supporting Actor bid for “Silicon Valley” at the Critics’ Choice Awards.
Now that momentum could carry him to an Emmy nomination, especially when you consider the absence of another HBO Emmy favorite, “Veep.” In 2016 and 2017 that political satire earned two nominations for Best Comedy Supporting Actor, for Tony Hale and Matt Walsh. But “Veep” is on an extended hiatus as the result of star Julia Louis-Dreyfus‘s recent treatment for breast cancer, so it won’t be back in time to compete at the 2018 Emmys. That leaves two slots open in Nanjiani’s category, assuming last year’s other four contenders all return to the race: Louie Anderson (“Baskets”), Tituss Burgess (“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”), Ty Burrell (“Modern Family”) and defending champ Alec Baldwin (“Saturday Night Live”) are all eligible again this year. “Veep” and “Silicon” share a similar satiric sensibility, so it’s plausible for many of Hale and Walsh’s votes to migrate over to Nanjiani in their absence.
And he could even win. It wouldn’t be the first time an actor pulled off an upset at the Emmys following a big-screen breakthrough. Katherine Heigl (“Grey’s Anatomy”) pulled off a surprise victory for Best Drama Supporting Actress in 2007 following her starring role in the film “Knocked Up.” And Melissa McCarthy (“Mike and Molly”) upset to win Best Comedy Actress in 2011 after her breakout performance in the film “Bridesmaids.”
So do you think Nanjiani will have a similar Emmy success this year?
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 nominees are announced on July 12. And join in the fun debate over the 2018 Emmys taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our television forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.