We’re guaranteed a new Emmy champ for Best Comedy Actress this year. Julia Louis-Dreyfus has won six years in a row for “Veep,” but production of the show’s seventh and final season was delayed while the actress underwent treatment for cancer. So who will take her place at this year’s awards? 2018 Golden Globe champ Rachel Brosnahan (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel“) has been the front-runner ever since we opened our Emmy predictions, and as nominations day approaches she maintains a substantial lead with odds of 3/1.
As of this writing we’ve polled 19 Expert journalists for their Emmy picks, and 18 of them are backing Brosnahan: Debra Birnbaum (Variety), Debbie Day (Rotten Tomatoes), Eric Deggans (NPR), Lynn Elber (Associated Press), Joyce Eng (Gold Derby), Pete Hammond (Deadline Hollywood), Chris Harnick (E!), Matthew Jacobs (Huffington Post), Lynette Rice (Entertainment Weekly), Robert Rorke (New York Post), Matt Roush (TV Guide Magazine), Sasha Stone (Awards Daily), Anne Thompson (IndieWire), Peter Travers (Rolling Stone), Ben Travers (IndieWire), Ken Tucker (Yahoo), Adnan Virk (ESPN) and Glenn Whipp (LA Times).
Brosnahan plays the title character, a housewife who becomes a stand-up comic after her husband walks out on her, and she got off to a strong start last winter, winning Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice Awards. She wasn’t nominated at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, but that’s not a deal-breaker. SAG is often late to the party; in 2015 another Amazon show, “Transparent,” won five Emmys in its freshman year including Best Comedy Actor (Jeffrey Tambor) even though it wasn’t nominated for any SAG Awards that year.
“Mrs. Maisel” is Brosnahan’s breakthrough role, but it would actually be her second Emmy nomination. In 2015 she was a surprise contender for Best Drama Guest Actress for her recurring role as Rachel Posner in “House of Cards.” So the TV academy liked her before it was cool, and there’s a good chance they’ll like her again.
But our last Expert, Tom O’Neil (Gold Derby), thinks Tracee Ellis Ross will win on her third try as doctor and mother of five Rainbow Johnson in ABC’s family comedy “Black-ish.” This would be her first time competing for the award without Louis-Dreyfus in contention, and for all we know she was the runner-up for the win on her last two nominations (2016-2017).
A victory for Ross would also be historic: she would be the first woman of color to prevail since America Ferrera (“Ugly Betty,” 2007) and the first black woman since Isabel Sanford (“The Jeffersons,” 1981). In addition, Ross’s season of “Black-ish” ended in May, so it may be fresher in voters’ minds than “Mrs. Maisel,” which premiered last November.
But is Brosnahan simply too far out front for Ross to bridge the gap?
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.