Emmys 2019 slugfest: Bill Hader (‘Barry’) looks unbeatable in Best Comedy Actor, but who’s his closest challenger? [WATCH]

After shocking us last year with a Best Comedy Actor Emmy win over presumed front-runner Donald Glover (“Atlanta”), Bill Hader is back in the running and poised to defend his Emmy crown for “Barry.” He’s the overwhelming favorite in our combined racetrack odds, but does he really have this category on lock or can one of his rivals pull ahead of him? To tackle this question, I recently joined Gold Derby contributors Riley Chow and Zach Laws (watch the video slugfest above) — and guess what, we’re all in agreement: This is Hader’s to lose!

“I don’t know if there even is a challenger. I think Bill Hader is taking this in a cakewalk,” I said. Because not only is he nominated for starring in “Barry,” but also for producing it, as well as directing and co-writing the acclaimed fifth episode “ronny/lily” — so “this is wholly his creation,” as Laws puts it. As far as the show goes, it racked up an impressive 17 noms for its second season, up four from last year’s already impressive total of 13, which points to substantial support for it within the TV academy. Plus, Laws urges to bear in mind that Hader has been cited as the standout of “It Chapter Two,” which was released on Sept. 6. Even though voting ended last month, the film might have at least been on their radar.

SEE Emmys 2019 slugfest: Is ‘Fleabag’ a lock for Best Comedy Writing?

However, our panel slightly differs on Hader’s potential competitor: Laws and I are putting our money on Ted Danson (“The Good Place”), who is also in second place in our odds, while Chow is certain that “if there’s an upset, then it’ll be Eugene Levy” for “Schitt’s Creek.” Danson, a now 17-time nominee, is celebrating his second consecutive nod for “The Good Place,” which managed to sneak into the comedy series lineup for the first time this year. Considering Danson is already a two-time winner in this category for “Cheers” (1990, 1993), plus a very well-respected industry vet, it seems like a safe bet to tout him as the runner-up. But Chow reminds us that Pop TV’s “Schitt’s Creek blew up this year,” netting four bids, including Best Comedy Series, and could benefit from being available on Netflix.

Finally, we agree that the other three nominees — Anthony Anderson (“Black-ish”), Don Cheadle (“Black Monday”) and Michael Douglas (“The Kominsky Method”) — might have a bit of an uphill battle as their respective shows weren’t shortlisted for Best Comedy Series. This could matter since 15 of last year’s 16 acting races went to actors from shows nominated for top series awards. That said, all three are past Emmy nominees and/or winners, so if anyone breaks this trend this year, it might be one of them. Douglas may have the edge since he won the Golden Globe for “Kominsky” earlier this year and was nominated at both the Critics’ Choice and Screen Actors Guild Awards.

PREDICT the Emmys now; change them until September 22

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 22. And join in the fun debate over the 2019 Emmys taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our television forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.

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