Elle Fanning’s empress Catherine has finally seized the Russian throne in the second season of Hulu’s “The Great,” and she could be heading for a coronation at the Screen Actors Guild Awards too. The long-awaited second season premieres on Nov. 19, optimally timed for the series and Fanning’s scene-stealing performance to be top of mind for voters ahead of nomination voting.
Season 2 of “The Great” begins four months after Catherine’s coup against husband and Russian emperor Peter (Nicholas Hoult). The pregnant Catherine will take the throne as Peter attempts to reform himself from within the halls of the palace. The new episodes will also introduce Emmy winner Gillian Anderson as Catherine’s scheming mother. The first season of “The Great” earned two Emmy nominations for writing (Tony McNamara) and directing (Matt Shakman), both for the pilot, and two SAG Awards nominations for comedy ensemble and comedy actor for Hoult.
Fanning currently ranks third in our combined odds, trailing only Emmy winners Jean Smart (“Hacks”) and Hannah Waddingham (“Ted Lasso”) in the contest for comedy actress. Four of our SAG Experts — Kaitlin Thomas, Susan Wloszczyna, Thelma Adams, and Joyce Eng, all with Gold Derby — predict Fanning will land the nomination, though nobody thinks she will pull off an upset over Smart. Eight of our 10 editors anticipate Fanning’s bid, though none of them think she’ll win either; they’re all in on Smart.
If Fanning makes it in, that’s still a huge win since she was snubbed for the first season, despite those two nominations for her show, and was ranked seventh in our combined odds. The confidence in her potential reversal of fortune largely stems from a thinning out of contenders. Last year’s lineup boasted four of the five previous Emmy nominees: eventual SAG Award winner Catherine O’Hara (“Schitt’s Creek”), her co-star Annie Murphy (“Schitt’s Creek”), and “Dead to Me” duo Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini; the only nominee from a freshman series was Kaley Cuoco (“The Flight Attendant”). None of those nominees are eligible at the SAG Awards this year, leaving a, well, great opportunity for Fanning to capitalize on.
It makes sense that so many of our users predict Fanning to get in since we’re also collectively betting on the series to get into comedy ensemble and Hoult to get into comedy actor again. Fanning has the best odds, though, with the ensemble in fourth position and Hoult in fifth. But we could be overconfident in her chances since competition in the actress category is especially tough. Sandra Oh and Selena Gomez round out our top five and could be in better position than Fanning. Nipping at their heels are Issa Rae for the final season of “Insecure,” Smart’s “Hacks” co-star and Emmy nominee Hannah Einbinder, and Waddingham’s “Ted Lasso” colleague and fellow Emmy nominee Juno Temple. With strong support for their series, the latter two contenders could easily bump Fanning if “The Great” underperforms.
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