SAG Awards nominee profile: Kaley Cuoco lands first solo nomination for ‘The Flight Attendant’

After years of earning nominations at the SAG Awards as part of the ensemble for “The Big Bang Theory,” Kaley Cuoco finally has her first solo bid, in Best TV Comedy Actress for HBO Max’s “The Flight Attendant.” She also scored a nomination for Best TV Comedy Cast as part of the show’s ensemble after earning six consecutive nominations in the category for “Big Bang” from 2012-17.

Cuoco is facing off against some steep competition for this prize. Among them are two recent Emmy winners for “Schitt’s Creek“: Catherine O’Hara and Annie Murphy. Murphy’s only been nominated by this group last year as part of the “Schitt’s” ensemble. O’Hara was nominated for that as well as in this category last year and earned a nom for Limited Series/TV Movie Actress for “Temple Grandin” in 2011. Also nominated are the leading ladies from “Dead to Me,” Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini. In addition to this bid and her nod for the show’s ensemble, Applegate was nominated in this category last year and has three prior citations here for “Samantha Who?” from 2008-10. Cardellini’s only other previous nomination at SAG was in Best Movie Cast for “Brokeback Mountain” in 2005.

SEE ‘Schitt’s Creek’ and ‘The Crown’ eye unprecedented domination of the SAG Awards

Cuoco portrays Cassie Bowden on the show, a brash airline employee who’s much too comfortable drinking while working and hooking up with strangers that include the passengers she’s supposed to be assisting. Her world gets turned upside down when she hooks up with a charming passenger flying to Bangkok but wakes up the following morning to find that he’s been brutally murdered. As she makes several mistakes in an attempt to clear her name, she also gets drawn deeper into the seedy life of the deceased man while also being forced to confront her reckless nature and how it affects her friends and family.

While many are still predicting that O’Hara will come out on top, as she has at the Emmys, Globes and Critics Choice TV Awards, Cuoco is in a very good spot to possibly win here. The main reason for this is that when it comes to the TV categories at SAG, if co-stars are nominated against each other, they will often cancel each other out. Naturally, if O’Hara and Murphy do that to each other, it’s pretty safe to say that Applegate and Cardellini would do the same and that leaves Cuoco as the beneficiary of this.

It doesn’t always break down along those lines though. Two years ago, Rachel Brosnahan was able to win in this category while she was up against her co-star, Alex Borstein, as well as both Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin for “Grace and Frankie.” The remaining nominee, Alison Brie for “GLOW,” wasn’t able to capitalize on potential vote-splitting. However, the fact that “The Flight Attendant” was also able to score a nomination for Best TV Comedy Cast and with Cuoco looking to be a frontrunner for the Emmys in September, means that the love for this show and Cuoco’s performance is real. It could very easily lead to a win here that boosts her momentum going into Emmy season.

This article is a part of Gold Derby’s “SAG Awards nominee profile” series spotlighting the 2021 contenders in film and TV.

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