Emmy Experts Typing: Will ‘Only Murders in the Building’ make a killing?

Welcome to Emmy Experts Typing, a weekly column in which Gold Derby editors and Experts Joyce Eng and Christopher Rosen discuss the Emmy race — via Slack, of course. This week, we look at comedy and consider “Only Murders in the Building’s” prospects as its second season is set to premiere on June 28.

Christopher Rosen: Hello, Joyce! We’re back and while it’s nice to see the rest of the world getting on my level when it comes to Matthew Goode‘s performance on “The Offer” (FYC, forever), we’re not here to type about my favorite limited series about the producer of 1992’s “Ladybugs.” Instead, it’s back to laughs. We’ve typed countless words about “Ted Lasso,” “Barry,” and “Hacks” this year — those three shows remain the frontrunners in the Emmys comedy categories and should find great success when nominations are announced next month. But what about the rest of the category — and is there room for an upset? Maybe not but let’s speculate on that very conceit! I assume with both agree that “Only Murders in the Building” is perhaps best positioned to win a significant award should one of the top shows falter. It’s possible the Hulu comedy could get both guest acting awards for Jane Lynch and Nathan Lane, and I could even envision a scenario where Steve Martin sneaks in and takes down Jason Sudeikis and/or Bill Hader in Best Actor. Then there’s Selena Gomez. She’s getting a push this week as the show readies for its Season 2 premiere — which, as we’ve talked about, is coming just after voting closes, so any boost she’d get from the second season would only materialize if she was nominated. Best Actress is both crowded and not really crowded. I have Gomez getting in but I’m not totally sold on her ability to break through — even though she probably gave my favorite performance on the show in Season 1. But what about you, Joyce? How do you view the rest of the comedy contenders?

joyceeng: I’ve been championing “Only Murders in the Building” since the first season wrapped in October, so you know I stan. However, I do not have Gomez in at the moment, though I’d love to see it. She is great and brings more of her gloriously dry line readings to Season 2, but I feel like the show needs to go over in a huge way for her to break into a loaded category. It seems like nearly everyone has “Only Murders” in fourth place, behind the “Ted Lasso,” “Hacks” and “Barry” trio — the latter two have taken up a lot of oxygen recently as they’ve aired — and I could see it performing similarly to how it did in the winter: nominated at all the right places except for Gomez at SAG but doesn’t win anything major. The Season 2 release date is interesting because, like you said, it’s arriving in that dead zone post-voting and pre-nominations, so it feels like they are banking on the noms and want focus on getting that Season 2 bump for the wins. If Gomez does get in, she’s not beating Jean Smart, but having watched the first eight screeners, she has some nice material toward the end of the season, which would air around Phase 2 voting. As for Steve Martin and Martin Short, they’re locked for noms, but I think they’ll finish third and fourth because their individual support feels more or less evenly split. But since we wanna get our girl Selena in, lemme float a scenario: What if we’re in for a shocking snub somewhere, Elisabeth Moss, “The Handmaid’s Tale” Season 3-style? Former champ Rachel Brosnahan is in second in the odds, but “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” aired 43 years and 5,203 shows ago (these numbers are accurate).

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Christopher Rosen: I mean, you might be on to something. No disrespect to “Mrs. Maisel” but it feels like the latest season came and went without much fanfare and has summarily been lost to history. If Brosnahan is snubbed, it wouldn’t be because of her performance — just more atrophy around the brand after many months away. The issue is that I don’t know who would get it instead. I have Gomez in sixth place behind Smart, Kaley Cuoco, Brosnahan, Sarah Lancashire and Quinta Brunson. That leaves stars like Tracee Ellis Ross and Issa Rae on the outside and while either could make it, I think they’d get in over Gomez rather than anyone else. Let’s talk actors: I still have Jake Johnson in for “Minx.” I have no regrets. But tell me why that won’t happen despite our shared infatuation with the hirsute star.

joyceeng: Jake Johnson deserves and I am still hopedicting him, but we both know our beloved “Minx” wasn’t exactly a big hit. There could be some inspired picks in this lineup, like Johnson or Nicholas Hoult or Kayvan Novak or Rhys Darby, but, as I’ve mentioned, this category is fortified by familiar faces. It’s just hard for outsiders and new faces on lower profile shows to break in because voters are seemingly content checking off what and who they already know. Last year, people were predicting Alan Tudyk, but the final field of five included William H. Macy and Kenan Thompson. I think Hader, Sudeikis, Martin and Short are in, and it would not shock me at all if the last two slots are filled by Anthony Anderson, who has never missed for “Black-ish,” and our favorite guest nominee last year, 11-time nominee Don Cheadle, for a show that was quietly canceled during COVID. I say this even as I have Donald Glover in, but I remain unsure about how “Atlanta” will do. We’ve talked ad nauseam about how different this season was, with pruned screen time for the main cast, but he’s also a familiar face and a former winner, unlike Anderson and Cheadle, who can coast on that. To bring this back to “Only Murders,” I must ask about one contender seldom discussed: Amy Ryan. She’d be a terrific guest nominee, but alas, she was in too many episodes and must run in supporting. I had her in very, very early on and don’t even remember when I dropped her, but she’s currently in 10th in the odds, two spots out. Can you see her wooing voters the way she wooed Steve Martin?

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Christopher Rosen: I don’t know about Amy. Like you said, the volume isn’t necessarily there and when the voters can just name-check a bunch of “SNL” stars for the last time and a couple of “Ted Lasso” faves, there isn’t a lot of room. I wanted to go back to actor, though, before we exit: what about Larry David? He was last nominated in 2018 and fell off in 2020 in a deeper field — does he come back again this year? Is he just the type of actor who gets in as voters run out of steam on their ballots?

joyceeng: I wouldn’t even call that field deep — no shade — but the 2019 and 2020 slates matched 5/6 and likely would’ve been a perfect match had Hader, the two-time reigning champ, been eligible in 2020. He was replaced by Ramy Youssef, who missed the previous year but was widely predicted after his Globe triumph. They Ctrl+C’d and Ctrl+V’d everyone they could from 2019 and David was likely forgotten since “Curb Your Enthusiasm” sat out that cycle. “Curb” also didn’t get any guest acting noms in 2020 after snagging two in 2018, so maybe actors are over it in general. No one ought to be surprised if David is nominated, but I think he had a greater chance of returning as an old default pick last year had the show been eligible. But since “Curb” will outlive us all, he will never run out of chances to return.

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