In addition to being the most-awarded actress in SAG Awards and Emmys history, Julia Louis-Dreyfus stands as the only woman who has received back-to-back Best Comedy Actress prizes from both organizations for a single series. She achieved this feat by nabbing individual SAG Awards trophies for “Veep” in 2017 and 2018 after collecting six Emmys in a row for the political sitcom. Now, all signs point to her being joined in this regard by “Hacks” star Jean Smart, whose role on the HBO Max show is the 12th to inspire consecutive Best Comedy Actress Emmy wins and could become the seventh on the corresponding SAG list.
As it stands, Louis-Dreyfus is both the first and last member of the acting guild’s back-to-back Best Comedy Actress winners club, since she was first honored in 1997 and 1998 for “Seinfeld.” She was then followed by a pair of three-time consecutive champs: Megan Mullally (“Will & Grace,” 2002-2004) and Tina Fey (“30 Rock,” 2008-2010). The last two entrants who preceded her “Veep” twofer were Betty White (“Hot in Cleveland,” 2011-2012) and Uzo Aduba (“Orange is the New Black,” 2015-2016). Fey and Louis-Dreyfus also respectively won for “30 Rock” and “Veep” in 2013 and 2014.
Smart sits securely atop Gold Derby’s odds-based Best Comedy Actress SAG Awards predictions, with her closest competitors being “Abbott Elementary” duo Quinta Brunson and Janelle James, Hannah Waddingham (“Ted Lasso”), and her own “Hacks” costar, Hannah Einbinder. All of these challengers would be new to the category except Waddingham, who Smart bested on her initial outing in February. Juno Temple, who was also nominated here for “Ted Lasso” at the last ceremony, is in the mix in 11th place, while 2019 winner Rachel Brosnahan (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”) is ranked seventh.
Just like last time, Smart will probably once again earn simultaneous guild recognition as a member of her show’s ensemble. In that contest, “Hacks” is running second behind “Abbott Elementary.” Being doubly nominated in this manner is practically a requirement for a Best Comedy Actress SAG Award win, given that only two funny ladies – Tracey Ullman (“Tracey Takes On,” 1999) and White (2012) – have ever taken the solo prize without a group bid.
Another factor that works in Smart’s favor is that the SAG and Emmy choices for Best Comedy Actress have aligned for the last six years. After Louis-Dreyfus and Brosnahan, this lineup includes Phoebe Waller-Bridge (“Fleabag,” 2020) and Catherine O’Hara (“Schitt’s Creek,” 2021). If the ever-popular Smart succeeds at the easy task of extending this trend, there’s no stopping her from continuing to break records.
Nominations for the 29th SAG Awards will be announced on Wednesday, January 11 with the ceremony following on Sunday, February 26. The awards are expected to be televised, although the organization has yet to partner with a new network after reaching the end of their decades-long deal with TNT and TBS.
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