Last fall, Jean Smart pulled off something so impossible, so legendary that only the great Betty White had done it before her: win an Emmy in the comedy lead, supporting and guest categories (and all for different shows). Now she’s the most nominated performer at this year’s Screen Actors Guild Awards, having snagged three bids — the most of any performer in TV or film — for her work on two different series.
Smart was honored with an individual nomination for her layered performance as trailblazing comedienne Deborah Vance on the HBO Max comedy “Hacks.” On the series, Deborah becomes a reluctant friend and mentor to a young, aspiring comedy writer (Hannah Einbinder) who’s been shunned by Hollywood after a social media gaffe. The series, created by Lucia Aniello, Paul W. Downs and Jen Statsky, also snagged a nod for TV comedy ensemble.
Elsewhere, Smart was nominated for her turn as the mother of Kate Winslet’s titular detective in the HBO crime drama “Mare of Easttown.” The limited series received four nominations in all: Smart, Winslet, Evan Peters and stunt ensemble (yes, really). Winslet and Peters — who portrayed Mare’s young partner in the series — took home Emmys for their respective performances. Julianne Nicholson, who took on the role of Mare’s best friend, actually beat out Smart for the Emmy for supporting actress, but she failed to make the shortlist here, likely the result of a too crowded field since the SAG Awards still do not have separate categories for supporting performances. This means Smart will be competing against Winslet, who currently leads Gold Derby’s combined odds at 16/5. Jennifer Coolidge of “The White Lotus” sits in second place, followed by Margaret Qualley of “Maid” and Cynthia Erivo of “Genius: Aretha.” Smart rounds out the field.
SEE Full list of SAG Awards TV nominations
However, while she might not snag the award for TV movie/limited series actress, Smart is expected to take home the SAG Award for TV comedy actress. She currently leads the pack at 31/10 odds and with 12 Experts predicting her to triumph. “Ted Lasso” star Hannah Waddingham, who took home the Emmy for comedy supporting actress in the fall, trails her in second place with 39/10 odds. Rounding out the rest of the category are Elle Fanning of “The Great,” Sandra Oh of “The Chair” and Juno Temple of “Ted Lasso,” all with 9/2 odds.
While a bit less likely, there’s also a possibility that “Hacks” might be able to beat out Apple TV+’s hit comedy “Ted Lasso” for the top spot in the ensemble race. “Hacks” is currently sitting in second place at 39/10 odds. However, it will be a bit of an uphill climb, as “Ted Lasso” is coming off an epic showing at the Emmys, winning for comedy series, comedy actor (Jason Sudeikis), comedy supporting actor (Brett Goldstein) and comedy supporting actress (Waddingham). It’s the heavy favorite to win TV comedy ensemble, with 16/5 odds and 10 Experts predicting it to win, which means if “Hacks” does manage to pull off an upset, it’ll be huge.
But what’s truly remarkable (and most crazy?) about Smart’s impressive showing at this year’s SAG Awards is that this also marks the actress’ first individual nominations. She was previously nominated as part of the ensemble of the Fox drama “24” in 2007. But despite the fact that her career spans decades and she has given several stellar performances, appearing in everything from HBO’s “Watchmen” to FX’s “Fargo,” she is only just now receiving the awards’ attention she has always deserved. People are finally starting to wake up, and you absolutely love to see it.
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