What do Sarah Paulson, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Michelle Williams and Catherine O’Hara all have in common? Prior to Sunday night, they were the only performers to sweep all five major TV awards — Emmys, Golden Globes, SAG Awards, Critics Choice Awards and Television Critics Association — in a single television season. Now, Jean Smart (“Hacks”) has joined this elite list of grand slam winners.
Smart claimed the Critics Choice Award on March 13 in the Best Comedy Actress category for her role as Deborah Vance on the HBO Max comedy series. Deborah is a legendary Las Vegas stand-up comedian whose career is stalling, so her agent hires a young writer (played by Hannah Einbinder) to help shake up her material. In her speech, Smart paid tribute to the show’s DGA-winning director Lucia Aniello, who recently gave birth in between directing scenes for Season 2.
The actress previously claimed victory at the Critics Choice Awards for her supporting turns in both “Fargo” and “Watchmen.” Now in the lead race for “Hacks,” Smart took down fellow nominees Elle Fanning (“The Great”), Sandra Oh (“The Chair”), Issa Rae (“Insecure”), Selena Gomez (“Only Murders in the Building”) and Renee Elise Goldsberry (“Girls5eva”). Smart was also nominated for her “Mare of Easttown” supporting role, but lost to Jennifer Coolidge (“The White Lotus”).
The five grand slam champions represent limited series (“The People v. O.J. Simpson” for Paulson, “Fosse/Verdon” for Williams) and comedy series (“Fleabag” for Waller-Bridge, “Schitt’s Creek” for O’Hara, “Hacks” for Smart), while no one has yet accomplished this feat for a drama series. Interestingly enough, four of them also won our own Gold Derby Awards for these roles, with only Williams losing (to Amy Adams of “Sharp Objects”).
Also of note, all of the champions so far are women. Men have come close over the years, with Jason Sudeikis (“Ted Lasso”) just missing out last year — he lost the TCA Award to, you guessed it, Smart. And Darren Criss (“The Assassination of Gianni Versace”) went four of five in 2018, missing out on the TCA Award to Keri Russell (“The Americans”).