Hillary Atkin

Handicapping the Race for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy

Sep 14, 2009

Take two newcomers and four lauded pros—with last year’s winner Jean Smart out of the mix–and there’s a lot of drama in the race for the Emmy Award as best supporting actress in a comedy series.

Vanessa Williams is used to being the best-dressed queen of the castle in “Ugly Betty,” and with this, her third nomination in a row, she’s definitely a front-runner.

Here’s the rest of the playing field of contenders in the category:
Kristin Chenoweth, Pushing Daisies
Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock
Elizabeth Perkins, Weeds
Amy Poehler, Saturday Night Live
Kristin Wiig, Saturday Night Live

In “Betty’s” season finale, Williams’ role as Wilhelmina Slater found her playing tennis with Billie Jean King, singing with Christine Baranski and undergoing acupuncture on camera.

Williams—who hosted the Daytime Emmy Awards in August—has said playing Wilhelmina makes her step up to the plate and learn to do something new.

Chenoweth and Poehler were both also nominees last year. Neither of them still performs the role she is nominated for—Poehler by choice (moving on to NBC’s “Parks and Recreation”) and Chenoweth because her show was cancelled.

This is the third time Elizabeth Perkins has gotten an Emmy nom for playing
Celia Hodes on “Weeds.” She’s another Emmy voter favorite, having been nominated in 2006 and 2007, as well as receiving nods for her work from the Screen Actors Guild and the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn.

The two new comediennes in the category are way beyond learning the ropes, although this is the first time each will be making the Emmy rounds.

Wiig has really come into her own in the past year as SNL’s breakout female star–playing signature roles like Penelope, the hilarious serial one-upper and exaggerator, Gilly, the mischievous schoolgirl and the crazy collector Target cashier lady—as well as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Diane Sawyer and Suze Orman.

But Krakowski, who plays the fictional late night sketch comedy show’s Jenna Maroney on “30 Rock” could be swept up to the stage as a winner, as part of the comedy’s record 22 nominations.#


  1. Lorne Michaels is having a kick ass year-both of his shows (30 Rock and SNL) are up for records numbers of nominations. He wrote the book on success.

  2. I have been pulling for Vanessa Williams in this category for three years. If her name isn’t called, it will probably be Poehler’s.

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