First-time comedy winner guaranteed

Supporting actress noms neven won Emmy

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Although Emmy loves repeat winners, this year promises a change.

There will be a first-time winner in this category, because all are nominees who have never won or have won in a different category. The winners from the past two years — Kristen Chenoweth and Jean Smart of “Pushing Daisies” and “Samantha Who?” respectively — don’t have their shows on the air anymore.

That isn’t to say there aren’t repeat nominees in the running. Holland Taylor, who took home a supporting Emmy over 10 years ago for “The Practice,” is up a fourth time playing caustic matriarch Evelyn Harper on CBS’ hit sitcom “Two and a Half Men.” Versatile performers Kristen Wiig of “Saturday Night Live” and Jane Krakowski of “30 Rock,” meanwhile, shared a category nod last year. It’s the second nom for each.

The other half of this six-strong lineup is new to the Emmy fold. First-time nominee Jane Lynch is enjoying a banner year as the scheming, track-suited cheerleader coach Sue Sylvester on Fox’s multiple-Emmy-nominated “Glee.” (Lynch even has a companion nomination in the guest star category for “Two and a Half Men.”)

The season’s other breakout comedy hit was ABC’s witty, heartwarming sitcom “Modern Family,” which gets dual representation in this category for its pair of very different moms: Julie Bowen’s exasperated household wrangler Claire Dunphy, and Sofia Vergara’s Colombian spitfire Gloria Delgado-Pritchett.

As with last year, the supporting actress category boasts the widest range of show formats, from hourlong musical dramedy (“Glee”) to sketch variety (“Saturday Night Live”) to halfhour sitcoms, both single-camera (“30 Rock,” “Modern Family”) and multicams filmed before a live audience (“Two and a Half Men”).

Jane Lynch
“Glee”
Emmy pedigree: First nom
Best scene: Nearly all of “The Power of Madonna” episode, which chronicled Sue Sylvester’s multifaceted love of the pop star, including a delicious, Sue-centric recreation of the “Vogue” video.
Why she might win: Lynch’s pitch-perfect character is already a pop culture icon of antagonistic hilarity, and, arguably, the dominant face of 19-nominee “Glee.”
Maybe not: A small quibble, perhaps, but outright meanspiritedness doesn’t always translate to an award.

Julie Bowen
“Modern Family”
Emmy pedigree: First nom
Best scene: After a hotel bar stab at sexy role-playing with her husband Phil (Ty Burrell), Claire’s naked-under-her-coat gambit takes a decidedly humiliating turn on an escalator.
Why she might win: After years of sitcom wife moms, Bowen’s exasperatedly witty turn gave an often underwritten sitcom archetype new life.
Maybe not: It’s not a showy performance, and with supporting nods, broad can often win out over subtle.

Sofia Vergara
“Modern Family”
Emmy pedigree: First nom
Best scene: A sweet-voiced paean to the urban charm of her old rundown neighborhood turns into a hilariously vicious rant in the street when, after returning from a divey restaurant, Gloria discovers Cam’s car’s tires have been stripped.
Why she might win: Proving that she’s more than a hot body and a winning smile, Vergara’s comic verve trumped sexiness whenever she got the spotlight.
Maybe not: It’s a big cast, and she’s in the same category as her co-star Julie Bowen. Will they cancel each other out?

Kristen Wiig
“Saturday Night Live”
Emmy pedigree: One previous nom
Best scene: There’s no getting around the fantastic slow-build insanity of Wiig’s character Sue, a woman whose love of surprises and inability to deal with suspense is catastrophic.
Why she might win: Wiig has proven she is the leading comic light of the venerable sketch series, adept with everything from deadpan moments to over-the-top freakouts.
Maybe not: It has been proven routinely difficult for “SNL” players to win Emmys — much less get nominated — over these many years.

Jane Krakowski
“30 Rock”
Emmy pedigree: One previous nom
Best scene: Taking love of adulation to twisted extremes, Jenna (Krakowski) seeks out her longtime stalker to determine why he hasn’t been paying attention of late.
Why she might win: Appreciation for Krakowski’s riotous depiction of showbiz vanity only grows with each year of “30 Rock,” and for such a beloved Emmy show, it could be her time.
Maybe not: “30 Rock” has already been honored so much, she could get left by the wayside.

Holland Taylor
“Two and a Half Men”
Emmy pedigree: One win, plus five previous noms
Best scene: Evelyn enacts a campaign of strategic smothering on grown son Alan (Jon Cryer) when he’s forced to move in with her.
Why she might win: Old-school one-liner mastery has its champions, and Taylor is currently its week-in, week-out queen. Her many nominations for the role could also finally push her toward a win.
Maybe not: With performers of so many different comic stripes in this category, acknowledging Holland’s talents isn’t as easy a decision as in the years when three-camera sitcoms dominated.

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