Emmy Comedy Supporting Actress: What Will Happen?

Cuoco, Walter, Williams among top contenders

And here it is, our final category spotlight before Thursday’s Emmy nominations. Here’s how the field shapes up for supporting actress in a comedy.

Open doors: Two of last year’s six nominee slots have opened, one because of the passing of Kathryn Joosten, the other from Kristen Wiig’s departure from “Saturday Night Live.”

The ‘Family’ way: In theory, “Modern Family” could step into that void. In addition to two-time defending champ Julie Bowen and three-time nominee Sofia Vergara, younger thesps Sarah Hyland and Ariel Winter have had enough shining moments to validate their nomination platforms. (Speaking of ABC’s Wednesday family daughters, so has Eden Sher of “The Middle.”)

‘Bang’ ‘Bang’ ‘Bang’: More likely to take advantage of the vacancies is the cast of “The Big Bang Theory.” Mayim Bialik was already nominated in 2012 and only had more juicy moments this past season in her pursuit of Sheldon. But it’s past the point of logic that Kaley Cuoco hasn’t been recognized for her work on the show, and Melissa Rauch has thrived as well.

Odd years in: Three nominees from 2011 dropped out of the race in 2012: Jane Krakowski of “30 Rock,” Jane Lynch (the 2010 winner) of “Glee” and Betty White of “Hot in Cleveland.” All are candidates to reascend, as is Jenna Fischer of “The Office,” nominated previously way back in 2007 but a revival candidate thanks to her marital anguish on the show’s farewell season. Last nominated in 2005, Jessica Walter (“Arrested Development”) could also make it back, thanks to the Netflix revival that also offers Alia Shawkat as a cool possibility.

Showtime for Showtime: Merrit Wever of “Nurse Jackie”  was 2012’s only cable nominee in the category and had a nice arc on “New Girl” (as onscreen competition with Hannah Simone) to extend her familiarity with the voting body.

As the “Girls” turn: There’s room for at least one of Lena Dunham’s posse to earn a supporting comedy actress nod. Based on prominence in 2012-13, the best bet is Allison Williams, ahead of Zosia Mamet and Jemima Kirke.

Trio of trios: Overlooked in the past, each member of the threesomes of Alison Brie, Yvette Nicole Brown and Gillian Jacobs (“Community”), Rashida Jones, Aubrey Plaza and Retta (“Parks and Recreation”) and Eliza Coupe, Elisha Cuthbert and Casey Wilson (“Happy Endings”) is deserving, though the Academy hasn’t seen fit to agree so far.

Not leading the way: Two names you might have expected to see in the lead category that entered the supporting race are Georgia King of “The New Normal” and Amy Schumer of “Inside Amy Schumer.”

Don’t forget: The depth in the supporting comedy actress race is underscored by the presence of such series vets as Anna Chlumsky (“Veep”), Carrie Brownstein (“Portlandia”), Ana Gasteyer and Cheryl Hines (“Suburgatory”) and Diane Ladd (“Enlightened”).

One man’s wish list: Bialik, Cuoco, Fischer, Plaza, Shawkat, Walter.

One man’s best guesses: Bialik, Bowen, Cuoco, Vergara, Walter, Williams.

Emmy Drama: What Will Happen?
Emmy Comedy: What Will Happen?
Emmy Drama Lead Actor: What Will Happen?
Emmy Drama Lead Actress: What Will Happen?
Emmy Comedy Lead Actor: What Will Happen?
Emmy Comedy Lead Actress: What Will Happen?
Emmy Drama Supporting Actor: What Will Happen?
Emmy Drama Supporting Actress: What Will Happen?
Emmy Comedy Supporting Actor: What Will Happen?

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