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Variety's Awards Circuit is home to the official predictions for the upcoming Emmys ceremonies from film awards editor Clayton Davis. Following history, buzz, news, reviews and sources, the Emmy predictions are updated regularly with the current year's list of contenders in all categories. Variety's Awards Circuit Prediction schedule consists of four phases, running all year long: Draft, Pre-Season, Regular Season and Post Season. The eligibility calendar and dates of awards will determine how long each phase lasts and is subject to change.

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DRAFT>>>PRE-SEASON>>>REGULAR SEASON>>>POST SEASON

2021 EMMYS PREDICTIONS:
OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES

UPDATED: June 17, 2021

AWARDS PREDICTION COMMENTARY: Allison Janney is to the Emmys as Meryl Streep is to the Oscars. Doubt her ability to snag a nomination at your own prediction demise. Etched in the history books and tied with Ed Asner and Mary Tyler Moore for seven Emmy prizes from the TV Academy, she’s only one away from tying the late Cloris Leachman, who has eight. The recovering drug addict Bonnie Plunkett has been the best part of the long-running CBS series, and as we say farewell this year, perhaps one more for the road could be in order.

California native Jane Levy has had a breakthrough year as the young and musically charged Zoey in NBC’s “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist.” It’s another solid opportunity for the networks to break up the streaming and cable domination at the Emmys, and this could be one of the “purist” picks to slip through the arsenal of top-tier contenders this season.

The entire world is slowly becoming one that Cristin Milioti rules, and the sooner we come to terms with it, the better. This, of course, comes after she delivered one of the best performances of last year in Max Barbakow’s “Palm Springs” and then hopped into the new HBO Max series “Made for Love” as Hazel Green, a woman who is trying to escape her husband with a monitoring device in her brain. While the show may not have taken off critically, she could be a safe bet for recognition with an ensemble that includes Ray Romano, another Emmy darling.

The third season of Netflix’s beloved comedy may have taken a different turn for its third season, with writer Lena Waithe taking the lead on the comedy series, but she could be a welcomed surprise into the race. A previous Emmy winner in 2017, which she shared with Aziz Ansari, Netflix might be able to steer her name into the direction of Academy voters and snag a spot in favor of one of the other leading contenders.

The eligibility period ends on May 31 before nomination-round voting begins on June 17, concluding on June 28. The Primetime Emmy nominations will be announced on July 13, 2021.


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Wind Chimes and a Bottomless Pit of Sadness Courtesy of WARNER BROTHERS

AND THE PREDICTED NOMINEES ARE:

  1. Jean Smart
    "Hacks" (HBO Max)
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    EMMY HISTORY: Nine nominations, three wins (guest actress comedy for "Frasier" in 2000 and 2001, and supporting actress comedy for "Samantha Who?" in 2008).
    ROLE: Deborah Vance

    CREATOR: Paul W. Downs, Lucia Aniello, Jen Statsky
    SYNOPSIS: Explores a dark mentorship that forms between Deborah Vance, a legendary Las Vegas comedian, and an entitled, outcast 25-year-old.
    STARRING: Jean Smart, Hannah Einbinder, Carl Clemons-Hopkins


  2. Kaley Cuoco
    "The Flight Attendant" (HBO Max)
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    EMMY HISTORY: Never nominated
    ROLE: Cassie Bowden

    CREATOR: Steve Yockey
    SYNOPSIS: A reckless flight attendant with an alcoholism problem wakes up in the wrong hotel, in the wrong bed, with a dead man - and no idea what happened. Unable to piece the night together, she begins to wonder if she could be the killer.
    STARRING: Kaley Cuoco, Michiel Huisman, Zosia Mamet, T. R. Knight, Michelle Gomez, Colin Woodell, Merle Dandridge, Griffin Matthews, Nolan Gerard Funk, Rosie Perez


  3. Tracee Ellis Ross
    "Black-ish" (ABC)
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    EMMY HISTORY: Four nominations
    ROLE: Rainbow Johnson

    CREATOR: Kenya Barris
    SYNOPSIS: A family man struggles to gain a sense of cultural identity while raising his kids in a predominantly white, upper-middle-class neighborhood.
    STARRING: Anthony Anderson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Yara Shahidi, Marcus Scribner, Miles Brown, Marsai Martin, Laurence Fishburne, Jeff Meacham, Jenifer Lewis, Peter Mackenzie, Deon Cole, Katlyn Nichol


  4. Allison Janney
    "Mom" (CBS)
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    EMMY HISTORY: 14 nominations, 7 wins (supporting actress drama for "The West Wing" in 2000 and 2001, lead actress drama for "The West Wing" in 2002 and 2004, guest actress drama for "Masters of Sex" in 2014 and supporting actress comedy for "Mom" in 2014 and 2015)
    ROLE: Bonnie

    CREATORS: Gemma Baker, Eddie Gorodetsky, Chuck Lorre
    SYNOPSIS: A newly sober single mom tries to pull her life together in Napa Valley while dealing with her wayward mother.
    STARRING: Allison Janney, Anna Faris, Mimi Kennedy, Beth Hall


  5. Renée Elise Goldsberry
    "Girls5eva" (Peacock)
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    EMMY HISTORY: Never nominated
    ROLE: Wickie Roy

    CREATORS: Meredith Scardino
    SYNOPSIS: A one-hit-wonder band from the '90s gets a second shot at fame when they're sampled by a young star.
    STARRING: Sara Bareilles, Busy Philipps, Paula Pell, Renée Elise Goldsberry


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Made for Love
Season 1 – Episode 1
Cristin Milioti
Credit: John P. Johnson/HBO Max
Courtesy of HBO Max

NEXT IN LINE CONTENDERS:

  1. Jane Levy
    "Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist" (NBC)
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    EMMY HISTORY: Never nominated
    ROLE: Zoey

    CREATORS: Austin Winsberg
    SYNOPSIS: A young woman discovers she has the ability to hear the innermost thoughts of people around her as songs and musical numbers.
    STARRING: Jane Levy, Skylar Astin, Alex Newell, John Clarence Stewart, Peter Gallagher, Mary Steenburgen, Lauren Graham, Andrew Leeds, Alice Lee, Michael Thomas Grant, Kapil Talwalkar


  2. Maya Erskine
    "Pen15" (Hulu)
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    EMMY HISTORY: One nomination
    ROLE: Maya Ishii-Peters

    CREATORS: Maya Erskine, Anna Konkle, Sam Zvibleman
    SYNOPSIS: The comedic story of middle school seen through the eyes of two 7th grade girls dealing with the awkwardness of being a teenager.
    STARRING: Maya Erskine, Anna Konkle, Mutsuko Erskine, Richard Karn, Taylor Nichols, Melora Walters, Taj Cross, Dallas Liu


  3. Aidy Bryant
    "Shrill" (Hulu)
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    EMMY HISTORY: Two nominations
    ROLE: Annie Easton

    CREATOR: Aidy Bryant, Alexandra Rushfield, Lindy West
    SYNOPSIS: A woman seeks out ways to change her life without changing her body.
    STARRING: Aidy Bryant, Lolly Adefope, John Cameron Mitchell, Ian Owens, Patti Harrison


  4. Cristin Milioti
    "Made for Love" (HBO Max)
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    EMMY HISTORY: Never nominated
    ROLE: Hazel Green

    CREATORS: Alissa Nutting & Dean Bakopoulos and Patrick Somerville and Christina Lee
    SYNOPSIS: A young woman, on the run after 10 years in a suffocating marriage to a tech billionaire, suddenly realizes that her husband has implanted a revolutionary monitoring device in her brain that allows him to track her every move.
    STARRING: Cristin Milioti, Billy Magnussen, Dan Bakkedahl, Noma Dumezweni, Ray Romano, Augusto Aguilera


  5. Hailee Steinfeld
    "Dickinson" (Apple TV Plus)
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    EMMY HISTORY: Never nominated
    ROLE: Emily Dickinson

    CREATOR: Alena Smith
    SYNOPSIS: An inside look at the world of writer Emily Dickinson.
    STARRING: Hailee Steinfeld, Toby Huss, Adrian Blake Enscoe, Anna Baryshnikov, Ella Hunt, Jane Krakowski


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MASTER OF NONE S3 (L to R) LENA WAITHE as DENISE and NAOMI ACKIE as ALICIA in episode 301 of MASTER OF NONE. Cr. COURTESY OF NETFLIX © 2021 COURTESY OF NETFLIX

TOP-TIER AWARDS CONTENDERS:

  1. Sara Bareilles
    "Girls5eva" (Peacock)
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    EMMY HISTORY: Three nominations
    ROLE: Dawn Solano

    CREATORS: Meredith Scardino
    SYNOPSIS: A one-hit-wonder band from the '90s gets a second shot at fame when they're sampled by a young star.
    STARRING: Sara Bareilles, Busy Philipps, Paula Pell, Renée Elise Goldsberry


  2. Lena Waithe
    "Master of None" (Netflix)
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    EMMY HISTORY: One nomination, one win (writing comedy series for "Master of None" in 2017)
    ROLE: Denise

    CREATOR: Aziz Ansari, Alan Yang
    SYNOPSIS: The personal and professional life of Dev, a 30-year-old actor in New York.
    STARRING: Lena Waithe, Naomi Ackie


  3. Anna Konkle
    "Pen15" (Hulu)
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    EMMY HISTORY: One nomination
    ROLE: Anna Kone

    CREATORS: Maya Erskine, Anna Konkle, Sam Zvibleman
    SYNOPSIS: The comedic story of middle school seen through the eyes of two 7th grade girls dealing with the awkwardness of being a teenager.
    STARRING: Maya Erskine, Anna Konkle, Mutsuko Erskine, Richard Karn, Taylor Nichols, Melora Walters, Taj Cross, Dallas Liu


  4. Lily Collins
    "Emily in Paris" (Netflix)
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    EMMY HISTORY: Never nominated
    ROLE: Emily Cooper

    CREATOR: Darren Star
    SYNOPSIS: A young American woman from the Midwest is hired by a marketing firm in Paris to provide them with an American perspective on things.
    STARRING: Lily Collins, Philppine Leroy-Beaulieu, Ashley Park, Lucas Bravo, Samuel Arnold, Bruno Gouery


  5. Robin Thede
    "A Black Lady Sketch Show" (HBO)
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    EMMY HISTORY: One nomination
    ROLE: Various characters

    CREATOR: Robin Thede
    SYNOPSIS: A half-hour sketch comedy written by and starring Robin Thede.
    STARRING: Robin Thede, Gabrielle Dennis, Ashley Nicole Black, Quinta Brunson, Issa Rae


  6. Alia Shawkat
    "Search Party" (HBO Max)
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    EMMY HISTORY: Never nominated
    ROLE: Dory Sief

    CREATOR: Sarah-Violet Bliss, Charles Rogers, Michael Showalter
    SYNOPSIS: "Search Party" is a dark comedy about four self-absorbed twenty-somethings who become entangled in an ominous mystery when a former college acquaintance suddenly disappears.
    STARRING: Alia Shawkat, John Reynolds, John Early, Meredith Hagner, Brandon Michael Hall, Clare McNulty


  7. Charlotte Nicdao
    "Mythic Quest: Raven's Banquet" (Apple TV Plus)
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    EMMY HISTORY: Never nominated
    ROLE: Poppy

    CREATOR: Megan Ganz, Rob McElhenney, Charlie Day
    SYNOPSIS: The owner of a successful video game design company and his troubled staff struggle to keep their hit game 'Mythic Quest' on top.
    STARRING: Rob McElhenney, Ashly Burch, Jessie Ennis, Imani Hakim, David Hornsby, Charlotte Nicdao, Danny Pudi, F. Murray Abraham


  8. Sutton Foster
    "Younger" (Paramount Plus)
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    EMMY HISTORY: Never nominated
    ROLE: Liza Miller

    CREATORS: Darren Star
    SYNOPSIS: After being mistaken for younger than she really is, a single mother decides to take the chance to reboot her career and her love life as a 26-year old.
    STARRING: Sutton Foster, Debi Mazar, Miriam Shor, Nico Tortorella, Hilary Duff, Peter Hermann, Molly Bernard, Charles Michael Davis


  9. Jana Schmieding
    "Rutherford Falls" (Peacock)
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    EMMY HISTORY: Never nominated
    ROLE: Reagan Wells

    CREATOR: Ed Helms, Sierra Teller Ornelas, Michael Schur
    SYNOPSIS: A small town in the Northeast is turned upside down when local legend and town namesake, Nathan Rutherford (Ed Helms) fights the moving of a historical statue.
    STARRING: Ed Helms, Michael Greyeyes, Jana Schmieding, Jesse Leigh, Dustin Milligan


  10. Sara Gilbert
    "The Conners" (ABC)
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    EMMY HISTORY: Two nominations
    ROLE: Darlene Conner

    CREATOR: Matt Williams
    SYNOPSIS: Follow-up to the comedy series "Roseanne," centering on the family members of the matriarch after her sudden death.
    STARRING: John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf, Sara Gilbert, Lecy Goranson, Michael Fishman, Emma Kenney, Ames McNamara, Jayden Rey, Maya Lynne Robinson, Jay R. Ferguson


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AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE – ABC’s ÒAmerican HousewifeÓ stars Katy Mixon as Katie Otto. (ABC/Maarten de Boer) ABC

ALL AWARDS CONTENDERS (UNRANKED):

AWARDS CATEGORY HISTORY (Lead Actress in a Comedy Series)

The Primetime Emmy Awards, better known simply as the Emmys, is television’s most prestigious artistic award. There are many records held for both wins and nominations in the near eight decades.

For wins: Julia Louis-Dreyfus has won this award seven times, the most of any actress, six of which were consecutive for “Veep,” almost the entire run of the series. Candice Bergen and Mary Tyler Moore have won this prize five times over their careers. “Veep” and “Murphy Brown” have been the most nominated series for lead actress comedy.

For nominations: Julia Louis-Dreyfus is the most nominated actress with 12 with Mary Tyler Moore and Bea Arthur behind with 10 and nine.

“The Golden Girls” is the most nominated series with 15 nominations over its run, with “Cheers” behind it with nine.


2021 Primetime Emmy Awards Predictions

About the Primetime Emmy Awards (Emmys)

The Primetime Emmy Awards, better known as the Emmys, is given out by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS). Since 1949, the awards recognize excellence in American primetime television programming. They are divided into three classes – Primetime Emmy Awards, the Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards (honors artisan achievements) and the Primetime Engineering Emmy Awards (recognizes significant engineering and technological contributions). The typical eligibility period is between June 1 and May 31 of any given year. The Television Academy comprises over 25,000 members, representing 30 professional peer groups, including performers, directors, producers, art directors and various artisans and executives.

  • The 73rd Emmy Awards are scheduled to air on Sunday, Sept. 19 at 8:00 pm est on CBS and on-demand on sister streamer Paramount Plus.