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Emmys: Lead Actress (Comedy) Quinta Brunson Headed Towards Historic Win With Christina Applegate and Jenna Ortega Close Behind

Variety Awards Circuit section is the home for all awards news and related content throughout the year, featuring the following: the official predictions for the upcoming Oscars, Emmys, Grammys and Tony Awards ceremonies, curated by Variety senior awards editor Clayton Davis. The prediction pages reflect the current standings in the race and do not reflect personal preferences for any individual contender. As other formal (and informal) polls suggest, competitions are fluid and subject to change based on buzz and events. Predictions are updated every Thursday.

Visit the prediction pages for the respective ceremonies via the links below:

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OSCARS | EMMYS | GRAMMYS | TONYS

2023 Emmy Predictions:
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL, Rachel Brosnahan, 'Go Forward'. (Season 5, ep. 501, aired April 14, 2023). photo: Philippe Antonello / ©Amazon /Courtesy Everett Collection
THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL, Rachel Brosnahan, ‘Go Forward’. (Season 5, ep. 501, aired April 14, 2023). photo: Philippe Antonello / ©Amazon /Courtesy Everett Collection

Weekly Commentary (Updated: Aug. 17, 2023): Quinta Brunson is the front-runner to win her first acting Emmy for her charming turn as Janine Teagues, the optimistic 2nd-grade teacher from ABC’s hit mockumentary. With a beautiful sophomore season in the books and the added benefit of Jean Smart being out of the competition for “Hacks,” she’s perfectly aligned with the Emmy cosmos to land much-deserved recognition. She would be the second Black woman to win the category after Isabel Sanford for “The Jeffersons” in 1981. In lead actress comedy, only seven Black women have been nominated since its inception in 1966 — Diahann Carroll (“Julia”), Sanford, Nell Carter (“Gimme a Break!”), Phylicia Rashad (“The Cosby Show”), Tracee Ellis Ross (“Black-ish”), Issa Rae (“Insecure”) and the Brunson above.

In what could be her own career farewell performance for the Netflix comedy series, Christina Applegate nabbed a deserved nomination for the final season. Along with her co-star Linda Cardellini, the chemistry and magic were on full display, and she could garner sentimental votes from her peers. Who would get mad at such a moment?

America Ferrera is the only Latina to win this category in 2007 for “Ugly Betty.” With Jenna Ortega being the third Latina ever recognized and the youngest nominee this year for her turn as the titular “Wednesday” in Netflix’s prequel series, her deadpan but brilliant turn could bring a monumental win. We only wish she would have chosen the “Woe What a Night” episode which features her viral TikTok dance.

Read: Variety’s Awards Circuit for the latest Primetime Emmy predictions in the major categories.

POKER FACE
POKER FACE

An Emmy winner for the inaugural season of the Prime Video series, Rachel Brosnahan’s Miriam ‘Midge’ Maisel delivered her final set during this last season, submitting the farewell episode “Four Minutes.” Previous winners who successfully won after submitting their final bows include Matthew Rhys (“The Americans”) and Jon Hamm (“Mad Men”). She could repeat their plays.

Natasha Lyonne is a respected actor and, with Peacock’s premier comedy series from Rian Johnson, manages to be its sole piece of recognition. Conducting a loud phase one for the streaming series and being popular among her peers, she could be a viable threat during the voting window.

The rankings for the category are below.

The final Emmy voting rounds open on Aug. 17 at 9 a.m. PT and close on Aug. 28 at 10 p.m. PST. The 75th Emmy Awards are scheduled to air on Monday, January 15, 2024, at 8 p.m. ET/ 5 p.m. PT. The Creative Arts ceremony will occur on Saturday, January 6, and Sunday, January 7. An edited version will air on FXX on Saturday, January 13, 2024, at 8 p.m. ET. All events will take place at the Peacock Theater at LA Live.

Read: Variety’s Awards Circuit for the latest Creative Arts predictions in all categories.


And the Nominees Are:


  1. Quinta Brunson — “Abbott Elementary” (ABC)
    Episode submission: “Teacher’s Conference”

  2. Christina Applegate — “Dead to Me” (Netflix)
    Episode submission: “We’ve Reached the End”

  3. Rachel Brosnahan — “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (Prime Video)
    Episode submission: “Four Minutes”

  4. Jenna Ortega — “Wednesday” (Netflix)
    Episode submission: “Friend or Woe”

  5. Natasha Lyonne — “Poker Face” (Peacock)
    Episode submission: “Dead Man’s Hand”


All Eligible Titles (Alphabetized by Network)**


  • Quinta Brunson — “Abbott Elementary” (ABC)

  • Sara Gilbert — “The Conners” (ABC)

  • Wendi McLendon-Covey — “The Goldbergs” (ABC)

  • Gina Rodriguez — “Not Dead Yet” (ABC)

  • Sarah Goldberg — “Sisters” (AMC)

  • Susan Stanley — “Sisters” (AMC)

  • Gabrielle Dennis — “The Big Door Prize” (Apple TV+)

  • Maya Rudolph — “Loot” (Apple TV+)

  • Charlotte Nicdao — “Mythic Quest” (Apple TV+)

  • Rose Byrne — “Physical” (Apple TV+)

  • Cecily Strong — “Schmigadoon!” (Apple TV+)

  • Patricia Williams — “The Ms. Pat Show” (BET+)

  • Tisha Campbell — “Act Your Age” (BounceTV)

  • Kym Whitley — “Act Your Age” (BounceTV)

  • Fọláḱẹ Olówófôyekù — “Bob Hearts Abishola” (CBS)

  • Rose McIver — “Ghosts” (CBS)

  • Beth Behrs — “The Neighborhood” (CBS)

  • Marcia Gay Harden — “So Help Me Todd” (CBS)

  • Awkwafina — “Awkwafina is Nora From Queens” (Comedy Central)

  • Tatiana Maslany — “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law” (Disney+)

  • Mayim Bialik — “Call Me Kat” (Fox)

  • Jaime Pressly — “Welcome to Flatch” (Fox)

  • Sofia Black-D’Elia — “Single Drunk Female” (Freeform)

  • Christina Vidal — “Primo” (Freevee)

  • Martha Plimpton — “Sprung” (Freevee)

  • Devery Jacobs — “Reservation Dogs” (FX)

  • Natasia Demetriou — “What We Do in the Shadows” (FX)

  • Robin Thede — “A Black Lady Sketch Show” (HBO)

  • Cassandra Ciangherotti — “Los Espookys” (HBO)

  • Ana Fabrega — “Los Espookys” (HBO)

  • Heléne Yorke — “The Other Two” (HBO)

  • Daisy May Cooper — “Rain Dogs” (HBO)

  • Alicia Pilgrim — “Random Acts of Flyness” (HBO)

  • KaMillion — “Rap Shit” (HBO)

  • Aida Osman — “Rap Shit” (HBO)

  • Bridget Everett — “Somebody Somewhere” (HBO)

  • Chandra Russell — “South Side” (HBO)

  • Máiréad Tyers — “Extraordinary” (Hulu)

  • Elle Fanning — “The Great” (Hulu)

  • Hilary Duff — “How I Met Your Father” (Hulu)

  • Selena Gomez — “Only Murders in the Building” (Hulu)

  • Judy Greer — “Reboot” (Hulu)

  • Mae Whitman — “Up Here” (Hulu)

  • Ana Gasteyer — “American Auto” (NBC)

  • Mayan Lopez — “Lopez vs. Lopez” (NBC)

  • Melissa Rauch — “Night Court” (NBC)

  • Stacey Leilua — “Young Rock” (NBC)

  • Christina Applegate — “Dead to Me” (Netflix)

  • Linda Cardellini — “Dead to Me” (Netflix)

  • Lily Collins — “Emily in Paris” (Netflix)

  • Monica Barbaro — “Fubar” (Netflix)

  • Maitreyi Ramakrishnan — “Never Have I Ever” (Netflix)

  • Debra Jo Rupp — “That ’90s Show” (Netflix)

  • Tisha Campbell — “Uncoupled” (Netflix)

  • Kim Fields — “The Upshaws” (Netflix)

  • Jenna Ortega — “Wednesday” (Netflix)

  • Wendy Raquel Robinson — “The Game” (Paramount+)

  • Marisa Davila — “Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies” (Paramount+)

  • Tricia Fukuhara — “Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies” (Paramount+)

  • Ari Notartomaso — “Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies” (Paramount+)

  • Cheyenne Isabel Wells — “Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies” (Paramount+)

  • Amy Schumer — “Inside Amy Schumer” (Paramount+)

  • Natasha Lyonne — “Poker Face” (Peacock)

  • Cristin Milioti — “The Resort” (Peacock)

  • Jana Schieding — “Rutherford Falls” (Peacock)

  • Meagan Good — “Harlem” (Prime Video)

  • Chanté Adams — “A League of Their Own” (Prime Video)

  • Abbi Jacobsen — “A League of Their Own” (Prime Video)

  • Melia Kreiling — “Mammals” (Prime Video)

  • Rachel Brosnahan — “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (Prime Video)

  • Rhianne Barreto — “The Outlaws” (Prime Video)

  • Zoe Lister-Jones — “Slip” (The Roku Channel)

  • Ziwe — “Ziwe” (Showtime)

  • Jasmine Cephas Jones — “Blindspotting” (Starz)

  • Sara Tomko — “Resident Alien” (Syfy)

** This official list and category submission is not yet complete or confirmed and is subject to change.

2022 category winner: Jean Smart — “Hacks” (HBO) — Season 2

Emmy Awards Predictions Categories

DRAMA SERIES | COMEDY SERIES | LIMITED OR ANTHOLOGY SERIES | TV MOVIE | LEAD ACTOR (DRAMA) | LEAD ACTOR (COMEDY) | LEAD ACTOR (LIMITED/TV MOVIE) | LEAD ACTRESS (DRAMA) | LEAD ACTRESS (COMEDY) | LEAD ACTRESS (LIMITED/TV MOVIE) | SUPPORTING ACTOR (DRAMA) | SUPPORTING ACTOR (COMEDY) | SUPPORTING ACTOR (LIMITED/TV MOVIE) | SUPPORTING ACTRESS (DRAMA) | SUPPORTING ACTRESS (COMEDY) | SUPPORTING ACTRESS (LIMITED/TV MOVIE) | TALK SERIES | SCRIPTED VARIETY | GAME SHOW | DIRECTING (DRAMA, COMEDY, LIMITED/TV MOVIE) | WRITING (DRAMA, COMEDY, LIMITED/TV MOVIE) | REALITY (COMPETITION, STRUCTURED, UNSTRUCTURED, HOST)

Creative Arts and Other Emmy Categories

GUEST ACTOR (DRAMA) | GUEST ACTRESS (DRAMA) | GUEST ACTOR (COMEDY) | GUEST ACTRESS (COMEDY) | VOICE-OVER | SHORT FORM | DOCUMENTARY | MUSIC | ANIMATED | OTHER CATEGORIES

About the Primetime Emmy Awards

The Primetime Emmy Awards, better known as the Emmys, are given out by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS). Since 1949, the awards have recognized 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, artisans, and executives.

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