2019 Emmy Predictions for Comedy: Matt Roush Gives His Series & Acting Picks

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Colleen Hayes/HBO; Mike Yarish/Netflix; Isabella Vosmikova/HBO
The Good Place - Season 3
Colleen Hayes/NBC

CATEGORY: Outstanding Comedy Series

Barry, HBO

Fleabag, Amazon Prime Video

The Good Place, NBC

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Amazon Prime Video

Russian Doll, Netflix

Schitt’s Creek, Pop

Veep, HBO

Emmy picks Comedy
Nicole Rivelli/Amazon; Aaron Epstein/HBO; Netflix; Pop

Typically, Veep would be a slam dunk, having won the last three times it was eligible. And while it was in top form for its last viciously funny season, the political comedy faces tougher-than-usual competition, including last year’s delightful champ, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. And HBO upstart Barry has nearly twice as many nominations as Veep. Another potential spoiler: the very buzzy and hilariously heartfelt Fleabag, which swept this summer’s Television Critics Association Awards. Its star/creator, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, couldn’t be hotter. There’s really no bad choice in this bunch, including the trippy Russian Doll and, finding Emmy love after five seasons (and an audience once it landed on Netflix), the cult comedy Schitt’s Creek.

Colleen Hayes/HBO

Most Likely to Win (keeping Emmy history in mind)

Veep will be hard to beat.

Steve Schofield/Amazon

Should Win

Much as I love Mrs. Maisel and Barry, and will miss Veep, I’d give my blessing to Fleabag and its “hot priest.”

Saeed Adyani/Netflix

CATEGORY: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

Christina Applegate, Dead to Me

Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep

Natasha Lyonne, Russian Doll

Catherine O’Hara, Schitt’s Creek

Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag

Emmy picks Lead Actress
Netflix; Nicole Rivelli/Amazon

As Selina Meyer, Veep‘s Julia Louis-Dreyfus has never lost for this role of a lifetime, and it’s nearly impossible to imagine her being denied a victory lap in her seventh and final bid. But there’s stiff, and sensational, competition from Mrs. Maisel herself (Rachel Brosnahan, who won in 2018) and Fleabag‘s brilliant auteur, Phoebe Waller-Bridge. And don’t count out Natasha Lyonne, who took a break from Orange Is the New Black to co-create and star in Russian Doll. As her seemingly immortal character of Nadia might quip: How many times does someone have to die to win an award around here?

Colleen Hayes/HBO

Most Likely to Win

Julia Louis-Dreyfus (but don’t be shocked if there’s a Phoebe Waller-Bridge upset)


Should Win

Phoebe Waller-Bridge (though I’d settle for her winning a writing Emmy)

Episode 10-0
Erin Simkin/SHOWTIME

CATEGORY: Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Anthony Anderson, black-ish

Don Cheadle, Black Monday

Ted Danson, The Good Place

Michael Douglas, The Kominsky Method

Bill Hader, Barry

Eugene Levy, Schitt’s Creek

Emmy picks Lead Actor
Aaron Epstein/HBO; Colleen Hayes/NBC

Emmy voters have a habit of making former winners repeat winners, which means the smart money is on last year’s champ, Bill Hader, to triumph again for his very successful second season of the dark hitman comedy. (Plus, he writes and directs!) But I’ll go out on a limb to predict Michael Douglas will add a second Emmy (his first was as Liberace in Behind the Candelabra) to join his Oscar, for his wry performance as an acting coach past his prime in the wonderful The Kominsky Method — which deserved a Comedy Series nomination, by the way. Ted Danson is undeniably a legend, and a blast as the otherworldly Michael on The Good Place, so could be a sentimental favorite as well.

Mike Yarish/Netflix

Most Likely to Win

Michael Douglas (unless a Barry sweep puts Bill Hader back on top)

Mike Yarish/Netflix

Should Win

Michael Douglas

Aaron Epstein/HBO

CATEGORY: Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

Alex Borstein, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Anna Chlumsky, Veep

Sian Clifford, Fleabag

Olivia Colman, Fleabag

Betty Gilpin, GLOW

Sarah Goldberg, Barry

Marin Hinkle, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live

Emmy picks Supporting Actress
Will Heath/NBC; Steve Schofield/Amazon; Ali Goldstein/Netflix

This is tough. These are some funny and seriously talented ladies, and it’s hard to bet against two-time winner Kate McKinnon for her rogue’s gallery of SNL scene-stealers, although Mrs. Maisel‘s lovably gruff Alex Borstein won last year and could easily repeat for playing Midge’s most loyal champion. Olivia Colman is on a roll after winning an Oscar — and we can’t wait to see her as Queen Elizabeth in The Crown — but her venomous Godmother on Fleabag this year didn’t make as big an impact as in the first season. Anna Chlumsky has long deserved a win (this is her sixth try) as Veep‘s put-upon flunky, and Betty Gilpin glows as a lady wrestler on GLOW. So no shortage of good choices.


Most Likely to Win

Alex Borstein (although a surge for Fleabag could propel Olivia Colman to her first Emmy win)

Colleen Hayes/HBO

Should Win

Alex Borstein or Anna Chlumsky (for keeping a straight face all these years)

Aaron Epstein/HBO

CATEGORY: Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

Alan Arkin, The Kominsky Method

Anthony Carrigan, Barry

Tony Hale, Veep

Stephen Root, Barry

Tony Shalhoub, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Henry Winkler, Barry

Emmy picks Supporting Actor
Colleen Hayes/HBO; Nicole Rivelli/Amazon; Isabella Vosmikova/HBO

Some Emmy favorites are vying for the prize in this tight category — Tony Hale won twice for playing Veep‘s obsequious Gary, and Tony Shalhoub took home three as Monk. And while the beloved Henry Winkler more than deserved his first-ever win last year as Barry‘s acting coach, and could ride a Barry tide, no one can beat Oscar winner Alan Arkin for comedic pathos as the newly widowed curmudgeonly super-agent on The Kominsky Method.

Mike Yarish/Netflix

Most Likely to Win

Alan Arkin (with Henry Winkler a definite possibility to repeat)

Kominsky Alan
Mike Yarish/Netflix

Should Win

Alan Arkin, for making us cry as well as laugh

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With one epic exception — Game of Thrones and its record 32 nominations — this year’s Emmy Awards (airing Sunday, 8/7c, on Fox) could be the toughest to predict in ages.

With so much great work being produced on multiple platforms, many categories feel like total toss-ups. But that’s never stopped us from trying to pick the winners!

Click through the gallery above for some analysis that could help you make an educated guess, or possibly just confuse things further, in this year’s comedy categories.

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