Emmys: Breaking Down the Odds for Best Actor in a Comedy Series

9:30 AM 8/14/2020

by Scott Feinberg

A clear frontrunner has yet to emerge among these hopefuls for leading man in a comedy series.

Black-Ish-The Good Place- Ramy-Anthony Anderson, Ted Danson, Ramy Youssef- Publicity stills - Split - H 2020
Courtesy of Networks

  • Anthony Anderson

    Why he might win: The actor has now been nominated for all six seasons on which he played patriarch Dre (only 10 actors have ever garnered more noms in this category). He deserves bonus points for making 23 episodes, the most in this group by far.

    Why he might not win: Not all voters are even willing to watch that many episodes anymore, which may explain why the show has never won a single Emmy. This season was its lowest-rated yet. And it’s been six years since someone won this prize for a network show.

  • Don Cheadle

    Why he might win: This Oscar nominee scored his second Emmy nod in as many seasons for playing Mo Monroe on Showtime’s Wall Street sendup — his 10th overall (with four in this category for House of Lies). And his show’s season finale aired more recently than any of his competitors’.

    Why he might not win: He’s his show’s sole nominee. Season one rated just 56 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, and season two wasn’t even reviewed enough to have a rating. Its viewership was even more abysmal than season one’s.

  • Ted Danson

    Why he might win: For the fourth and final season of this sitcom, which stands at 100 percent on RT and received a series-best six noms (including best comedy), this TV icon landed his third consecutive nom, his 14th in the category (extending his record) and 18th overall. The only nominee who previously has won this prize (twice in the ’90s for Cheers), he was also a Critics’ Choice nominee this year.

    Why he might not win: The show has never won a single Emmy, and its ratings were lower than ever this season.

  • Michael Douglas

    Why he might win: The senior contender at 75, he’s now been nominated for his performance on both seasons of Chuck Lorre’s first streaming show. Unlike last year, the series is nominated, too (its RT score jumped from 80 percent to 100 percent this season). A seven-time nominee who won in 2013, he already received SAG Award and Golden Globe noms this year.

    Why he might not win: His season had fewer episodes (eight) and dropped longer ago (Oct. 25) than any of his competitors’.

  • Eugene Levy

    Why he might win: The comedy legend is nominated for the second time for playing Johnny Rose, this time on the sixth and final season of son Dan’s show, which garnered a 100 percent RT score and more noms than any of his competitors’ seasons by far with 15. As with Breaking Bad en route to its Emmys, previous seasons on Netflix hooked voters.

    Why he might not win: His only wins were in the ’80s and for writing (on SCTV Network). Schitt’s hasn’t won an Emmy, and his performance hasn’t won an award outside Canada.

  • Ramy Youssef

    Why he might win: At 29, he’s this category’s youngest nominee this year for his portrayal of a Muslim American millennial experiencing an identity crisis on the second season of his Hulu series (which scored 97 percent on RT). He won the corresponding Golden Globe earlier this year (for season one), and is also Emmy-nominated for directing.

    Why he might not win: He wasn’t nominated for season one. Season two was nominated for only three awards, a series nom not among them.

    This story first appeared in an August stand-alone issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.