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This article first appeared in the Aug. 1 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
The following are THR awards analyst Scott Feinberg‘s overviews of — and early projections for — the comedy category’s lead acting Emmys.
LEAD ACTOR IN A COMEDY
House of Lies (Showtime)
Movie stars do well with the TV Academy, and Cheadle has scored noms for all three seasons of Lies. But few seem passionate about the dramedy, which isn’t nominated as a series.
He has been nominated — for acting and writing — all four years he has played this fictional version of himself. But this season of the already-dark Louie was less funny than usual.
Gervais landed his third acting nomination (he won in 2007 for Extras) for his work on this dark comedy, for which he completely transforms his posture, hair and speech.
He now has received as many noms for Episodes (three) as he did for Friends. But playing a version of himself might continue to distract voters from the fact he’s acting.
WILLIAM H. MACY
This is the eighth acting nom for the revered character actor — but his first for Shameless, which has previously competed in the drama categories, with limited success. All-around academy love for Macy could make him a sleeper.
JIM PARSONS — Likely winner!
The Big Bang Theory (CBS)
The three-time winner is this category’s sole nominee from a broadcast comedy (his happens to be the highest-rated). He has now been nominated six consecutive years and won the 2014 Critics’ Choice Award.
PHOTOS 20 of the Biggest Emmy Snubs
LEAD ACTRESS IN A COMEDY
She’s now received an acting nominations for all three seasons of her semi-autobiographical series, but her shot likely is weakest this year because, for the first time, the series didn’t earn a comedy nom.
Nurse Jackie (Showtime)
A TV Academy favorite with career totals of 12 noms and four trophies, she consistently faces an uphill climb with Jackie because of its addiction themes and lack of laughs.
JULIA LOUIS-DREYFUS — Likely winner!
The master comedienne, the most nominated actress in Emmy history with 15 mentions between Seinfeld, The New Adventures of Old Christine and this HBO cult favorite, has won the past two years (plus two earlier trophies) and remains a consistent front-runner.
Mike & Molly (CBS)
Nominated three of the past four years (she won in 2011), she’s a double nominee (also up for hosting SNL) and now a legit movie star, despite Tammy being critically panned.
Parks and Recreation (NBC)
The 2014 Golden Globe winner and 11-time Emmy nominee (with no wins) is facing the final season of the snubbed Parks, which could curry some nostalgia favor for its leading lady.
Orange Is the New Black (Netflix)
The category’s hot newcomer is contending for her nominated series’ first season, a cause made buzzier by its recently released, critically acclaimed second season.
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