Emmy Predictions: Lead Actress in a Comedy Series – Women of Color Are Thriving in Television, but Will the TV Academy Notice?

Variety Awards Circuit section is the home for all awards news and related content throughout the year, featuring the following: the official awards predictions for the upcoming Oscars and Emmys ceremonies, curated by Variety senior awards editor Clayton Davis; Awards Circuit Column, a weekly analysis dissecting the trends and contenders by television editor Michael Schneider (for Emmys) and Davis (for Oscars); Awards Circuit Podcast, a weekly interview series with talent and an expert roundtable discussion; and Awards Circuit Video analyzes various categories and contenders by Variety's leading awards pundits. Variety's unmatched coverage gives its readership unbeatable exposure in print and online, as well as provide inside reports on all the contenders in this year's awards season races.

To see all the latest predictions, of all the categories, in one place, visit THE EMMYS COLLECTIVE
Visit each category, per the individual awards show from THE EMMYS HUB
To see old predictions and commentary, click the EMMY PREDICTIONS ARCHIVES
For film awards predictions go toTHE OSCARS HUB

UPDATED: April 21, 2022



There’s a good amount of diversity in the Emmy race for lead actress comedy. While previous winners Jean Smart (“Hacks”) and Rachel Brosnahan (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”) will be undoubtedly competitive, they’ll face some stiff competition from two actresses in their final seasons, who have never won – Tracee Ellis Ross (“Black-ish”) and Issa Rae (“Insecure”).

Three women from multiple freshman series are sure to generate lots of support – Quinta Brunson (“Abbott Elementary”), Selena Gomez (“Only Murders in the Building”) and Sandra Oh (“The Chair”).

There are also establishment choices and familiar faces in the hunt that could spark surges of support. One of last year’s nominees Kaley Cuoco (“The Flight Attendant”) is back for a second season, while other former nominees and winners such as Pamela Adlon (“Better Things”) and Sarah Jessica Parker (“And Just Like That”) will have pockets of love.

Read moreVariety’s Awards Circuit Emmys Predictions Hub

The Emmy eligibility period runs from June 1, 2021, to May 31, 2022. The deadline for entering programs for Primetime programming and uploading all entry materials is on May 12, 2022, at 6:00 PM PT.

The nomination round of voting runs from June 16 to June 27. The official nominations for the 74th Emmy Awards will be announced Tuesday, July 12.

The list of programs and potential nominees listed below is incomplete and is subject to change. The full television awards season calendar is linked here.

2021 category winner: Jean Smart, “Hacks” (HBO/HBO Max)



1 Jean Smart “Hacks” HBO/HBO Max
2 Rachel Brosnahan “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” Amazon Prime Video
3 Quinta Brunson “Abbott Elementary” ABC
4 Tracee Ellis Ross “Black-ish” ABC
5 Issa Rae “Insecure” HBO/HBO Max
6 Selena Gomez “Only Murders in the Building” Hulu
7 Kaley Cuoco “The Flight Attendant” HBO/HBO Max
8 Sarah Jessica Parker “And Just Like That” HBO/HBO Max
9 Elle Fanning “The Great” Hulu
10 Sandra Oh “The Chair” Netflix
11 Pamela Adlon “Better Things” FX
12 Natasha Lyonne “Russian Doll” Netflix
13 Lily Tomlin “Grace and Frankie” Netflix
14 Tiffany Haddish “The Afterparty” Apple TV+
15 Robin Thede “A Black Lady Sketch Show” HBO/HBO Max
16 Maya Erskine “Pen15” Hulu
17 Hailee Steinfeld “Dickinson” Apple TV+
18 Renée Elise Goldsberry “Girls5eva” Peacock
19 Lily Collins “Emily in Paris” Netflix
20 Amy Schumer “Life and Beth” Hulu
21 Courteney Cox “Shining Vale” Starz
22 Natasia Demetriou “What We Do in the Shadows” FX
23 Devery Jacobs “Reservation Dogs” FX
24 Sara Bareilles “Girls5eva” Peacock
25 Cecily Strong “Schmigadoon!” Apple TV+
26 Jane Fonda “Grace and Frankie” Netflix
27 Anna Konkle “Pen15” Hulu
28 Rose McIver “Ghosts” CBS
29 Sarah Lancashire “Julia” HBO/HBO Max
30 Meagan Good “Harlem” Amazon Prime Video
Alia Shawkat “Search Party” HBO/HBO Max
Ana Gasteyer “American Auto” NBC
Andy Allo “Upload” Amazon Prime Video
Anjana Vasan “We Are Lady Parts” Channel 4
Awkwafina “Nora from Queens” Comedy Central
Bridget Everett “Somebody Somewhere” HBO/HBO Max
Brigette Lundy-Paine “Atypical” Netflix
Caitlin McGee “Home Economics” ABC
Cristin Milioti “Made for Love” HBO/HBO Max
Emeraude Toubia “With Love” Amazon Prime Video
Esther Smith “Trying” Apple TV+
Gillian Anderson “Sex Education” Netflix
Helene Yorke “The Other Two” HBO/HBO Max
Hilary Duff “How I Met Your Father” Hulu
Isla Fisher “Wolf Like Me” Peacock
Jennifer Jason Leigh “Atypical” Netflix
Maitreyi Ramakrishnan “Never Have I Ever” Netflix
Mayim Bialik “Call Me Kat” Fox
Nasim Pedrad “Chad” TBS
Ophelia Lovibond “Minx” HBO/HBO Max
Regina Hall “Black Monday” Showtime
Rose Byrne “Physical” Apple TV+
Sara Gilbert “The Conners” ABC
Sofia Black-D’Elia “Single Drunk Female” Freeform
Vanessa Bayer “I Love That for You” Showtime


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.

2022 Primetime Emmy Awards Predictions

2022 Creative Arts Emmys Predictions

  • Outstanding Television Movie
  • Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series
  • Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series
  • Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series
  • Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series
  • Outstanding Reality Host
  • Outstanding Directing for a Variety Series
  • Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series
  • Outstanding Directing for a Variety Special
  • Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special
  • Outstanding Animated Program
  • Outstanding Short Form Animated Program
  • Outstanding Voice-Over Performance
  • Outstanding Narrator
  • Outstanding Structured Program
  • Outstanding Unstructured Program
  • Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series
  • Outstanding Documentary Special
  • Outstanding Documentary Filmmaking
  • Outstanding Hosted Nonfiction Series or Special
  • Outstanding Main Title Design
  • Outstanding Main Title Theme Music
  • Outstanding Music for Series
  • Outstanding Music for Limited Series
  • Outstanding Music and Lyrics
  • Outstanding Music Supervision

About the Primetime Emmy Awards (Emmys)

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 and various artisans and executives.

  • The 74th Emmy Awards will take place on Monday, Sept. 12, and air on NBC.