Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
The three-time returning champ. It would be a huge upset if she misses. She could very likely make it four in a row.
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation
Goodbye nominations usually happen here, even for performers and shows that are not immediately on the Academy's radar (see Laura Dern for Enlightened, Bonnie Hunt for Life with Bonnie and Stockard Channing for Out of Practice). So it would be a surprise, but not a shock, if they drop Falco and Poehler who have been nominated for every season (save P&R short first season). Falco won in her first year of eligibility and Poehler is still seen as overdue (but that didn't help Jane Kaczmarek for Malcolm in the Middle).
Fighting It Out:
Jane Fonda, Grace and Frankie
Lisa Kudrow, The Comeback
Melissa McCarthy, Mike & Molly
Amy Schumer, Inside Amy Schumer
Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie
That leaves three spots. The lazy choice is simply put in McCarthy, Lena Dunham and one more lady. However, Girls dipped significantly in quality and buzz, so Dunham drops to the next group of ladies. It could be Grace and Frankie co-stars, Fonda and Tomlin, although will voters nominated both, neither or actually pick one over the other (which might tip the scales for Tomlin). Schumer has had quite a year and a very visible higher profile. They did nominate Sarah Silverman for The Sarah Silverman Program, so a nomination for Schumer wouldn't be a big stretch, especially since she's coming in with a Critics' Choice Award (and possibly the Television Critics Association Award). But if they do drop McCarthy (despite the big box office for Spy), who gets the last spot? That leaves a former nominee in this category, Kudrow, who was respected enough to be nominated the first time The Comeback was on, even with it being a cancelled show. Perhaps she can do it again?
Lena Dunham, Girls
Ilana Glazer, Broad City
Ellie Kemper, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Gina Rodriguez, Jane the Virgin
Constance Wu, Fresh Off the Boat
Dunham probably isn't even the most likely to spoil from this list. That's Kemper, who seemed like a shoo-in, until the bigger names of Fonda and Tomlin showed up to represent Netflix. The Critics' Choice Awards nominated Glazer, Rodriguez and Wu, but all three stand big obstacles to get in. Glazer still has competition with her co-star and Comedy Central's other darling, Schumer. Rodriguez has the Golden Globe, but we know that doesn't hold a lot of weight here, plus she's on the CW and skews very young. Wu is on a mid-season replacement, as the overbearing and exasperated mother. We've seen this work in the past (Kaczmarek, Louis-Dreyfus for The New Adventures of Old Christine), but Wu still seems too new to the scene.
Anna Faris, Mom
Abbi Jacobson, Broad City
Tracee Ellis Ross, blackish
Emmy Rossum, Shameless
Kristen Schaal, The Last Man on Earth
If voters started to watch Mom for Allison Janney, that might benefit Faris, but doesn't seem likely. Jacobson is coming in third in Comedy Central's lineup for a big push here. ABC has a better shot with Wu than Ross, even though black-ish was a bigger hit and Ross is more well-known among actors. Schaal would need The Last Man on Earth to show up everywhere and right now, I'm betting on just Will Forte being recognized. And Rossum can once again sit quietly while the showier parts of the show get attention, while she goes unrewarded...again.