There are seven men nominated at the Emmys for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series, and any of them could be taking home the trophy in September.
The Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series race at this year's Emmys features two men who have won multiple Emmys for their respective roles before, one awards darling and four actors hoping to take home Primetime Emmy gold for the first time in their careers.
Tony Hale from Veep is the defending champion, having won this category last year and in 2013. Meanwhile, Ty Burrell of Modern Family won in 2011 and 2014. Either of these men have a valid shot of winning again, but don't count out the other five actors in this category.
Let's break down the nominees from least likely to most likely to win on Emmy night.
7. Keegan-Michael Key as various characters in Key & Peele
Key was nominated last year as well for playing all different types of characters in the now departed sketch show Key & Peele. The show itself has received some decent Emmy attention over the years, but it has yet to win a trophy. While Key plays a diverse array of roles on the series, the fact remains that no variety sketch performer has won an Emmy in the comedy categories, and with the series ending last July, there probably isn't enough buzz for him to win.
6. Andre Braugher as Captain Ray Holt in Brooklyn Nine-Nine
This is Braugher's third consecutive nomination for playing the captain on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, a series that has received very little Emmy love otherwise. It is traditionally very difficult for actors to win Emmys for later seasons in their respective TV shows, but not completely impossible. Braugher is also a huge Emmy favorite, with seven nominations and two wins before he even signed on to B99. A surprise win could happen, but it doesn't seem likely at this point.
5. Matt Walsh as Mike McLintock in Veep
Walsh is the type of actor who has been in just about everything; you just don't know his name. However, this is Walsh's first-ever Emmy nomination, for playing bumbling Communications Director Mike McLintock in Veep. Veep is the defending Comedy Series champion and the show has an astounding 17 nominations this year, so Walsh could definitely ride the Veep love train and win this Emmy. However, Walsh has been part of the series since the beginning and this is his first nomination (for season 5, no less) suggesting he may not have the widespread support needed to win.
4. Ty Burrell as Phil Dunphy in Modern Family
It's no secret that Modern Family has dominated the Emmys in a way few shows ever have, winning Comedy Series five years in a row and netting Burrell, Eric Stonestreet and Julie Bowen two Emmys each. But the time of Modern Family has faded, with the once-juggernaut now only getting four nominations for its seventh season. This is also the first time only one actor is representing the show, with Bowen being dropped after six seasons of nominations. This is Burrell's seventh consecutive nomination here and he has won in the past, so he is always a threat to win, but we think the time for Modern Family is over at the Emmys, and that includes Burrell.
3. Tituss Burgess as Titus Andromedon in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Burgess was mostly an unknown actor before his scene-stealing role as the fabulously hilarious Titus Andremedon in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, but this is his second Emmy nomination in a row. Considering his relative obscurity in Hollywood compared to other stars in this category, this is a truly impressive feat. His over-the-top performance is also exactly the type of role that wins in this category (see: Sean Hayes, Eric Stonestreet, Brad Garrett) so he has a good shot of taking home gold. But he may not have the widespread support of the two more well-known stars in this category.
2. Louie Anderson as Christine Baskets in Baskets
Baskets may be the least-known series in this category among mainstream audiences, but Anderson is far from unknown. The actor, primarily known for his stand-up comedy, is a legend within the industry, and very well could be a surprise winner on Emmy night. But it's Anderson's role on Baskets itself that has had people talking from the jump. Anderson plays Christine Baskets, the mother of Zack Galifianakis' character, with pitch-perfect subtlety and wit. In a category full of different types of performances, the most complex and challenging of all might win out.
1. Tony Hale as Gary Walsh in Veep
Ultimately, we are going with the safe choice and predicting that Hale will repeat. As previously mentioned, Hale has now won two Emmys for playing Selina Meyer's (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) assistant Gary Walsh, and with Veep being the hottest comedy of the year, according to the Television Academy's multiple nominations for it, it would be foolish to think that Hale doesn't have a shot of winning again. Hale might not have had his best season on Veep, but in a popular vote system, the actor has a great shot of winning his third Emmy.
What do you think?
The 2016 Primetime Emmys will air live, Sunday, Sept. 18 at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT on ABC.