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The Emmys are this Sunday, all but guaranteeing a full-on bloodbath in the toughest category of that or any night: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy.
Pop quiz: How many times has Krakowski been nominated for an Emmy? If you said, “Like 10, right?” you’d be sorely mistaken. The answer is five. Five. Four for 30 Rock and one for The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. And a Golden Globe nom for Ally McBeal back in 1999. Nothing for the countless soft-shoeing, jump-splitting, Broadway-belting appearances she’s made in a variety of specials.
And of those five nominations, nary a win. Among the many, many injustices in the world, count among them Jane Krakowski not having a single Emmy.
Of course, like most super-talented triple threats, Krakowski has a Tony—a Best Featured Actress award for the 2003 revival of Nine. She did, after all, cut her teeth on the stage. She made her television breakthrough playing the oversexed office assistant Elaine Vassal on Ally McBeal which premiered in 1997 and ran for five seasons. Krakowski brought her B’way chops to Elaine, your quintessential sitcom “slut,” but imbued her character with a mix of vulnerability and balls-to-the-wall confidence that made she much more than a tired old trope. And of course she sang a song or two.
Then in 2006 she landed the role of a lifetime: the self-obsessed and slightly unhinged actress Jenna Maroney on 30 Rock, a part originally intended for fellow delightful comedy queen Rachel Dratch. For seven glorious, slapsticky seasons, Krakowski delivered some of the funniest lines on television—and did it brilliantly:
And of course she sang a hilarious song or two—”Muffin Top” is still the gold standard by which all fake songs will be judged.
Out of those seven seasons, The Old Krakow only got nominated for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy for four, losing out to: Kristin Chenoweth in Pushing Daisies in 2009 (I mean, I get it, the show was canceled and it was something of a consolation prize); Jane Lynch in Glee in 2010 (which… fine, as Lynch was doing God’s work as Sue Sylvester and was long overdue for some recognition); Julie Effing Bowen in Modern Family in 2011 (when it was well on its way to wearing out its welcome at the Emmys); and Merritt Wever in Nurse Jackie (which shouldn’t even be considered a comedy) in 2013.
Krakowski kept it moving after that, teaming again with her 30 Rock co-star Tina Fey on Kimmy Schmidt, playing out-of-touch rich white lady Jacqueline White. That character didn’t often have a lot to do, but Krakowski, as usual, made the most of her screen time, snatching her last Emmy nod in 2015, ultimately losing to a pre-Oscar Allison Janney. That was, by the way, Janney’s sixth Emmy.
That’s the problem with the Emmys. Some people can collect a small army of trophies—good luck, btw, Julia Louis-Dreyfus—while others lose out to Carpool Karaoke even after making a culture-shifting masterwork. Twice.
Still, at least Jane Krakowski is in some good company with other national treasures the Emmys have stiffed. I guess we’ll see who else gets shafted when the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards air Sunday, September 22 at 8pm EST on Fox. But we’re hoping for some major victories too.