There's a weird pattern surrounding critically acclaimed, cult-loved comedies: when it comes to awards shows, the only cast member that tends to get nominated is the star. Take Girls, for instance, where Lena Dunham gets honored but Zosia Mamet and Allison Williams do not, or Parks & Rec, where Nick Offerman and Adam Scott are always overshadowed by their leader, Amy Poehler. Not Veep , however. Like others of its type, the political comedy often gets nominations for its star, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, but, unlike its peers, its supporting cast, too, occasionally gets noticed. Last year, the Emmys gave nods to Tony Hale and Anna Chlumsky, and the entire cast was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award. This year, though, might be a totally different story.
As good as Veep was this past season, 2014's comedy races are going to be tougher than ever. Orange is the New Black is bound to garner at least a few nominations, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is coming off a Globes win, and there's all those regular contenders, such as Modern Family and The Big Bang Theory. Veep's going to have a tough time earning any awards show love, and even if it does, it'll probably only be for the show itself or for Louis-Dreyfus. Most likely, its supporting cast, such as Chlumsky, will be ignored. And as anyone who's watched the actress' performance over this past season of Veep can attest, that'd be a huge, huge mistake.
Louis-Dreyfus may be the center of Veep, and deservedly so, but Chlumsky is the show's backbone. Her deadpan tone and constant are-you-kidding-me expression make for some of the series' funniest moments, and give viewers a straight man character to latch onto when the rest of the ensemble seems out of their minds.
Take, for example, this season's episode seven, "Special Relationship;" after impatiently watching as Selina gave campaign manager to all the wrong people, Amy was finally granted the job of her dreams. Her reaction was a flurry of emotions, all felt at once: elation over getting the job, frustration that is took Selina so long to figure it out, horror as she realized how awful running Selina's campaign would actually be, acceptance that for the next few years, her life would be an utter disaster. It was Amy at both her best and worst, and somehow, in the span of a thirty second scene, Chlumsky made that all shine through.
In a show filled with comedy veterans and scene-stealing newcomers, it'd be easy for a subtle, quiet actor like Chlumsky to fall into the background. Yet no matter what ridiculous thing Gary's doing or what name Jonah's just been called, that never happens. Chlumsky doesn't let it; her confident, realized performance demands viewers' attention. Selina and Dan may not give Amy much respect, but if they know what's right, Emmy voters will give Anna Chlumsky the recognition she deserves.