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Jean Smart: New heights ahead with ‘Hacks’?

Jean Smart is still on the Emmy track.
(Illustration by Natalia Agatte For The Times)
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The return of “Hacks” sets Jean Smart up for a potential third lead Emmy for portraying complicated comedy legend Deborah Vance. But the HBO series isn’t her first rodeo. Smart has graced TV screens in all sorts of stories.

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Smart has won five comedy Emmys: two for lead actress for “Hacks,” two for guest starring on “Frasier” and one as supporting actress for “Samantha Who?”

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Only Smart and Betty White have won in all three comedy actress categories.

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A sixth acting prize would put Smart in range of all-time Emmy champs Cloris Leachman and Julia Louis-Dreyfus at …

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... statuettes apiece.

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Conservative estimate of when Smart could match Louis-Dreyfus if she continues to play Vance, a character as indelible and Emmy-inevitable as “Veep’s” Selina Meyer.

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Smart vied for two Emmys in 2001 (comedy guest actress, “Frasier”; drama guest actress, “The District”) and 2021 (comedy lead, “Hacks”; limited series supporting, “Mare of Easttown”) and …

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... Singled each time.

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Smart lost a couple of limited series supporting squeakers in 2016 and 2020, when she competed with great performances in “Fargo” and “Watchmen.” But …

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... What stings for Smart fans is Charlize Theron’s Oscar for the film “Monster.” Smart already owned the role …

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... of Aileen Wuornos in the TV movie “Overkill: The Aileen Wuornos Story.”

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