Sunday, June 12, 2011

Emmy Musings: Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Now that the 2010-2011 TV season is officially over, it’s hardly too early to start thinking about the Emmy nominations, which will be announced in July. Consider these preliminary thoughts rather than official predictions – look for those at the beginning of July. As always, chime in with your reactions and predictions in the comments, and don’t hesitate to let me know if I left any strong contenders off the list!

Last year’s ineligible nominees: Rose Byrne (“Damages” returns later this year), Elisabeth Moss (contending in the lead category for “Mad Men”)

Last year’s eligible nominees:
Christine Baranski (The Good Wife)
This veteran awards queen lost out last year to her younger, fresher costar, and she’s certainly had far less to do in season two on the show than she did in season one. That said, this category permits returning nominees who haven’t necessarily done much on their shows, and Diane did have her moments. I’d count her in.

Sharon Gless (Burn Notice)
Fun as it was to see someone from a USA show finally get nominated for something, this felt like a very random filler nod. The question is whether it was a one-time flub or whether Gless might become a default nominee now. I’d hazard a guess that she won’t be back, especially because she didn’t have quite as much do in the most recent year as she did when she was last nominated.

Christina Hendricks (Mad Men)
After two years of being snubbed, Hendricks is sure to be back for her portrayal of former head secretary Joan, who helped to launch the new firm in a positive direction and had her own share of drama with Roger. Her competition from “The Good Wife” is still string, but Hendricks is about as close to a win as she’ll ever be this year.

Archie Panjabi (The Good Wife)
This newcomer surprised last year by getting nominated and then winning. That could mean that she wouldn’t return since she’s already won, but there is absolutely no way that’s happening. In season two, Panjabi’s Kalinda had even more to do, and even had a few simply incredible episodes at the end of the season. At this point, I’d put money on her to repeat.

New contenders:
Michelle Forbes (The Killing)
Forbes has been building towards some sort of awards recognition with memorable roles on “Battlestar Galactica,” “In Treatment,” and “True Blood” over the past few years. Now, she may have found just the role that could earn her some Emmy love as a mourning mother on AMC’s dark drama. Even if the show doesn’t catch on, Forbes could still make it in as the number one acting representative.

Kelly Macdonald (Boardwalk Empire)
This Scottish actress stole many scenes from costar Steve Buscemi in the HBO drama’s first season and earned a Golden Globe nod for her troubles. Macdonald is a previous Emmy winner for the HBO TV movie “The Girl in the Café,” and as the definitive female standout on her show, she’s a sure thing to get a nomination, and might even be able to pull off a win if voters love the show enough.

Margo Martindale (Justified)
How this actress only has one nomination credit is a mystery. Martindale was a powerhouse this season on FX’s drama as kindly villain Mags Bennett. The show was ignored by Emmy voters last year despite terrific performances from Timothy Olyphant and Walton Goggins, and therefore the cynic in me thinks that she might somehow be overlooked. The abomination!

Debra Winger (In Treatment)
Three-time Oscar nominee Winger was a perfect choice for the season-long stint as an aging actress coming to therapy, and she didn’t disappoint. The show has been off the air for a while and has since been cancelled, but given the fact that Dianne Wiest earned two nominations in this category and Hope Davis got another, it’s probable that she could make it in if anyone still watched the show this year.

Other possibilities:
Sara Ramirez (Grey’s Anatomy)
As is the trend with shows that start out popular and then decline, the Emmys have all but forgotten about this show. A stunt like a musical episode could pull them back in, and from what I hear, it’s all about Ramirez. It’s a long shot at best, but it could totally happen if voters don’t know how to fill out this category and want to make an unconventional choice.

Mae Whitman (Parenthood)
It’s likely that this show will continue to be ignored by Emmy voters, but if they start to take notice, it would seem unwise not to consider Whitman, who is the clear standout in the cast as rebellious daughter Amber, who dealt with plenty of growing pains this year and outperformed a number of more senior actors on the show. Wishful thinking, perhaps.

Next up: Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

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