Sunday, May 27, 2012

Emmy Musings: Best Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Now that the 2011-2012 TV season is just about 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: Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights)

Last year’s eligible nominees:
Kathy Bates (Harry’s Law)
Emmy voters love David E. Kelley, and they made room for Bates last year to give her a ninth career nomination (she’s never won). Bates also picked up a SAG mention this past year, but since then, the show has been unceremoniously cancelled. It did air a full season, so she could be back again, but this is a crowded category, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if she was left off.

Mireille Enos (The Killing)
It’s hard to tell how voters will feel about this show, which, since not resolving its central mystery at the season one, to the anger of many viewers, has improved considerably in season two. She may be immune to the backlash against the show, as her Golden Globe nod last year suggests, and it’s difficult to predict whether or not she’ll be included again.

Mariska Hargitay (Law & Order: SVU)
Though her Golden Globe and SAG mentions have been intermittent, Hargitay has never missed a beat with Emmy voters since first being included in 2004, winning once, in 2006. The show is now in its thirteenth year, and with costar Christopher Meloni gone, voters may finally decide that Hargitay has been rewarded enough and that it’s time for fresh blood. I wouldn’t count on it, though, since she seems to come back again every year.

Julianna Marguiles (The Good Wife)
This is the surest lock of the whole awards process, as the CBS law drama keeps getting better and better. Its star, who won last year with previous competitors Kyra Sedgwick and Glenn Close out of the running, is hotter than ever, and could even trounce this year’s newest sensation, Claire Danes. Look for her show to perform well once again on nominations day.

Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men)
This actress has been nominated for the past three years and even survived a category switch, so she’s definitely going to be back for the show’s fifth year, in which she’s had plenty to do and a handful of episodes that could finally give her the win after likely coming quite close each of the past few years. Count her in again.

Past nominees:
Glenn Close (Damages):
Her show switched networks and took a year off, and for some inexplicable reason, as the show delivered its finest season yet, people seem to have lost interest. Close won for the show’s first two seasons, and received a SAG nod this past year. She’s an awards juggernaut, so she could well burst back into the lineup, though it’s not a given.

Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer)
This actress got nominated for the first five years of her show, won, and then found herself snubbed last year. The show, which continues to be extremely entertaining, is ending this summer, though it probably won’t air enough episodes to make her eligible for next year, so this is probably her last shot. Since she took home her trophy in 2010, however, I see no reason why she’d be brought back.

New contenders:
Claire Danes (Homeland)
This actress, who won an Emmy for the TV movie “Temple Grandin” two years ago and was nominated in this category seventeen years ago for “My So-Called Life,” won a Golden Globe for her incredible performance as an unstable CIA agent on Showtime’s hit series. It would be a shock if she didn’t get an Emmy nomination for her work, and unless the momentum fails to pick back up, she’s probably a frontrunner for the win too.

Madeleine Stowe (Revenge)
It would be foolish not to mention this veteran actress, who came from nowhere to earn a Golden Globe nod for ABC’s primetime soap opera. Seeing Stowe on a popular series seems to have excited Globe voters, so if Emmy voters think the same, she could be honored, but I highly doubt it. She also faces internal competition from costar Emily Van Camp.

Callie Thorne (Necessary Roughness)
Call this a long shot if ever there was one. After stealing scenes for eight years as the nutty Sheila on “Rescue Me,” Thorne got her own show as a sports psychiatrist on USA. That’s a network not usually beloved by Emmy voters, and her Golden Globe nomination merely puts her on the map as a contender.

Other possibilities:
Elizabeth McGovern (Downton Abbey)
PBS’ extremely popular series is switching from the miniseries category, which it swept last year, to the drama series race. That means that one of last year’s miniseries or TV movie actress nominees could end up in this category. McGovern also netted a Golden Globe nomination for her performance this past year. How the show will fare in its new categories is a mystery, but watch out for McGovern to show up.

Katey Sagal (Sons of Anarchy)
Sagal won a Golden Globe for her fiery performance as a motorcycle club matriarch on FX’s series in 2011, and then failed to follow up on that win last year with an Emmy nomination. Now is a good a time as any for her to be included due to her continually strong work, but she still has the same chances, which aren’t great.

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