Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Emmy Musings: Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Now that the 2011-2012 TV season is almost 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: Margo Martindale (Justified)

Last year’s eligible nominees:
Christine Baranski (The Good Wife)
This actress has amassed nine Emmy nominations, including two for her current role, and a win on her first try back in 1995 for “Cybill.” She continues to be a strong, scene-stealing presence on the increasingly popular CBS law drama, so I see no reason why she wouldn’t be back for another shot for the show’s third season.

Michelle Forbes (The Killing)
After years of playing memorable supporting characters, Forbes finally got her first Emmy nomination last year for her performance as a grieving mother. She’s been off on her own plotline for this entire season, so voters are likely to forget her since her material hasn’t been nearly as consistent or central.

Christina Hendricks (Mad Men)
She was ignored for seasons one and two, but after two consecutive nominations, Hendricks is almost certain to be back for her excellent work in the AMC period drama’s fifth season. She’s the standout supporting female, and she’s not likely to be displaced by anyone else on her show.

Kelly Macdonald (Boardwalk Empire)
This charming Scottish actress – who won an Emmy for her work on the TV movie “The Girl in the Café” in 2006 – was nominated last year for her performance as a mother in 1920s Atlantic City. In season two, her material has only been stronger, and it’s a sure bet that she’ll be back again considering the show hasn’t lost any steam.

Archie Panjabi (The Good Wife)
After a surprise victory for season two, this actress was nominated again last year, and her material, incredibly, continues to be extremely compelling. The show’s still hot, and so is Panjabi, and her getting snubbed this year just wouldn’t make any sense. She’ll be back.

Past nominees:
Rose Byrne (Damages)
This actress was a lock for season one and then got snubbed, but she did manage to get nominated for seasons two and three, as her role shifted from lead to supporting, finally putting her in the correct category. After a year off, it’s difficult to say how the show will do, but Byrne could well earn another nomination in this category.

January Jones (Mad Men)
This actress earned one nomination in the lead actress category for the show’s third season, and then got left off when she was demoted to the supporting race last year. In season five, she’s been given more material and stands a decent chance of returning to the lineup for her portrayal of a 1960s divorcée struggling to find happiness.

New contenders:
Angelica Huston (Smash)
Huston has been nominated for six Emmys over the past twenty-five years, most recently in 2008 for guest-starring on “Medium.” Now, she’s the only veteran actress in the cast of NBC’s Broadway-centered musical drama, and that means she could be recognized for her scene-stealing role. It will all depend on whether voters are enthusiastic about the show.

Maggie Smith (Downton Abbey)
This two-time Oscar winner easily won the Best Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or TV Movie race last year for her performance as the Dowager Countess of Grantham in PBS’ hit miniseries. In season two, the show is switching over to the drama series categories, which means that Smith is all but guaranteed to earn a second nomination against very different competition which she’ll likely trounce.

Other possibilities:
Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad) I cited this actress as one of the best leads in 2010, and her role has only gotten meatier as her character’s involvement in her husband’s drug business has increased. Emmy voters have recognized Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul, and as Giancarlo Esposito likely becomes a nominee this year, perhaps they’ll expand their horizons and include another key player like Gunn.

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