Monday, September 16, 2013

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Nominees are pictured and listed in alphabetical order. Submitted episode titles are in parentheses. Beware of minor spoilers for listed episodes.

Connie Britton as Rayna James, Nashville (Pilot)
Britton is officially on fire with her fourth nomination in four years for a total of three different roles. She was nominated in this race twice for “Friday Night Lights,” which any TV watcher will attest is a more demanding role. That said, she’s clearly well-liked, and her work in the first episode of ABC’s country music drama is strong and could win over a few voters.

Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison, Homeland (Q and A)
Danes had all the momentum in the world last year and rightfully took home this award for her performance as a bipolar CIA agent. In season two, she’s just as unhinged and spectacular, and her submission is this year’s choice episode, which allows her to come face-to-face with the fruits of her labor and deal with the repercussions in front of her peers. This category is stacked this year, but she’s probably still the frontrunner.

Michelle Dockery as Mary Crawley, Downton Abbey (Episode 1)
The arguable star of PBS’ period drama returns as a nominee this year after being nominated last year. She fits in well to the ensemble but doesn’t exactly stand out from it, which suggests that she doesn’t have much of a shot at taking home the Emmy. Her submitted episode finds her bickering with her beloved Matthew about his late wife’s father’s fortune, which is a decent showcase but hardly the one to win this for her.

Vera Farmiga as Mother, Bates Motel (First You Dream, Then You Die)
This is a nomination that’s all because of the role, though Oscar-nominated actress Farmiga does deserve credit for bringing the famous character from Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” to such fearsome life. In the pilot episode of this dreary show, she emasculates her son but even more memorably deals methodically with an armed intruder, and it’s fair to say that she has a good shot at staging an upset and winning this prize.

Elisabeth Moss as Peggy Olson, Mad Men (The Better Half)
This is Moss’ fifth consecutive nomination. Moss has always been one of the most intriguing and individualistic part of her show’s large ensemble, and this is just as good a submission as ever, taking her from one complicated, impossible relationship to another. The fact that her show, in five years, has never won a single Emmy suggests that it’s not going to happen now, and certainly not in a field this crowded.

Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope, Scandal (Happy Birthday, Mr. President)
After a short first season last year, Washington is in this race for her show’s full second season. She’s not the showiest political fixer nominated this year – that would be Kevin Spacey in the drama actor category – but she does have one of the meatiest roles. In her submitted episode, Washington gets to play a more emotional Olivia, happy as the history of her affair with Grant is replayed and she deals with the horror of him being in critical condition in the present. Her show has plenty of buzz right now, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if she won.

Robin Wright as Claire Underwood, House of Cards (Chapter 10)
Wright has the difficult task of performing opposite two-time Oscar winner Kevin Spacey, and she responds admirably, making Frank’s wife just as devious and brutally unfeeling as he is. In her submitted episode, she decides that he hasn’t been equitable in their dealings and moves to take back some of the power in their relationship, which serves as a fantastic platform for her talents that could well win her the award.

Who should win (based on entire season): Danes or Wright
Who should win (based on individual episodes): Danes
Who will win: It’s more than likely to be Danes, but it could also be Washington or Wright.

Next up: Best Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

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