Friday, September 4, 2015

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

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

Uzo Aduba as Crazy Eyes, Orange is the New Black (Hugs Can Be Deceiving)
Aduba won the guest actress award last year and is now officially a member of the cast, and its only regular player to earn a nomination this year. Aduba’s submitted episode was an obvious choice, as we learn about Suzanne’s backstory and get to see Crazy Eyes adopted by Vee. Aduba is extremely popular, and she could easily win even with a category and genre switch.

Christine Baranski as Diane Lockhart, The Good Wife (Loser Edit)
This is the sixth straight nomination for Baranski, and she remains one of the strongest elements of a flagging show that has been otherwise mostly abandoned by Emmy voters. Her episode gives Diane the chance to examine her liberal beliefs as she stages a mock trial of a very conservative case. This isn’t the showiest work Baranski has done, but it comes pretty close, and could push her to a win if voters want to honor the only actress who was known before her work on her current show.

Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen, Game of Thrones (The Dance of Dragons)
Anytime dragons are mentioned on her show, Clarke, who was last nominated two years ago, can’t be far behind. Her submitted episode has her spectating and judging a big fight and then triumphantly ascending after a surprise attack. She’s far from the strongest performer on her show, and there’s no way she can upstage her nominated costar here with this episode.

Joanne Froggatt as Anna Bates, Downton Abbey (Episode 8)
This is the third nomination for Froggatt, who just won a Golden Globe earlier this year for last season of her show. Her storyline there involved a sexual assault, and this season she had to contend with the ensuing police investigation into the death of the perpetrator. In her submitted episode, the investigation hits too close to home, a compelling instance of her acting but not as strong as previous entries. She might still manage a win, but I doubt it.

Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister, Game of Thrones (Mother’s Mercy)
This is what Emmy submissions are made of, and I think Headey, who was nominated for the first time last year, is the clear frontrunner. In her episode, she is forced to take a naked walk of shame through the city over which she used to rule, and it doesn’t get more intense than that. Headey, who had a strong plotline this year, gets an even more tremendous spotlight with this likely Emmy-winning episode this year.

Christina Hendricks as Joan Holloway, Mad Men (Lost Horizon)
It’s a wonder that Hendricks hasn’t won an Emmy yet, and she’s now recognized with her sixth consecutive nomination for the final season of her show. Her episode is a knockout (though they have been before too), enabling her to face serious sexism in the workplace and not stand for it. She’s superb to be sure, and this is an Emmy winner if I’ve seen one, but I don’t know if her show is still highly regarded enough to net it for her.

Who should win (based on entire season): Headey or Hendricks
Who should win (based on individual episodes): Headey, Hendricks, or Aduba
Who will win: I think that Headey will manage a win, but she might be eclipsed by Aduba or Hendricks.

Next up: Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

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