Monday, October 5, 2015

AFT Awards: Best Guest Actress in a Drama Series

This is the tenth category of the 9th Annual AFT Television Awards, my personal choices for the best in television during the 2014-2015 season. Finalists and semi-finalists are included to recognize more of the impressive work done on television today. Nominees are pictured in the order I’ve ranked them.

Best Guest Actress in a Drama Series

Last year’s nominees: Rosanna Arquette, Emily Bergl, Amy Smart, Brooke Smith, Alicia Witt

Emmy nominees: Khandi Alexander, Rachel Brosnahan, Allison Janney, Margo Martindale, Diana Rigg, Cicely Tysno

Semi-finalists: Alison Brie (Mad Men), Aya Cash (The Good Wife), Brooke Smith (Ray Donovan), CCH Pounder (Sons of Anarchy), Frances Fisher (Rectify), Jessica Pare (Mad Men), Julia Ormond (Mad Men), Julianne Nicholson (Masters of Sex), Kaitlyn Dever (Justified), Kiernan Shipka (Mad Men), Rosario Dawson (Daredevil), Vinessa Shaw (Ray Donovan)

Finalists: Mary Steenburgen (Justified) was just the right kind of villain for her show, one who could talk circles around anyone else and manipulate everything to her whim. Kerry Condon (Better Call Saul) was an important emblem of hope and promise caught in a violent and unforgiving world. Christine Woods (The Walking Dead) and Tovah Feldshuh (The Walking Dead) represented two very different leaders in this season of the zombie drama, each exuding authority with a few crucial flaws. Julie Ann Emery (Better Call Saul) feigned ignorance and innocence with such conviction that it was hard to tell whether her embezzler actually thought she had done anything wrong.

The nominees:

Kat Dennings (The Newsroom) was the perfect choice to play the entitled heir to a fortune who had no interest in apologizing for it or being talked down to. Evelyne Brochu (Orphan Black) stood out among a sea of women played by one actress as a character in her own right, complicated and well-meaning even if her actions didn’t always show it. Annabeth Gish (Sons of Anarchy) hopped aboard another FX show to try to infuse Charming with a bit of goodness as a sheriff well aware of ethical compromises that needed to be made. Odette Annable (Banshee) went out in glorious fashion that only her show could provide, fighting strong and intently up until the very end.

The winner:

Ashley Hinshaw (True Blood) showed up as the girlfriend of a fringe character not recently seen or featured, and she turned out to be a bright spot in an otherwise despicable universe who lit up the screen with her genuine sweetness.

Next up: Best Guest Actor in a Comedy Series

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