Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Guest Actress in a Drama Series

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

Alexis Bledel as Ofglen, The Handmaid’s Tale (Late)
This is the first nomination for the former “Gilmore Girls” star, and what a performance this was. Ofglen was already a memorable part of the first two episodes, and to see her brought to trial for being a lesbian and forced to witness the fate endured by her partner was horrific. Bledel is so good in this episode, emoting with her eyes and finally letting out her rage when she’s able to speak. She should win this, hands down.

Laverne Cox as Sophia Burset, Orange is the New Black (Doctor Psycho)
Cox made history three years ago as the first openly transgender actress to be nominated for an Emmy, and now she’s back in the drama category after her show got reclassified. Cox didn’t appear much in season four, and her submitted episode showed her for the first time in a while, doing poorly in solitary confinement. She’s talented, to be sure, but I don’t think she compares to the other contenders in this category for this particular except of work.

Ann Dowd as Patti Levin, The Leftovers (The Most Powerful Man in the World (and His Identical Twin Brother))
Dowd’s nomination here is welcome but an absurd both that Dowd wasn’t recognized two years ago for the show and that this serves as the single nomination earned by this series over the course of its three seasons. Even though I loved season one much more, Dowd, also nominated this year for “The Handmaid’s Tale,” is still a tour de force in this episode, playing perfectly off Justin Theroux. She’d be a great choice to win, and it could totally happen.

Shannon Purser as Barb Holland, Stranger Things (Holly, Jolly)
I’m not sure that if I had watched this show ahead of time and then heard about Purser’s nomination I would have been surprised, but I’m definitely in shock over her submission. While her presence – or lack thereof – continues to dominate the show going forward, she literally appears in one short scene at the beginning of this episode. While Margo Martindale has won in the past for similar screentime, even she was more prominent.

Cicely Tyson as Ophelia Hartness, How to Get Away with Murder (Go Cry Somewhere Else)
Ninety-two-year-old actress Tyson was nominated for this role two years ago and has eleven additional nominations prior to that, dating back to 1974 and including three wins, most recently in 1994. Her episode is full of meaty material, as she gets to sit in the back of the courtroom as her daughter is on trial and then speak to her after she gets beaten brutally. She even confesses to her daughter’s alleged crimes, though it’s claimed that her memory is fading and she doesn’t know what she’s saying. I thought Tyson would win two years ago and so she could just as easily now, but I wouldn’t rate this performance in the same league as most of the other nominees.

Alison Wright as Martha Hanson, The Americans (The Soviet Division)
Even just from watching a handful of episodes of this show each year, I could tell that Wright was a fan favorite and should have been nominated last year based on the show’s popularity with Emmy voters. Like previous winner Margo Martindale from her show in this category, she appears in just one scene, which finds her trying to speak Russian and learning about a new opportunity. If she won, it would only be out of nostalgia for the show, not anyone watching her episode.

Who should win (based on entire season): N/A
Who will win (based on individual episodes): Bledel or Dowd
Who will win: I’m hopeful that Bledel can manage this win as I think that she’s far enough ahead of the rest of the pack.

Next up: Best Guest Actor in a Comedy Series

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