Tuesday, September 5, 2017

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 (People Persons)
Aduba has won both times she was previously nominated, two years ago in this category and the year before that as a comedy guest actress back when this show was classified differently. After her show was almost completely shut out last year, Aduba is her back for her portrayal of endearing inmate Suzanne Warren, better known as Crazy Eyes. Her submitted episode explains her backstory in a very sympathetic and tragic way, and then shows her letting out her rage in the present. There’s no denying she’s good, but she wasn’t the best performer on her show this year and can’t really compare to the five fresh faces against whom she’s competing in this race.

Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven, Stranger Things (The Bathtub)
Newcomer Brown is just thirteen years old and was nominated earlier this season for a SAG Award for her performance as telekinetic outcast Eleven, who, freed from a science experiment, befriends a few young boys searching for their missing friend. She’s an easy character to love, and in her submitted episode, she finally connects with everyone else, in addition to flipping a van over with her mind. It’s a competitive category, but don’t be surprised at all if her name is called.

Ann Dowd as Aunt Lydia, The Handmaid’s Tale (Offred)
Dowd should have been nominated in this category two years ago for “The Leftovers” and for an Oscar for her performance in the film “Compliance” in 2012. Finally, she’s getting some recognition, including a bid for her guest turn on “The Leftovers” this year. I cited Dowd as the “strongest instance of casting in saw in the opening hour” of her show, and it’s true that “Aunt” Lydia, who leads the brainwashing and terrorizing effort on young woman forced into primitive religious servitude, is often worse than the men who dominate that society. She’d be a great choice for the win; I’m just not sure her part is large enough to garner a substantial percentage of votes.

Chrissy Metz as Kate Pearson, This Is Us (Pilot)
This is the first Emmy nomination for Metz, who contended for a Golden Globe earlier in the season alongside costar Mandy Moore, who didn’t earn an Emmy mention. Metz plays a very sympathetic role on her show, which is beloved by viewers and apparently by voters too. Submitting the pilot is smart because that’s the episode everyone really loved, and it gives Metz a great platform since Kate is struggling with her weight and first meets Toby at a support group. I don’t think it’s enough for her to win against stronger contenders in this category, but it’s possible.

Thandie Newton as Maeve Millay, Westworld (Trace Decay)
I’ve made sure to write as often as I can that I’m fully behind Newton, who was nominated by both the Golden Globes and SAG earlier this season but didn’t win either award, being rewarded for her exceptional performance. I remember her from a lackluster turn in “Mission Impossible II” and much stronger work in “Crash,” but this is something on an entirely different level. Her submitted episode finds her testing out the limits of her newfound knowledge and power, and it’s an easy case for her to win, which I wish she would but I’m not sure because of the competitive nature of this category.

Samira Wiley as Moira, The Handmaid’s Tale (Night)
I might argue that first-time nominee Wiley should be here for another show, "Orange is the New Black,” instead, but there’s no denying that she’s also very good as a handmaid who made it out on this dystopian drama. Her selected episode is the season finale, in which she arrives in a new place and is overwhelmed by what she finds there. She can’t compare to costar Dowd based on this episode, so I think her nomination will serve as her reward.

Who should win (based on entire season): Newton, Brown, or Dowd
Who should win (based on individual episodes): Newton or Brown
Who will win: I’m torn. The easiest answer would be that Aduba would repeat, and Metz could also score a win. Brown will get votes, for sure, but I’m still going to go with my pick: Newton. Let’s see if it happens.

Next up: Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

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