Monday, September 10, 2018

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Lead Actress in a Drama Series

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

Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth, The Crown (Dear Mrs. Kennedy)
Foy was Emmy-nominated last year, won the Golden Globe last year, and took home the SAG Award two years in a row. This is her last opportunity to compete for this role since a new, older actress will be taking over the part. I thought that she could win if she had submitted the finale, but instead she opted for an installment that I don’t think is quite as strong, where she prepares for the visit of President Kennedy and his wife, navigating what she’s supposed to do and whether to pair with the country leader or with his spouse. She’s undeniably great, and it’s just a question of whether she can eclipse hotter shows.

Tatiana Maslany as Many Characters, Orphan Black (To Right the Wrongs of Many)
I’m so happy to see Maslany here. She was nominated for her show’s third season in 2015 then miraculously won the next year for its fourth. She made an unexpected return after her show took a year off before airing its final season. I’ve remarked before that’s unfathomable to me that Maslany could be nominated for this show and anyone else could end up winning, but it’s only worked half the time for her. The submission of the series finale is a very smart choice, though I don’t think her show has any buzz, and it’s a much more competitive category than last time.

Elisabeth Moss as Offred/June, The Handmaid’s Tale (The Last Ceremony)
Moss was nominated six times previously for “Mad Men” and won for the first time last year for this role. She’s back for the second season of her show, in which she gives an equally tremendous performance as the rebellious handmaid. Her episode submission is excellent, showing her expressing misery at the latest horrifying thing she’s subjected to and encountering a completely unexpected bit of hope. I think she’ll win again, though it might be someone else’s turn.

Sandra Oh as Eve Polastri, Killing Eve (I Have a Thing About Bathrooms)
Oh, who has five previous nominations in the supporting category for “Grey’s Anatomy,” makes history as the first Asian actress to be nominated in this field. I do like the show, though it’s not quite as fantastic as I had hoped. More importantly, I had hoped that Oh’s costar Jodie Comer would have been nominated instead. Fortunately, Oh’s submitted hour is strong, showing her taking a bold stand against a frightening enemy in its opening moments. She could very well upset in a heated race with three other frontrunners – watch out for it to happen.

Keri Russell as Elizabeth Jennings, The Americans (The Summit)
This is the third consecutive nomination for Russell, and her show is back in the running for Best Drama Series for its final season. Her submission of the series finale is a decent choice since it shows her in survival mode, but I probably would have picked one of the earlier episodes of the season that show her on her own and very angry at her husband for his diverging viewpoints on their work. While many prognosticators are predicting Rhys to take home the Emmy this year, Russell doesn’t seem to have the same support. It will be an uphill battle for her to defeat Moss and Foy, but it’s certainly possible.

Evan Rachel Wood as Dolores Abernathy, Westworld (Reunion)
Wood was up for this role last year and previously nominated for an Emmy in 2011 for “Mildred Pierce.” In season two, Dolores is a far more aggressive and determined presence, and Wood responds accordingly with a formidable and often frightening performance. I think there may be some ill will towards the show for a less even second season, and it’s hard to separate Wood from that. I don’t think she can stand out enough from the pack in this category.

Who should win (based on entire season): Moss, Maslany, or Foy
Who should win (based on individual episodes): Moss
Who will win: The smartest choice would be to assume that Moss repeats, but I think that Foy may take it instead. Watch out also for upsets by Russell or Oh.

Next up: Best Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

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