Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or TV Movie

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

Uzo Aduba as Shirley Chisholm, Mrs. America (Shirley)
Aduba won two Emmys for “Orange is the New Black,” in 2014 and 2015, and was nominated again in 2017. Now she’s contended for playing the first Black member of Congress, who also made history both as a Black and female candidate for president. In her episode, which gives her the spotlight, she has to contend against conflicting priorities from the Black caucus and the feminist movement. Aduba may not be the standout from her series but she does well in this episode, which also earned a writing nomination, which could help her chances.

Toni Collette as Detective Grace Rasmussen, Unbelievable (Episode 6)
Collette was nominated twice for “United States of Tara,” winning in 2009, and also contended in 2007 for “Tsunami: The Aftermath.” Inexplicably, she’s the only performer nominated from her show despite excellent turns from Merritt Wever and Kaitlyn Dever. The quality of her work here shouldn’t be minimized, however, since she’s formidable, hilarious, and unforgettable as a detective more than willing to insert herself into dangerous situations. A better showing for her series might have helped, but she’s won before without much other support for her projects.

Margo Martindale as Bella Abzug, Mrs. America (Bella)
This is Martindale’s sixth Emmy nomination. She won for “Justified” and then twice out of four bids for “The Americans.” She plays the famed Congresswoman and feminist who has a number of moments to shine throughout Hulu’s limited series. Like her nominated costars, she gets her own episode, and she does excellently, going beyond imitation of her real-life character and tapping into her passion and attitude. Martindale has won before for mere minutes of work, so this more substantial showcase could easily catapult her to a fourth Emmy.

Jean Smart as Agent Laurie Blake, Watchmen (She Was Killed by Space Junk)
This is Smart’s ninth Emmy nomination. She won in 2000 and 2001 for guest-starring on “Frasier” and again in 2008 for “Samantha Who?” Her last nomination was in this category for “Fargo” in 2016. She plays a mesmerizing character on this year’s most-nominated program, clinging to a superhero past and exploring a miserable, bureaucratic present. Smart is always superb, and this layered, sarcastic turn is no exception. Her show is wildly popular, and she could easily ride that to a deserved win.

Holland Taylor as Ellen Kincaid, Hollywood (Jump)
This is Taylor’s eighth Emmy nomination. She won on her first try in 1999 for “The Practice” and last received four bids between 2005 and 2010 for “Two and a Half Men.” Her role in Netflix’s limited series is relatively minor and usually in the background, but she delivers strongly when she is featured as a studio executive well aware of what she wants and how to get it. She’s not nearly as prominent in her episode as any of these other women, so her winning would be a surprise.

Tracey Ullman as Betty Friedan, Mrs. America (Betty)
Ullman has ten previous performance nominations, with wins in 1999 for “Ally McBeal,” 1994 for “Tracey Takes on New York,” and in 1993 for “Love and War.” She plays the opinionated and often controversial feminist who frequently clashes with Gloria Steinem in Hulu’s miniseries. In her episode, she is indeed unforgettable, with one particular scene standing out as a potential Emmy clip. I wouldn’t have pegged her as the one from her show to win but she may just be able to do it.

Who should win: Collette
Who will win: All six of these women have won Emmys, which isn’t all that common. I’m not sure which of the “Mrs. America” women will be most popular, and so I’ll stick with my choice here, Collette, with the caveat that it could really be any of them except for Taylor.

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