Friday, September 10, 2021

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 Emily Malek, The Handmaid’s Tale (Testimony)
Bledel is one of two performers on her show to have been nominated for all four seasons, the other being Samira Wiley. She won this prize for season one of her show then competed as a supporting actress for season two before returning to this race in season four. She does have a more substantial role in season four, and her submitted episode shows her confronting demons of her past in a very different and less public way than the series’ protagonist. It would be easy enough for Bledel to win again, especially considering how spectacularly her show performed this year.

Claire Foy as Princess Elizabeth, The Crown (48:1)
Foy was nominated for the first two seasons of her show, winning for the second. She makes a surprise return appearance in season four in a flashback to Elizabeth’s twenty-first birthday. It’s a brief turn but a memorable one, especially because it highlights how much Foy and Olivia Colman deliver similar performances. At the height of her show’s popularity, I could definitely see Foy winning as part of that.

McKenna Grace as Esther Keyes, The Handmaid’s Tale (Pigs)
This is Grace’s first nomination, and it’s remarkable to see what she’s capable of at such a young age. She just turned fifteen earlier this year, and the material she’s working with is so horribly disturbing and mature, yet she turns in an incredibly forceful and unforgettable look at someone whose innocence has been irreversibly corrupted, turning her into a resilient and determined fighter. The season premiere more than demonstrates her extraordinary work. I think Grace wins this, and I can’t wait to see what she does with the rest of her career.

Sophie Okonedo as Charlotte Wells, Ratched (The Dance)
I’m so happy to see Okonedo here because I like her and I really liked her show, and I also got to “interview her” for AwardsWatch. She’s enormously talented, and it’s hard to believe this is her first Emmy nomination. She is front and center in her submitted episode, which finds her portraying many personalities. It’s the most challenging of all the roles represented in this category, and she approaches it with skill and poise. My only concern is that Emmy voters don’t seem to be fond of the show, which poses a definite problem considering she’s up against actresses whose series are all up for Best Drama Series.

Phylicia Rashad as Carol Clarke, This Is Us (I’ve Got This)
This is Rashad’s fifth career Emmy nomination and her third consecutive bid for this role. She was previous nominated for “A Raisin in the Sun” and “The Cosby Show.” The part she plays is even more relatable than ever before, as a grandmother who ends up staying with her daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren for much longer than anyone would like during the pandemic. Rashad is always great, but I think her real-life support for her former costar Bill Cosby’s release from prison will prevent her from being celebrated with an honor like this.

Who should win (based on entire season): N/A
Who should win (based on individual episodes): Grace or Okonedo
Who will win: I give the edge to Grace over Okonedo due to the Emmy hauls for their respective shows.

Next up: Best Guest Actor in a Comedy Series

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