Sunday, May 25, 2014

2014 Emmy Contenders: Best Actress in a Drama Series

2014 Contenders
Claire Danes "Homeland"
Kerry Washington "Scandal"
Robin Wright "House of Cards"
Elisabeth Moss "Mad Men"
Michelle Dockery "Downton Abbey"
Julianna Margulies "The Good Wife"
Lizzy Caplan "Masters of Sex"
Connie Britton "Nashville"
Vera Farmiga "Bate's Motel"
Tatiana Maslany "Orphan Black"
Keri Russell "The Americans"
Mariska Hargitay "Law & Order: SVU"
Elizabeth McGovern "Downton Abbey"
Megan Boone "The Blacklist"
Diane Kruger "The Bridge"
Ellen Pompeo "Grey's Anatomy"
Katey Segal "Sons of Anarchy"
Mireille Enos "The Killing"
Lucy Liu "Elementary"
Ginnifer Goodwin "Once Upon a Time"
Jennifer Morrison "Once Upon a Time"
Ming-Na Wen "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."

Commentary - Can Claire Danes actually win a third Emmy in a row for Homeland? Based on her popularity alone, and what will probably be a great episode submission, the answer is yes, but she will really have to fight this time. Not only has this category gotten more competitive this year, but Homeland's quality has dipped tremendously, and Television Academy voters have probably noticed. All of last year's nominees are back in the race, although there could be some shakeups this time around. Two safe bets are Kerry Washington and Robin Wright, and Wright in particular has the material this year, and now a Globe win under her belt, to beat Danes. Two stalwarts in the category are Michelle Dockery and Elisabeth Moss, who many believe limped into last year's race (I don't necessarily agree, but whatever). I think there continued success here really depends on whether Emmy voters still love Downton and Mad Men as both series show their age. The other two were both surprise nominees. I think most pundits are underestimating Vera Farmiga again, and while it is hard to narrow it down to six slots, she should not be discounted, especially with that haunting season finale. And all of the snobs in the world can lament the soapy trappings of Nashville which limped into a third season after solid, but not spectacular ratings. But Connie Britton is clearly a favorite among Emmy voters, and continues to actually do great work on the show (so does Hayden Panettiere). Every time we doubt her, she proves us wrong. But these seven women all have to really watch out for some new and old contenders all fighting their way into what is shaping up to be one of the toughest races in the upcoming season. First and foremost is Julianna Margulies. She was inexplicably left off the roster last year, but with The Good Wife having a renewed energy this season, and all of the tension and emotion she had to put forth, I think she is going to find her way back in. Tatiana Maslany was a critical favorite last year, but nobody was actually watching Orphan Black. This year, the ratings have multiplied and so has the buzz. She would make a lot of pundits and bloggers happy if she broke through. Finally, Lizzy Caplan, who brings a successful balance of ferocity and vulnerability to Masters of Sex should be a contender, whether Emmy voters are paying attention or not remains to be seen. Also be on the lookout for Megan Boone who holds her own against James Spader in The Blacklist, Keri Russell in The Americans, Diana Kruger in The Bridge, and Mariska Hargitay, who NBC is fighting to get back into this race (although their campaign last year for Monica Potter failed, so I don't know if it will work this time around).

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