Actress dark horses

ERIN DANIELS, “THE L WORD”

Why: She avoided cliched sentimentality in her work as a strong woman cut down in her prime by terminal illness.

JENNA FISCHER, “THE OFFICE”

Why: Fischer’s long-suffering wistfulness in the role of Pam Beesley embodies the emotional realism that lifts “The Office” above the generic sitcom.

KATHERINE HEIGL, “GREY’S ANATOMY”

Why: Sandra Oh received last year’s Emmy nom and Ellen Pompeo is the de facto star, but Heigl’s season-ending Emmy-bait episodes will attract voters.

MICHELLE RODRIGUEZ, “LOST”

Why: The island’s resident badass, Rodriguez’s Ana Lucia did things the way she saw fit — whether anyone else agreed with her or not.

CATHY CAHLIN RYAN, “THE SHIELD”

Why: As Mackey’s long-suffering wife who often plays dumb to her husband’s indiscretions, Ryan popped this year.

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