‘Mad Men,’ ‘Good Wife’ dominate category

Each show has two nominees in supporting actress drama race

Lead Actress – Comedy | Lead Actress – Drama | Supporting Actress – Comedy | Supporting Actress – Drama | Lead Actress – Mini/Movie
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ATV veteran with five decades of experience, Sharon Gless comes into this race with two Emmys already on her shelf and looking to add a third.

Of this year’s nominees, only “Damages” thesp Rose Byrne, who admirably continues to go head-to-head with Glenn Close onscreen, has previously competed in this category.

Besides Gless, Christine Baranski is a familiar face: She won for supporting actress in a comedy for “Cybill” in 1995. Their current roles — Gless plays the mother of “Burn Notice’s” Miami spy, and Baranski is powerhouse litigator Diane Lockhart in “The Good Wife” — exhibit range that may be hard for voters to resist.

Elisabeth Moss is also a previous Emmy nominee for her role as increasingly ambitious (and lone) female copywriter Peggy Olson on “Mad Men,” though this is her first nod in the supporting field after vying in the lead category a year ago.

Two first-timers are also competing here. As “Mad Men” bombshell Joan, Christina Hendricks got married and quit Sterling Cooper, which only highlighted how vital her role is. And as eagle-eyed investigator Kalinda on “The Good Wife,” Archie Panjabi is the secret weapon of Stern, Lockhart and Gardner — and not-so-secret scene-stealer.

Gless, an 1980s icon for “Cagney and Lacey,” has found a new audience on USA’s summer hit “Burn Notice” and competes with a group of ladies that are critical components of their respective dramas.

Sharon Gless
“Burn Notice”
Emmy pedigree: Two wins, plus seven previous noms
Best scene: Cornered by the FBI, Madeline remains fiercely loyal to and protective of her spying son, even as she realizes she may not really know the man she raised.
Why she might win: Gless is a respected industry vet who’s provided the escapist cable hit with a welcome dose of heart.
Maybe not:: With the exception of “Monk” star and Emmy fave Tony Shalhoub, USA hasn’t received any major TV Acad love.

Rose Byrne
Emmy pedigree: One previous nom
Best scene: A newly confident Ellen confronts former boss Patty in a restroom bathroom and forcefully instructs her to stop playing games.
Why she might win: It’s not easy going constantly going up against Glenn Close, but Byrne has more than held her own for three seasons.
Maybe not: Fair or not, Close is such a focal point of the show, it’s difficult for another actress to receive attention.

Archie Panjabi
“The Good Wife”
Emmy pedigree: First nom
Best scene: In a few brief moments, Kalinda encourages Alicia to have an affair, sassily shuts down a guy who hits on them, and plays it cool when Alicia asks if she’s gay: “I’m … private.”
Why she might win: Her elusive Kalinda is the CBS legal thriller’s most intriguing mystery. Might the Acad want to see the real Panjabi come to the winners’ podium?
Maybe not: See Rose Byrne. Also, the inclusion of co-star Baranski in the same category could split votes.

Christine Branski
“The Good Wife”
Emmy pedigree: One win, plus five previous noms
Best scene: During a dinner date, the whip-smart career woman — and true-blue liberal — struggles with her unexpected attraction to a Sarah Palin-lovin’ Republican played by Gary Cole.
Why she might win: Known primarily for her comedic chops, Baranski proved she was equally adept in a dramatic role. A coup for CBS, she’s also a nominee in the guest actress in a comedy category for “The Big Bang Theory.”
Maybe not: See Archie Panjabi. Baranski has often been invited to the Emmy party but doesn’t seem to be able to cash in.

Christina Hendricks
“Mad Men”
Emmy pedigree: First nom
Best scene: After learning her husband’s once-promising surgical career is going nowhere, a disillusioned Joan sits with Don in a hospital waiting room, yearning — but too proud — to ask for his help in getting back her old job.
Why she might win: Many felt she should’ve been nominated last year; a win would right any perceived snub.
Maybe not: But the fact that her character had much less to do in the actual year she’s nominated could put her at a disadvantage against strong competition.

Elisabeth Moss
“Mad Men”
Emmy pedigree: One previous nom
Best scene: Increasingly frustrated with the agency’s rampant sexism, rising star Peggy decides to downplay her ambition for the night and pick up a college boy at a local bar.
Why she might win: Maybe it’s not as glamorous as the lead category, but moving to supporting seems like a smart strategic move.
Maybe not: Like Hendricks, feels as if the best material that she had to work with was in the first two seasons, not the most recent one.

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