Why she might win: There were many layers to Margaret that Macdonald skillfully revealed as the season went on. She proved to be both trustworthy and conniving, a perfect match for Steve Buscemi’s Atlantic City political boss, Nucky Thompson.
Maybe not: Clearly the testosterone-fueled guys dominated the action on “Boardwalk,” and those who only saw Macdonald in the early episodes may not have seen her turn as a much more nuanced and willfully used widow.
“The Good Wife”
Why she might win: She surprised many by winning the category last year, proving that voters found her mysterious character captivating. She added as much intrigue this time around and participated in some of the most tension-heightened scenes in the season with both Scott Porter and Julianna Margulies.
Maybe not: Not only is it tough to repeat in this category, it’s especially difficult co-starring in a series where there are several highly acclaimed supporting players who could just as easily win.
“The Good Wife”
Why she might win: A calculating lawyer when she wants to be but also someone clearly wanting a life outside the office — think of her romance with Gary Cole — Baranski’s scenes in bringing a warmth to Diane are often the show’s best moments.
Maybe not: Though Baranski is terrific at conveying a lot of emotion without having to go over the top, the relative conservatism of the character could work against her.
Why she might win: Few, if any, supporting players broke out last season like Martindale. Her ferociously protective Mags Bennett was all about making sure she and her white-trash family were taken care of while, simultaneously, throwing her Kentucky hillbilly community under the bus in favor of a coal-mining company.
Maybe not: It’s easy to make a case for any of the “Justified” actors (Timothy Olyphant, Walton Goggins, Jeremy Davies), and it might be a stretch to see voters marking their ballots for more than one.
Why she might win: About halfway through the season, Forbes took a Machiavellian turn as a grieving mother unwilling to move on with her life to a woman seeking revenge, no matter if someone completely innocent is forced to pay with his life.
Maybe not: Though clearly not any of her doing, Forbes might suffer the slings thrown at the show for the way the season ended. When most were expecting the “Who killed Rosie Larsen” mystery to wrap, a last-second twist forced the storyline to carry over, and many fans were left seething.
Why she might win: Hendricks’ Joan has long been the bedrock of what happens at the firm, which is now the fledgling Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. Hendricks coolly provides an insightful look at what’s its like to be boys’ mother hen and fantasy sex kitten — all at once.
Maybe not: The last season began more than a year ago and feels like a distant memory. In the interim, many headlines regarding the skein have centered at the bargaining table as opposed to the performances.
TV’s team players
Supporting Actor – Drama | Supporting Actress – Drama | Supporting Actor – Comedy | Supporting Actress – Comedy