Like its brother category, there could be a number of new faces at the Primetime Emmys in the drama supporting actress category. But unlike their male counterparts, all six nominees from 2012 are eligible for repeat honors when the nominations come out July 18.
There’s something about Maggie: Maggie Smith of “Downton Abbey” took the prize last year, and the Dame was every bit as much on her game in the show’s third season. She might not win, but it’s hard to imagine the Emmys proceeding without her in the finals. Co-star and fellow 2012 nominee Joanna Froggatt was also strong, but isn’t on quite so solid ground — and could be supplanted by what might have been the marquee “Downton” season for Elizabeth McGovern, whose Cora dealt with bitter tragedy.
Threepeat trio: Christine Baranski and Archie Panjabi of “The Good Wife” and Christina Hendricks of “Mad Men” have been nominated three years in a row. Most vulnerable might be Hendricks, whose screen time was spottier than ever in 2013, but her impression of a Jewish mother alone might keep her in the race. If you were watching “Mad Men,” you couldn’t have missed noticing standout moments from Kiernan Shipka and even a redemptive season for January Jones as a more mature Betty.
Also on the rebound: The remaining 2012 nominee, Anna Gunn, becomes more integral to “Breaking Bad” with each passing year. Her descent-into-a-swimming-pool moment crystalizes her case.
Banging on the door: If any of the above falter, these actresses might be next in line: Kelly Macdonald, a 2011 nominee who was passed over last year, was fierce in the past season of “Boardwalk Empire,” Monica Potter was talked about virtually all season for her portrayal of a woman battling cancer in “Parenthood” and Morena Baccarin glowed on “Homeland.”
Call them underdogs … but don’t call them unworthy. Kim Dickens and Melissa Leo of Treme are absolutely the real deal, as is Regina King of now-canceled “Southland.” Joelle Carter has emerged as the female soul of “Justified,” while Miranda Hart quickly became a fan favorite on “Call the Midwife.” Lauren Cohan had tough moments to play on “The Walking Dead.” As for “Game of Thrones,” I’m not sure exactly where to start, especially considering Maisie Williams didn’t enter the race.
Frosh faces: Kate Mara of “House of Cards” and Emily Mortimer of “The Newsroom” have the highest profiles in the category from first-year cable series, while Hayden Panettiere somewhat miraculously managed to ground all the melodrama “Nashville” threw at her. (In a softer-spoken way, co-star Clare Bowen also shone.) But three of the best performances from new series came with little to no fanfare: Adelaide Clemens and Abigail Spencer on “Rectify,” and as a Cold War femme fatale played and being played, Annet Mahendru of “The Americans.”
One man’s wish list: Clemens, Dickens, Gunn, Mahendru, Macdonald, Smith.
One man’s best guesses: Baranski, Gunn, Hendricks, McGovern, Potter, Smith.
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