Anne Garefino, Doug Herzog, author and attorney Kevin Morris and Trey Parker at the "White Man's Problems" book party
She's the female lead on one of the few hits of the new season and holds her own against James Spader — no easy task.
Britton is consistently terrific in all her TV roles and long overdue for a win. Bonus points for doing her own singing.
“Masters of Sex”
Known primarily for her comedy work, Caplan proved there's no limit to her talent, playing a working mother ahead of her time who assists Dr. William Masters.
CIA Agent Carrie Mathison might be the most complex woman on TV; even when we don't understand her choices (like falling for a terrorist) we care about the outcome. Credit Danes, who has already won two Emmys for the role.
Season 4 was truly Mary's year, as she attempted to move on from the loss of her beloved Matthew. And Dockery was simply superb.
As the smart, quiet Detective Sarah Linden, who finds herself drawn back to a case after turning in her badge, Enos proves that still waters run deep.
Farmiga shows no fear in tacking the iconic role of one bad mother, whose instinct to murder comes as naturally as her ferocious need to protect her son.
Her Detective Sonya Cross is brittle but brilliant, a cop aided and abetted by her Asperger syndrome.
“The Good Wife”
Her steely grace as wronged wife Alicia Florrick has already won Margulies an Emmy. This season gave her perhaps her most heartbreaking scene yet, as we saw Alicia's agony over learning of the death of Will Gardner (Josh Charles).
Of all the overlooked nominees last year, no one caused more of an uproar than Maslany, who plays eight (and counting) clones — and makes every one distinct.
In seven seasons, Peggy Olsen has grown before our eyes from naive secretary to powerful boss and Moss has made the journey believable and compelling.
As a KGB sleeper agent posing as a happily married woman, Russell is both tough and vulnerable, sometimes in the same moment.
“Sons of Anarchy”
One of the toughest women on television, Sagal has been unjustly overlooked for her portrait of Gemma, the matriarch out an outlaw motorcycle club.
The show may be soapy fun, but there is nothing silly about Washington's wonderful work as DC fixer Olivia Pope.
“House of Cards”
While we knew from the start that her husband was a master manipulator, Claire Underwood proved to be much sneakier — ultimately proving to be as power-hungry and determined.
“2 Broke Girls”
Bringing new dimensions to the dumb blonde stereotype, Behrs' riches-to-rags Caroline Channing is always appealing, and shares great chemistry with co-star Kat Dennings.
“2 Broke Girls”
A comedy veteran at age 27, no one knows their way around a wry punchline like Dennings, who is compulsively watchable as waitress Max Black.
Much has been made about how Dunham bares her body for the camera, but as an actress she also bears her soul. Her work is consistently funny and fearless.
Jackie Peyton, a nurse with an addiction, has endured some of the most dramatic ups and downs on TV, yet Falco's portrayal is consistently hilarious.
We all know Faris is comedy gold, but as a wonderfully flawed character that is all too relatable she gets to play some poignancy as well.
The reigning queen of comedy, with four Emmys already, it's worth seeing her win again, if only for another great speech.
“The Mindy Project”
In its second season Kaling and her crew truly hit their stride. In addition to being as funny and endearing as ever, Mindy's romance with Danny (Chris Messina) was deeply affecting.
“Mike & Molly”
Never count out the beloved McCarthy, a force of nature who so memorably won for this role in 2011.
McLendon-Covey is fantastic as perky, smothering mother Beverly on the '80s-set comedy — and not just because of the period clothing.
After nine years on “Roseanne,” Metcalf made a welcome return to the smallscreen as the put-upon head of an extended care center.
Michele truly showed her range as Rachel this season, heartbreaking as she mourned Finn (Cory Monteith) and hilarious as she made her Broadway debut — and almost ruined it all for a shot on TV.
“Parks and Recreation”
She has four nominations for playing lovable, tightly wound Leslie Knope, but just scored a Golden Globe. Could it be the perennial bridesmaid's year?
This MTV teen comedy surprised everyone by being a smart, insightful look at high school in all it's pain and glory. Rickards' is pitch perfect as Jenna Hamilton, who goes from social outcast to suddenly being noticed--often for all the wrong reasons.
“Orange Is the New Black”
As a privileged woman sent to prison, Schilling was the relatively sane calm at the center of a storm of madcap characters. Her timing was reminiscent of great straight men like Jason Bateman on “Arrested Development.”
“Inside Amy Schumer”
From mimicking Aaron Sorkin to bargaining with God himself, Schumer is a reliable source for big laughs on her inspired sketch show.