×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Drama actresses ready for glory

Road to the Emmys: The Actress - Drama

This year’s roster for nominees is procedural heavy, with four of the six noms lauded for their work on legal and detective series.

From Kathy Bates’ cantankerous patent attorney on “Harry’s Law,” to Mariska Hargitay’s tough-as-nails sex crime investigator on “Law & Order: SVU” (NBC), to Julianna Margulies’ turn as a litigator reclaiming her career in the wake of her husband’s political sex scandal in “The Good Wife,” the female characters in this category aren’t wont for guts, gusto or self-determination.

Contenders Elisabeth Moss (“Mad Men”) and Connie Britton (“Friday Night Lights”) may not wrangle with the American justice system in their roles, but they fight daily battles on the work and home fronts. Emmy has taken a shine to third-time nom Moss, whose character cleverly circumnavigates the dicey world of 1960’s sexual mores. Britton, who plays the long-suffering wife of a football coach in a small Texas town where wins and losses are everything, is nominated for the second year in a row.

Bates, Hargitay and Margulies have a collective pile of past Emmy noms for tough-girl roles – Hargitay won the lead actress prize in 2006 and Margulies earned hers for “ER” back in 1995 — but it’s Emmy’s inclusion of first-timer Mireille Enos, who plays a willful homicide detective on AMC’s “The Killing,” that further proves the Academy is far more interested in feisty femmes than they are in wilting flowers.

Kathy Bates
“Harry’s Law” (NBC)
Best scene: In the season finale Bates and co-star Nate Corddry run over the day’s events as the lights dramatically fade to black. The setting and tone is decidedly theatrical, a likely homage to Bates’ extensive Broadway career.
Why she might win: Bates’ career dates back to the early ’70s but she’s newly finding stardom. She’s forever sassy, always believable, and plays the curmudgeonly Harry with utmost comfort and ease.
Maybe not: Critics were not bowled over by the series’ first season, and ratings after starting well began to drop. Voters might wait to see if “Harry” sticks around before gifting her with an Emmy.

Connie Britton
“Friday Night Lights” (NBC/DirecTV)
Best scene: Britton’s character is at odds with Eric (Kyle Chandler) over a job she’s been offered in Philadelphia. When members of the local booster club come to the door to persuade Coach to take over a superteam, Britton’s character manages a happy face, but she pulls Chandler aside to make things clear: After 18 years of following him wherever his career took their family, she’s ready to reclaim her own life.
Why she might win: The acclaimed series that so often hung on the precipice of cancellation has come to the end. Britton has consistently impressed critics and this is her character’s swan song. Emmy might reward Britton not only for her perf, but also as a lasting tribute to the show itself.
Maybe not: Though it’s not a series solely about football, some voters who have never paid attention may not grasp that concept and write it off as a generic sports sudser.

Mireille Enos
“The Killing” (AMC)
Best scene: In the penultimate episode, Enos is in the apartment of mayoral candidate Darren Richmond. When she sees a series of email come across his computer, she has reason to believe he is Rosie Larsen’s murderer.
Why she might win: There have been few TV cops as interesting Enos’ Sarah Linden, a woman so obsessed with her job that she blows off her upcoming marriage and is constantly neglecting her teenage son.
Maybe not: While the season started strong, many critics and viewers were outraged when the murder mystery wasn’t wrapped up in the finale. Though that wasn’t Enos’ fault, of course, voters may take out their frustration on her.

Mariska Hargitay
“Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (NBC)
Best scene: In “Bang,” Hargitay’s character boldly confronts guest star John Stamos, playing a smug, self-obsessed venture capitalist-cum-sociopath who manipulates a string of women into having his baby.
Why she might win: It’s Hargitay’s eighth consecutive bid in the category and five years since her 2006 win. She’s clearly got footing here and voters could sense that enough time has passed to award her a second time.
Maybe not: Because she’s the only nominee with a prior win in the category, the Acad might opt to look at one of the other equally deserved contenders.

Julianna Margulies
“The Good Wife” (CBS)
Best scene: In the episode “In Sickness,” Margulies discovers that her colleague and close friend has bedded her philandering husband. In that same episode, she’s forced to tell her children that she and their father are getting divorced.
Why she might win: In an era of sordid sex scandals, Margulies’ outstanding work has hit a collective chord with critics and given viewers food for thought when it comes to politicians’ often dysfunctional families.
Maybe not: Though Margulies is “The Good Wife,” it’s her exceptional cast who sometimes receive more headlines for their characters’ often salacious exploits.

Elisabeth Moss
“Mad Men” (AMC)
Best scene: In the two-hander episode “The Suitcase,” Moss’ inebriated copywriter comforts sobbing ad exec boss Jon Hamm, for whom she’s had a lingering (and long suppressed) attraction since the series’ first season. Here, their platonic relationship ascends to a level of emotional intimacy unmatched by any of their romantic dalliances.
Why she might win: Moss’ role gets significantly meatier with each season, a series with ever-increasing stamina. It’s Moss’ third time up for consideration in the category and given her consistency of strong perfs, voters might very well deem her primed for a win.
Maybe not: It’s really the most supporting of all the noms here, as compared to the others, who are clearly leads.

ROAD TO THE EMMYS: THE ACTRESS
Bigscreen actresses adjust to TV fame
Drama | Comedy | Movie & Miniseries

More TV

  • BBC Orders Spoof Talk Show Fronted

    Spoof Talk Show Fronted by an Animated Vladimir Putin Coming to the BBC

    The BBC will air a spoof talk-show fronted by an animated Vladimir Putin. The U.K. pubcaster has ordered two pilot episodes of “Tonight with Vladimir Putin,” a semi-scripted talk show hosted by a CGI representation of the Russian leader. The first guest will be Alistair Campbell, a former high-ranking political spin doctor in the U.K. [...]

  • Upcoming Fantasy Shows Like 'Game of

    10 Upcoming Shows to Watch if You're Mourning 'Game of Thrones'

    Millions of people’s Sunday night routines are ruined now that “Game of Thrones” is over, and there are holes in their hearts as big as the hole in The Wall that are aching for a new fantasy series to fill them. Several prequel series are on their way, but as there’s no word on just [...]

  • Game of Thrones Composer Ramin Djawadi

    'Game of Thrones' Composer Ramin Djawadi: 'I'm Still in Denial'

    Since the first season, Ramin Djawadi has composed the music for “Game of Thrones” and created the epic tunes, including the iconic theme song, heard over the series’ most memorable moments. With the series finished, he talked with Zane Lowe on Apple Music’s Beats 1 about his experience on the show and an upcoming 20-city [...]

  • TUPAC SHAKUR black panther collection

    ‘Defiant Ones’ Director to Helm Docuseries on Tupac, Who Assaulted Him in 1993

    Director Allen Hughes, who helmed the award-winning HBO documentary “The Defiant Ones,” has closed a deal with Tupac Shakur’s estate for a five-part docuseries for which he will have full access to all of the late rapper’s released and unreleased recordings, writings and poetry, according to an announcement from his rep. The announcement says the [...]

  • Ellen DeGeneres -- The Ellen Show

    Ellen DeGeneres Extends Daytime Talk Show Run Through 2022

    Ellen DeGeneres is sticking with her daytime talk show. DeGeneres announced Tuesday that she has signed a new deal to continue hosting “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” through 2022. There had been rumors for some time that DeGeneres was planning to leave the show when her current contract was up in 2020, something she leaned into [...]

  • How YouTube Is Trying to Get

    How YouTube Is Trying to Get Will Smith His First-Ever Emmy Nomination (EXCLUSIVE)

    YouTube could be the key to Will Smith finally earning a Primetime Emmy nomination — or win. The superstar Formerly Known as the Fresh Prince has been nominated for two Academy Awards, five Golden Globes and one Screen Actors Guild Award, and has won four Grammys (out of eight nominations). Yet a Primetime Emmy nomination [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content