Saturday, June 20, 2015

Emmy Predictions 2015: Who Will and Should Be Nominated for Guest Actress in a Drama Series?

Voting has commenced for The 67th Annual Emmy Awards. Until June 26, voters will cast their ballots for the biggest awards in all of television. And now, it's our time to predict on what will happen - and what we would really like to.

Next up for analysis is Guest Actress in a Drama Series.

The Nominees in 2014:
        Kate Burton, Scandal
        Jane Fonda, The Newsroom
        Allison Janney, Masters of Sex (WINNER)
        Kate Mara, House of Cards
        Margo Martindale, The Americans
        Diana Rigg, Game of Thrones

Four of last year's nominees (Burton, Janney, Martindale, Rigg) are eligible once again. Mara wasn't on House of Cards in its third season while Fonda was forced into the supporting category due to the new Emmy rules. However, new names in consideration in the field this year include Cicely Tyson, Lois Smith, Joan Collins, Taraji P. Henson, Jennifer Hudson, Linda Lavin, Marcia Gay Harden, Mary-Louise Parker, Rosario Dawson, etc. In fact, this category proves that this has been a really strong season for women of a certain age. Though sadly, Marla Gibbs did not submit for her wonderful 2-episode arc on Scandal this year. She easily would have been a frontrunner in this race as well.

Before I start my speculation on who's mostly likely to pick up a nomination this year, I have to break down the rules for this post. First of all, my 6 picks are essentially the nominees I would select if I was an Emmy voter filling out a ballot. That means I can only pick the actors who submitted themselves for consideration in the field. Plus, I have to honor the Emmy's new rules regarding what classifies as a drama vs. a comedy as well as who is a supporting actor vs. a guest actor. As much as I believe Orange Is the New Black is a comedy and Shameless is a drama, I have to honor the way that the organization has decided to classify them. It's also fair to assume that some stuff that could be deemed spoilers for any of the following shows will come up in discussing an actor's performance on said show. And now, without further ado.....

My 6 Picks for Who Should be Nominated for Guest Actress in a Drama Series:
  • Lois Smith in FX's The Americans: It was so devastating and heartbreaking to watch as Smith's Betty was forced to slowly kill herself just because she was at the wrong place at the wrong time. It was a wrenching, elongated sequence that brought about so much personal weight and attention to just how evil the actions of Elizabeth and Philip are on a day basis. Smith made the audience feel the lack of humanity in the situation and it was purely astonishing to watch.
  • Julianne Nicholson in Showtime's Masters of Sex: Nicholson truly did masterful work alongside Lizzy Caplan as her character was faced with the reality of dying from cancer. It was a profound and distinct performance. Lillian DePaul may have been closed off from the rest of the world, but Nicholson showed the character's heart and the impact Virginia's friendship had on her during the last few months of her life. It was a terrific performance that came to a devastating end.
  • Cicely Tyson in ABC's How to Get Away With Murder: Tyson came into the freshman drama for one episode and immediately started to steal scenes with some epic scenery chewing. She devoured her role that allowed for a strong, quick wit but also some true humanity. When she shared the screen with Viola Davis, it was the most dynamic and meaningful material the show did all season long.
  • Kaitlyn Dever in FX's Justified: Dever has always been great on the acclaimed drama series since she first appeared in its second season. The show actually gave her a meaningful arc in its final year where she had to go toe-to-toe with Timothy Olyphant, Walton Goggins, Sam Elliott and Mary Steenburgen. A daunting proposition that she pulled off magnificently. She did such a strong job at depicting the future of Harlan County when everyone else wanted to either leave or manipulate it for personal profit. She was the strange and uplifting heart for the community in its most desperate time.
  • Kiernan Shipka in AMC's Mad Men: Shipka has always been fantastic as Don Draper's daughter Sally. As the show came to its conclusion, it allowed Sally one final moment of devastation as she had to deal with her father abandoning her (yet again) and her mother being diagnosed with cancer. It's a delicate balance for a child actor to portray. And once again, Shipka did so with stunning conviction that led to such strong emotional heartbreak. 
  • Taraji P. Henson in CBS' Person of Interest: Certainly, Henson drew much more attention this year for her scene stealing work on FOX's Empire. But her grand return to Person of Interest after being killed off over a year ago allowed the actress to show an even deeper complexity to her work. She showcased deep emotional issues that were apparent in Reese's deepest moment of despair. It was truly profound and intricate storytelling that operated solely because of character intimacy. It was two characters sitting in a car talking. But damn, it was impressive.
  • Also in the conversation: Khandi Alexander & Kate Burton - ABC's Scandal; Alison Brie - AMC's Mad Men; Stockard Channing, Linda Lavin & Carrie Preston - CBS' The Good Wife; Rosario Dawson - Netflix's Daredevil; Marcia Gay Harden - ABC's How to Get Away With Murder; Allison Janney - Showtime's Masters of Sex; Margo Martindale - FX's The Americans; Helen McCrory - Showtime's Penny Dreadful; and Laura Prepon - Netflix's Orange Is the New Black.

My Predictions for Who Will Actually Be Nominated for Guest Actress in a Drama Series:
  • Allison Janney in Showtime's Masters of Sex: Janney deserved to win in this category a year ago for her devastating performance on the period drama. She once again is deserving of the award despite only appearing in one episode of the second season. That one episode was just so dynamic and meaningful to her character though. An easy nomination that could possibly lead to yet another win. 
  • Diana Rigg in HBO's Game of Thrones: Rigg has been nominated in this category for the past two years. She has become another stable nomination for the epic drama at the Emmys. It's hard to imagine the list without her - unless the voters really want to nominate new talent.
  • Cicely Tyson in ABC's How to Get Away With Murder: Tyson is a perennial favorite when it comes to Emmy voters. Couple that with an impressive performance on a buzzy new show and she's basically guaranteed a nod.
  • Ann-Margret in Showtime's Ray Donovan: Back in 2010, Ann-Margret won in this category for her performance on Law & Order: SVU. I have no idea what kind of role she has on the Hollywood drama. But the show is on the rise and name recognition could lead to a place on this list.
  • Kate Burton in ABC's Scandal: Burton brings so much intensity and veracity to her performance as former Vice President Sally Langston. It wasn't as unpredictable and purely unhinged as last year but it was still an impressive performance that should keep her in this race. 
  • Lois Smith in FX's The Americans: There's no indication whether or not Emmy voters actually watch The Americans other than their yearly recognition of Margo Martindale. Smith had a much more memorable appearance in the third season. The two should be able to swap. But I am not certain if that will actually happen or not.
  • Also in the conversation: Khandi Alexander - ABC's Scandal; Patricia Arquette - HBO's Boardwalk Empire; Julia Ormond, Elizabeth Reaser & Kiernan Shipka - AMC's Mad Men; Naomi Campbell, Jennifer Hudson & Courtney Love - FOX's Empire; Stockard Channing, Linda Lavin & Carrie Preston - CBS' The Good Wife; Joan Collins - E!'s The Royals; Rosario Dawson - Netflix's Daredevil; Marcia Gay Harden - ABC's How to Get Away With Murder; Mariska Hargitay - NBC's Chicago P.D.; Taraji P. Henson - CBS' Person of InterestMargo Martindale - FX's The Americans; S. Epatha Merkerson - BET's Being Mary Jane; Julianne Nicholson - Showtime's Masters of SexMary-Louise Parker & Amanda Plummer - NBC's The Blacklist; Bernadette Peters - Bravo's Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce; and Laura Prepon - Netflix's Orange Is the New Black.

Do you agree or disagree with my picks? Who do you think should be nominated in the Guest category this year? Speculate below in the comments!