Thursday, September 8, 2016

Emmy Predictions 2016 - Who Will Likely Win for Lead Actress in a Drama Series?

The nominations are in for The 68th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards. The final round of voting has occurred. So now, it's time to speculate on who is likely to win in each major category. Next up for analysis is Lead Actress in a Drama Series.

The Nominees:
  • Claire Danes for Showtime's Homeland - Episode: "Super Powers"
  • Viola Davis for ABC's How to Get Away With Murder - Episode: "There's My Baby"
  • Taraji P. Henson for FOX's Empire - Episode: "Rise by Sin"
  • Tatiana Maslany for BBC America's Orphan Black - Episode: "The Antisocialism of Sex"
  • Keri Russell for FX's The Americans - Episode: "The Magic of David Copperfield V: The Statute of Liberty Disappears"
  • Robin Wright for Netflix's House of Cards - Episode: "Chapter 49"

Five of last year's nominees for Lead Drama Actress are once again nominated this year. In the sixth slot, Keri Russell replaces Elisabeth Moss. A year ago with this crop of contenders, Viola Davis won and made history. She was the first women of color to win in this category. That was a huge win and a very memorable moment a year ago. And now, she has the potential to do it all over again. I had to stop watching How to Get Away With Murder halfway through this season because the plot was getting way too nonsensical. Davis' acting kept me interested in the show longer than I should have. That shows just how powerful and great she is. Moreover, she has a pretty buzzy movie coming out later this year, Fences, that has some major Oscar buzz. So, an Emmy win could just be the start of an amazing year for her.

Of course, all of this is also true for Taraji P. Henson. I didn't stop watching Empire during its second season. But there sure were plenty of moments where I wanted to. It's plot was just as bad. Henson's performance continued to be terrific and so powerful. Sure, it was campy and over-the-top at times. But that's the appeal of the role and the show. A win for her seems just as possible. Plus, she could follow the same trajectory and story as Davis as well. Henson has a film coming out later this year, Hidden Figures, that has Oscar buzz too. It means Davis and Henson could be facing a rematch at the Oscars after going head-to-head at the Emmys. That would make for one terrific story - especially if one of them were to win here.

And yet, I believe three of the other nominees are strong contenders to win as well. The sole outlier is Claire Danes. She has won for Homeland twice before. That can't be discredited. This was a better season of the show too. She just made a massive mistake in choosing the wrong episode. "Super Powers" was probably the most divisive episode of the season. I hated it and nothing Danes did could have salvaged it. So, I doubt she wins. But a case can be made for Robin Wright, Keri Russell and Tatiana Maslany. Wright has been a dark horse contender every single year she's been nominated. Neither she nor Kevin Spacey have won yet for House of Cards. I believe that will change at some point. Meanwhile, Russell delivered such an amazing performance on this season of The Americans. Despite a pregnancy, she was more dynamic and compelling than ever before. She would get my vote. However, Maslany was very impressive as well. This was a rebound season for Orphan Black. She was great throughout all of it. Plus, it can't be forgotten just how much she actually does on the show. She plays so many characters and makes sure that each of them feel like their own distinct presence on the show. That is not easy to do at all. Maslany makes it look effortless.

Should Win: Keri Russell
Will Win: Viola Davis
Dark Horse: Robin Wright