The obvious should be said immediately about the Supporting Actress in a Drama Series category: This is Christina Hendricks’ to lose. Hendricks offered the most compelling and dense performance of her career on AMC’s final season of Mad Men, which this potential nomination would be her sixth consecutive nomination with the show. One of the highlights of Mad Men has repeatedly been the evolution of Hendricks’ Joan Holloway, and she didn’t disappoint with this final season. Hendricks has always been an Emmy favorite, but always has seemed to be in the number 2 position going into award season. Now with Breaking Bad concluded and Anna Gunn out of the supporting race, it seems Hendricks has her best chance of winning this year.
However, Hendricks faces an uphill battle this year with the other potential nominees being highly versatile in scope and acting range. With the Television Academy’s new rules of what qualifies as a guest performance (if an actor appears in more than half the episodes, they no longer qualify as being a ‘guest’ performer), Showtime’s Orange is the New Black had to readjust its nominating tactics, meaning Uzo Aduba’s steal-stealing performance as “Crazy Eyes” no longer can be deemed as a guest performance (a category in which she won her Emmy in last year). This puts Aduba in the supporting category, which may or may not hurt Kate Mulgrew’s chances of being nominated for a second year in a row for her performance as prison matron “Red” in Orange is the New Black. Also gaining momentum with the Orange cast is Lorraine Toussaint’s performance as “Vee,” whose character left the show in a very dramatic fashion and isn’t likely to return.
Downton Abbey’s Joanne Froggatt currently has momentum after her Golden Globe win earlier this year and easily could grab herself another nomination, especially considering that she is a Emmy darling with the voters. Also from Downton Abbey is the almost-guaranteed nomination of Maggie Smith, whose performance as the Dowager Countess continues to steal every scene she is in. Smith’s performance is the very definition of exquisite and dominating, yet complimentary to the characters she interacts with.
Christine Baranski also seems to be a lock for her sixth nomination with The Good Wife, but easily could find herself knocked down a few notches due to the acting caliber of freshman shows that have made their voice heard. Baranski could be cast aside in favor of Bloodline’s Sissy Spacek, whose matriarch role has gotten Spacek some of her best reviews in recent years. Or Carrie Coon could see herself with a nomination with her haunting performance in HBO’s freshman show, The Leftovers. Also in the running is Game of Thrones alum Lena Headey and Emilia Clarke, who have both given the show stellar performances in its fifth season. Headey and Clarke both could be seeing themselves with a nomination, but it is more likely only one of them will emerge with a nomination. The more likely of the two is Lena Headey, whose performance as Cersei Lannister continues to grow more complex due to Headey’s careful construction of the show’s villain.
Below are Dan’s Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Predictions:
1. Christina Hendricks – “Mad Men”
2. Uzo Aduba – “Orange is the New Black”
3. Christine Baranski – “The Good Wife”
4. Maggie Smith – “Downton Abbey”
5. Lena Headey – “Game of Thrones”
6. Sissy Spacek – “Bloodline”
Spoiler: Joanne Froggatt – “Downton Abbey”
Long Shot: Carrie Coon – “The Leftovers”