This award is Lena Headey’s to win. Her performance as the conniving and murderous Cersei Lannister has been one of the most talked about performances of the year, and it deserves to be. Lena Headey has continually proven herself as a remarkable actress on Game of Thrones by adding new dimensions to her role as the series has progressed. Season six finally explored a Cersei Lannister without any power and Lena Headey was extraordinary in how she crafted her character after the “shame walk” sequence of season five. Her facial expressions, her mannerisms, even the way she projects her voice, Lena Headey IS Cersei Lannister and she deserves to finally win the Emmy she is long overdue for.
Therefore the question is, could anyone actually beat Lena Headey? It is possible.
Headey is facing off against two Game of Thrones co-stars, Emilia Clarke and Maisie Williams. Both of these actresses were given much to work with in the show’s sixth season. While Clarke remained consistent in her role as the Queen of Dragons, it was Williams who showed amazing range in her performance as Arya Stark. Any of these three Game of Thrones actresses could win and any of them deserve it.
However, the danger of these three Game of Thrones nominees being nominated from the same show is that they could easily cancel each other out in favor of another winner. That winner could be Maura Tierney for her astonishing performance in Showtime’s second season of The Affair. Tierney has already won a Golden Globe for her performance and the fact that she is the sole nomination from the unfairly snubbed The Affair should be a huge indicator that her performance has a lot of weight with voters. The show’s second season explored her character’s picture-perfect exterior crumbling due to her devastation about her husband’s affair. It was a genuine, heartbreaking, and somewhat difficult performance to watch. Tierney easily could win the Emmy. The other underdog in this category is Constance Zimmer for her perfect performance in Lifetime’s UnReal. Her role as the unsympathetic producer of a reality show that is far from actually being reality was the best aspect of a rather gritty show. Zimmer was able to convey cruel dramatic acting with interjections of comedy that gave the character much needed humanity. Zimmer’s performance is one of the most underrated performances of the year and she is fortunate enough that Emmy voters even nominated her at all.
That lastly leaves Maggie Smith for her perfect performance as the Dowager Countess in Downton Abby’s final season. Smith has won two Emmys already for her performance, which would indicate that voters would not waver in voting for her again. Awarding Maggie Smith the Emmy could also be the Emmys way of awarding Downton Abby not only for its final season, but acknowledging it as one of the most stellar television series ever made. More appropriately, Maggie Smith deserves the win because she is the standout and the most memorable character of the series, let alone the final season. The show’s final season showcased her character being forced to accept new times, which she did begrudgingly. Rather than playing off the character as outdated, Maggie Smith applied so much comedy into her performance that never once did her character come off negatively to viewers. Maggie Smith remained the most popular character of the show and awarding her wouldn’t be a bad move for voters at all.
Emilia Clarke – Game of Thrones
Lena Headey – Game of Thrones
Maggie Smith – Downton Abby
Maura Tierney – The Affair
Maisie Williams – Game of Thrones
Constance Zimmer – UnReal
Will Win: Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
Could Win: Maura Tierney, The Affair or Constance Zimmer, UNreal
Should Win: Any of these nominees