This category is where Fargo has its best chance of taking home an Emmy and that is because Jean Smart was astounding as the mob wife turned mob boss in the anthology show’s second season. Smart arguably offered her best performance since her one-season stint on 24’s fifth season in 2005. Her performance is one of a very stern, strong, unshakable woman. Smart’s acting shattered gender stereotypes and crafted her character as a force to be reckoned with. Additionally, she shifted her acting style as being stern publicly but maternal and loving in private. This was an amazing performance, one that deserves the Emmy.
Jean Smart’s competition for the most part isn’t a huge threat to her chances of winning in this category. Regina King, who was the surprise winner in this category last year shouldn’t expect a stroke of luck for a second time. While her work in the second season of American Crime was outstanding, it didn’t have the same level of impact as her performance the previous year. Sarah Paulson is nominated for American Horror Story: Hotel, but she is getting a greater Emmy push in the Lead Actress category for The People Versus O.J. Simpson and her win is more likely there. Due to the very poor season and reception of AHS, Kathy Bates is lucky enough to have even gotten a nomination, but a win doesn’t seem as fortunate. Melissa Leo was perfect in the Lyndon Johnson Civil Rights biopic All the Way as Lady Bird Johnson, but her minimal screen time in the film hinders her chances of pulling off a win.
This leaves Olivia Colman, who has the greatest chance of winning the Emmy over Jean Smart for her incredible acting in The Night Manager miniseries. Like Jean Smart, her character and acting utterly decimates gender stereotypes with a solid, strong female character who effectively led the narrative of the thriller miniseries. Her performance is rooted in determination and largely in sorrow, which Colman delivered in very subtle ways throughout the miniseries. The performance is flashy, but never overbearing. More importantly, Colman was stunningly realistic as an intelligence agent who cannot see anything other than the success of a goal. Like Jean Smart, this type of acting deserves an award and it is a true shame only one person can take home the award.
Kathy Bates – American Horror Story: Hotel
Olivia Colman – The Night Manager
Regina King – American Crime
Melissa Leo – All the Way
Sarah Paulson – American Horror Story: Hotel
Jean Smart – Fargo
Will Win: Jean Smart – Fargo
Could Win: Olivia Colman – The Night Manager
Should Win: Olivia Colman or Jean Smart