The number of ladies eligible for this year’s Lead Actress in a Television Drama Series is surprisingly large. They come from popular network dramas as well as small, fan-driven favorites. Can Ruth Wilson manage a back-to-back win for the underrated The Affair? Or will Cookie Lyon be way too big to ignore? Or will the dreams of the 3 M’s be dashed when Melissa Benoist flies in as Supergirl?
Taraji P. Henson, Empire – Cookie could land at the very top of the list for two reasons: people still love her and she’s the best thing about the first season of the breakout show. Henson grabbed an Emmy nomination this past season, but she lost to Viola Davis for How to Get Away with Murder. I don’t see how she can miss out on a nomination, but is the buzz fading away from Empire a bit this time around? If the HFPA is still on a season 1 high, she could win this category.
Viola Davis, How to Get Away with Murder –Everyone thought that Davis would have picked this up last year for the freshman season of the twisty soap, but she win a Screen Actors Guild trophy. There’s no way she can miss, right? Is it even worth pondering?
Claire Danes, Homeland – Danes has won two consecutive Globes for her role as Carrie Mathison, but she’s not always a sure thing. She missed a nomination 2 years ago, but Homeland seems to have picked back up in quality. Danes is always a contender.
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife – Speaking of mainstays, you can’t talk about consistency without bringing up Margulies for The Good Wife. She has been nominated in this category for the last 6 years, so you definitely can’t count her out. I’ve heard from fans that the show is definitely on a good season, so that could solidify her chances even more. They clearly love her.
Elizabeth Moss, Mad Men – Will the HFPA fall back in love with the AMC drama in its last season? Moss had a good final bow, but she hasn’t been nominated in this category since 2010.
Ruth Wilson, The Affair – Last year’s surprise winner is certainly in talks to grab another nomination for the second season of the Showtime drama. Will she be able to land another nomination after the show shifts its focus to other characters? Will Maura Tierney’s storyline overshadow Wilson’s?
Priyanka Chopra, Quantico – One of the steadiest debuts this fall was the twisty terrorist drama, Quantico, and right at the center is international star Priyanka Chopra. Similar to the structure of How to Get Away with Murder, the show has garnered a devoted following, and reviews have said nothing but positive things about Chopra. She’s also a total knockout and would amazing on the red carpet.
Robin Wright, House of Cards – Wright should never be discounted for her work on Cards, and people have been saying this is her best season yet. She won in this category 2 years ago, and she could pull off another win.
Alexa Davalos, The Man in the High Castle – Amazon’s newest sensation definitely has people talking (check out that subway display!), and the HFPA might fall in love with the warped period drama. Is it only the show that will get praised and nominated, or will some of the actors get swept along as well?
Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black – To be totally honest, Maslany should be considered every year for her obviously layered work in the clone drama. If you don’t like one of her characters, you’re bound to like another one. Fans have cried for years that she should be nominated for an Emmy, and it finally prevailed this year. Maslany was nominated at the Globes in 2013 in this category, but was left off last year. Will she return after being nominated for an Emmy?
Kerry Washington, Scandal – Surely 3 women from Shondaland won’t make it, right?
Caitriona Balfe, Outlander – If there is a contender that fans are getting behind for any sort of awards contention, it’s Balfe from Starz’s Outlander. The romantic drama has both devoted television and book fans behind her, and when she failed to secure an Emmy nominee this past year, fans were claiming it as one of the biggest snubs of nomination morning. Is Outlander even on anyone’s radar? Is the noise loud enough to garner her a nomination from the HFPA? I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility.
Jaimie Alexander, Blindspot – If we are talking about freshman dramas, we can’t forget about NBC’s Blindspot, one of the biggest new network dramas this fall. Can Jane Doe stand out alongside such strong competition?
Melissa Benoist, Supergirl – This could actually happen, so just be prepared.
Krysten Ritter, Jessica Jones – This Marvel hit is relatively new to the mix, and its received stellar reviews across the board. At the very center is Ritter’s career-changing turn as the lead character. She’s most well known as the B in Apartment 23, but Jones allows her to dive into something far grittier and hardcore. Everyone should be behind her.