2012 Emmys Pre-Nominations Top Contenders (Lead Actress in a Drama Series)
THIS IS “2012,” for the 2013 Contenders click HERE!
Interestingly enough, there was a time when, before the actual nominations came out, voters would narrow down all the contenders to the “top 10″. They obviously don’t do that anymore. But…we can still assume which contenders are at the top of the voter’s minds. Before I release my official nomination predictions around early July, I am going to run down which 10 or so contenders are the biggest threats…and maybe some personal long shots that I believe voters should consider. Here we go!
I am basing the category placements, based on the official ballots which were just released. Here they are.
For more Emmy discussion, visit my Emmy page.
In alphabetical order, here are the top contenders for Leading Actress in a Drama Series…
1. KATHY BATES [Harry's Law] - Pros: Kathy Bates is definitely an Emmy favorite, having been nominated 9 times (no wins). She was nominated last year for this show. And she’s an Oscar winner so…y’know. Voters like that sort of thing. Cons: The cancellation of the series could either mean voters sympathize with Bates and give her “one last nomination”…or, more likely, they’ll just push the actress to the curb the same way NBC did. We’ll have to wait and see.
2. GLENN CLOSE [Damages] - Pros: She’s a heavy Emmy favorite, having been nominated many times, and having won in 2008 and 2009 for this role. She wasn’t eligible last year which explains the gap. And, like Bates, she’s a famous movie actress, having just been nominated for an Oscar for her role in Albert Nobbs. She’s pretty much expected to return this year. Cons: I think “fatigue” would be the only explanation for her snub.
3. CLAIRE DANES [Homeland] - Pros: Besides creating one of the most compelling and explosive female characters of this year, she’s also been nominated for two Emmys, one for My So Called Life, and the other for the beautiful TV movie Temple Grandin, winning for the latter. She also won Golden Globes for those two roles, and recently for Homeland. Considering Homeland is considered a lock for Drama Series, I think the lead star from the show will cleanly get in for her own category. Cons: For some strange reason, she wasn’t nominated for a SAG Award. So…fellow actors don’t like her performance? That could hurt her, I suppose.
4. MICHELLE DOCKERY [Downton Abbey] - Pros: Besides something called the Monte-Carlo TV Festival, she hasn’t been nominated for anything major. However, she was just nominated for a Critics Choice Award, beating her co-star Elizabeth McGovern so…maybe there’s something there. I haven’t watched the second season, but I remember being impressed with her during the first. If the show is really picking up Emmy steam like so many claim, then surely some votes will go towards Dockery. Cons: Again, she hasn’t been nominated for much. And, ultimately if a lead actress from the show gets a nomination, it’ll probably be the older, more established Elizabeth McGovern.
5. MIREILLE ENOS [The Killing] - Pros: She expectantly received a nod last year. She was also nominated for a Golden Globe for her work in season 1. And even though the show has gotten less than favorable reviews recently, Enos’s performance still gets the positive reaction that would make her worthy nominee for the second year in a row. Cons: However…the show is still getting bad reviews. So, nonetheless, that affects her chances. Also, with Claire Danes taking the category by storm, with Glenn and possibly Kyra Sedgwick coming back again, some women will have to be dropped, and Enos seems like the most “cannon fodder” of them all.
6. MARISKA HARGITAY [Law & Order: SVU] - Pros: Against all odds, Hargitay always seems to get a nomination. No matter how much Emmy predictors and TV critics write her off, voters always seem to ignore them and nominate her anyway. She has nominated for the last 8 years consecutively (winning in 2006). And with Christopher Meloni off the series, it’s allowed for her character to have some interesting character development throughout the season. There is very little reason why voters would suddenly stop nominating her. Cons: The only reason I can think of her is voters decreasing interest with network drama (or maybe it’s just NBC. Who knows?)
7. JULIANNA MARGULIES [The Good Wife] - Pros: Although TGW is becoming more of an “ensemble drama” with supporting characters having more central roles, Margulies still remains a compelling “moral center” for the group. The show is still hot. She’s still hot. And she won last year! She’s safe for now. Cons: Unlike last year with “In Sickness”, she lacks a real baity episode that would help her stand out from the crowd. But that probably will affect her once she’s actually nominated. It’s not going to prevent her from getting the nod first IMO.
8. ELIZABETH MCGOVERN [Downton Abbey] - Pros: She received a nomination last year when the series was still considered a “miniseries”. So, in theory, that nomination from last year could carry into this year, despite the category change. Cons: Honestly, the only actor from the show that’s a true lock is Maggie Smith. As part of a very large ensemble, it might be hard for McGovern stand apart from the rest. But, I’d still say, she’s the second most likely to get a nomination out of everyone in the cast.
9. ELIZABETH MOSS [Mad Men] - Pros: She’s been nominated every year since the show’s second season (twice for leading, once in supporting). Behind Don Draper, her character is arguably the strongest, most complex and interesting thing on this highly acclaimed show. This season showed her character coming into her own and finally leaving the agency to join a rival one. That scene alone where Peggy breaks the news to Don is enough to get Moss a nomination, possibly a win. Cons: Unlike a lot of the other contenders, she’s not technically the lead actor on the show. Jon Hamm is. She’s sort of second in command to be honest. And the only reason she’s put in lead is because she’s the most prominent female and the show gets so many Emmy nods that they can afford to pull this type of stunt. I’m not saying she isn’t “lead,” but she’s not as “lead” as the other women in her competition. Not really a big deal, but it’s still worth pointing out.
10. JESSICA PARE [Mad Men] - Pros: This is her first season as a full cast member and she’s already played such a big part. So big, it’s enough to put her in “lead” over Jones and Hendricks. Voters may admire that decision and award her for it. Cons: Let’s just say, there’s no way she’s getting more votes than Elizabeth Moss. Moss is the alpha female, and voters may still decide to vote for Pare if there’s still room in their ballots after they go down the list. Whatever issues her character was going through this season (acting career) doesn’t seem like too big of a deal compared to others.
11. KYRA SEDGWICK [The Closer] - Pros: She was nominated for five years before finally winning in 2010. With the final season coming up, voters might want to award her with another nomination this year. I haven’t seen much of this show,but I’ve heard nothing but great things about the series and Sedgwick in particular. And, one day, I hope watch season one. Cons: She wasn’t nominated last year! A year after winning, she wasn’t nominated. Is this the Academy’s way of saying “We’re bored with you – NEXT!”?
FYI Other contenders include: Marg Helgenberger (CSI), Debra Messing (Smash), Anna Paquin (True Blood), Emmy Rossum (True Blood), Katey Sagal (Sons of Anarchy), and Madeleine Stowe (Revenge)
Longshots that are worth mentioning: Nina Dobrev (The Vampire Diaries), Ellen Pompeo (Grey’s Anatomy), Piper Perabo (Covert Affairs), Callie Thorne (Necessary Roughness), Anna Torv (Fringe), and Kerry Washington (Scandal)
Longshots I sort of love: Lucy Hale from Pretty Little Liars submitted herself. Honestly, I think the other three lead actresses from the show are stronger but I’ll take what I can get it. And you all know I love anything related to The Client List so I would die if Jennifer Love Hewitt got in!
Read the ballots (link posted above) to see who else was submitted. Thanks for reading! More coming tomorrow.