2013 Emmy Nominations Review (Lead Actress in a Drama Series) – Who Should Win?
For the next few weeks I will be reviewing the nominations of all the major categories. For the Drama and Comedy categories, the actors will have to choose one episode that represents their best performance for Emmy consideration. I will use these episode submissions (along with some other factors) to determine who I believe deserves the Emmy the most. Bookmark this website or subscribe to be updated on new posts and categories.
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Here are the nominees for Lead Actress in a Drama Series…
Vera Farmiga – Bates Motel (“First You Dream, Then You Die”)
Michelle Dockery – Downton Abbey (“Episode 1″ – Episode 1 and 2 in the UK)
Claire Danes – Homeland (“Q&A”)
Robin Wright – House of Cards (“Chapter 10″)
Elizabeth Moss – Mad Men (“The Better Half”)
Connie Britton – Nashville (“Pilot”)
Kerry Washington – Scandal (“Happy Birthday, Mr. President”)
I do not watch House of Cards or Nashville regularly. This is the first episode of Bates Motel I have seen.
This is tough category for me. No, it’s not because it’s sooo competitive. It’s honestly because the two best possible contenders in this category weren’t even nominated. Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black) was pretty much expected to get snubbed because she’s an unknown Canadian actress on a low rated basic cable drama. But Keri Russell? I was so excited to root for her…but she didn’t get in. And, yes, even Julianna Margulies deserved a nod over some of these actual nominees. Sigh.
But, I can’t dwell on that anymore. I just have to appreciate what I was given: seven strong performances. And that’s all that counts…right? Vera Farmiga’s tape particularly gave me some new found hope for this category. Despite all the hype and buzz surrounding the show and Farmiga’s performance in particular (and A&E’s aggressive Emmy campaign), for some reason I didn’t garner enough interest to watch it. Big mistake! What an excellent pilot. But even better was Vera Farmiga’s performance as the crazy, over-protective mother Norma Bates. I’ve only seen the pilot, but that episode was enough to not only make me want to watch more (which I will) but it allowed me to tie her in second with Kerry Washington of Scandal in my personal ranking. Scandal is a show I actually binge-watched towards the end of May and I loved every second of the journey. Washington plays Olivia Pope a woman who…OK, I’m not quite sure what exactly she does. She plays an unconventional lawyer or something…or something. But, anyway, she is the President’s mistress and is a bad ass during the whole ordeal. But what’s so great about Washington’s performance is that she gives her highly intelligent, hard-wired character such humility and emotion. Olivia Pope is not a character who’s afraid to cry, to feel, to love…no matter how much she objects. Washington submitted the episode where the President is shot and she looks back during the early stages of her affair with the President. But, frankly, besides probably “Seven Fifty Two,” she could have submitted any episode and still have been fabulous.
In third is the lovely Michelle Dockery. She plays Lady Mary and she submitted the season premiere where she marries Matthew and then stresses over the possibility of losing Downton Abbey because of her father’s mismanagement of the family’s funds. It’s a perfect submission and much stronger than what she was left with last year. There’s a calm, subtle, confident air about Dockery’s performance that I appreciate and…I don’t think I would take away her nomination. Similar to Dockery’s subtlety is Elizabeth Moss who submitted her strongest episode of the season – where Peg is put in the middle between her boss, Ted, and her actual boyfriend, Abe Drexler. However, in the end…she pretty much loses both. That last shot of her – a disheveled, tire, pale looking Peg – is a wonderful, silent moment for Elizabeth Moss…silent moments are where she excels. Now…it’s not as impressive as playing 5 different characters (cough cough), but still, really nice.
Connie Britton and Robin Wright (Penn) take up my last two slots. You know, when I first saw their names on the nominations list, I couldn’t jump to any conclusions because, while I had seen a good chunk of both of their first seasons, I still believed that maybe a kick ass tape would prove me wrong (the same way Vera Farmiga’s did). But, Connie Britton ended up submitting the pilot which signifies that her story line didn’t get much stronger after the midseason finale. But, anyway, I have to be fair and judge her performance in the pilot. It’s a really good episode for her. She sings. She has a lot of screen time. Her character has a pretty nasty fight with her freak of a father. And I actually really love that scene where her character (who is an aging country singer) turns down the opportunity to tour with a younger, more popular, country superstar (played by the more impressive Hayden Panettiere). “Well you can kiss my decision as it’s walking out the door” – great line! But it’s not enough, in my opinion, to make her truly deserving. Robin Wright’s episode had a couple pretty good scenes towards the beginning of the episode where she fights with her husband and then visits the woman who has been sleeping with him. However…she sort of disappears and doesn’t do much else that is noteworthy (to me, anyway). Those two first scenes were the best things I’ve ever seen Wright do on the show but, again, it’s not better than my top 5.
So…that leaves Claire Danes as my personal winner. See? I’m not against repeat winners when they’re deserving. Claire Danes had at least four or five explosive episodes, especially towards the messy end of the season. But I’m glad she submitted her performance in “Q&A” where she’s emotional and quiet and almost conniving as she successfully gets Brody to admit to his terrorist activities during an interrogation. Danes is a wide-eyed, lip quivering performer and I love every second of it. That interrogation scene is one of the best individual television scenes of the season and I couldn’t have asked for a better actress to pull it off than Danes. I say…she’s allowed to get a second Emmy.
Official, objective predictions will be revealed closer to the ceremony’s air date. More categories coming soon! Thanks for reading. Click here for more Emmy posts.