Last year Emmy pundits were flabbergasted when Archie Panjabi (“The Good Wife”) won the Emmy for Best Drama Supporting Actress race. Not only was she a relative unknown competing against a couple of Emmy-winning TV vets and three previous nominees, but she submitted an episode to judges that many Emmywatchers thought was not a knockout.
What a difference a year makes. Panjabi is a frontrunner in the 2011 derby, along with returning nominees Christine Baranski (“The Good Wife”), Sharon Gless (“Burn Notice”) and Christina Hendricks (“Mad Men”). There will be at least two open slots in this field as Elisabeth Moss (“Mad Men”) is switching back to lead while Rose Byrne is out of the running as no new episodes of “Damages” aired during this past season.
Actresses from returning shows looking for their first bids for current roles include Golden Globe winner Chloe Sevigny (“Big Love”) as well as her cast mates Ginnifer Goodwin and Mary Kay Place (an Emmy nominee last year in the guest category), Oscar nominee Debra Winger (“In Treatment”) and her co-star Amy Ryan, recent Critics Choice winner and TCA nominee Margo Martindale (“Justified”), past Emmy nominees Sandra Oh and Chandra Wilson (“Grey’s Anatomy”) as well as their co-star, Tonys champ Sara Ramirez, Regina King (“Southland”), Khandi Alexander (“Treme”), Jennifer Carpenter (“Dexter”), and the female cast members of “Parenthood,” including Monica Potter, Mae Whitman and Golden Globe nominee Bonnie Bedelia.
Potential contenders from freshman series include previous Emmy champ and Golden Globe nominee Kelly Macdonald (“Boardwalk Empire”), Golden Globe and Emmy nominee Lorraine Bracco (“Rizzoli & Isles”), Emilia Clarke and Michelle Fairley (“Game of Thrones”) and Michelle Forbes (“The Killing”).
Gold Derby founder Tom O’Neil with senior editors Chris Beachum and Rob Licuria discuss the race in this video slugfest. They are among the experts and editors who have ranked the potential nominees in this category.
Watch our three experts slug it out over these other cliffhanger races: