Last year’s Best Drama Actress race at the Emmy Awards featured underdog Kyra Sedgwick (“The Closer”) knocking out front-runner Julianna Margulies (“The Good Wife”) for her first win. Coming off success at the Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards, Margulies was predicted to prevail. However, her poor episode selection (“Threesome” rather than the pilot) coupled with a fantastic choice by Sedgwick (“Maternal Instincts”) lost her the race.
For the 2011 derby, both ladies return for battle along with some seriously dramatic rivals. Elisabeth Moss (“Mad Men”) switches from the supporting category back to lead with what might be her best episode ever (“The Suitcase”). She will most likely bump out co-star January Jones (one of last year’s lead nominees), who had very little screen time in the fourth season of the AMC series. Others from last year’s field who may be back are seven-time nominee and 2006 champ Mariska Hargitay (“Law and Order: Special Victims Unit”) plus first-time nominee Connie Britton (“Friday Night Lights”).
There will be at least one open position since two-time champ Glenn Close had no new epsiodes of “Damages” during this past season. Actresses from returning shows looking for their first bids for current roles include Lauren Graham (“Parenthood”), recent Oscar winner Melissa Leo (“Treme”), Mary McCormack (“In Plain Sight”), 1993 Oscar champ Anna Paquin (“True Blood”), 2011 Golden Globe winner Katey Sagal (“Sons of Anarchy”), Anna Torv (“Fringe), and Jeanne Tripplehorn (“Big Love”). Two winners of this race — Patricia Arquette (“Medium,” 2005) and Sally Field (“Brothers and Sisters,” 2007) — have one last shot at Emmy gold.
Potential contenders from freshman series include eight-time Emmy nominee and Oscar winner Kathy Bates (“Harry’s Law”), Sarah Wayne Callies (“The Walking Dead”), two-time Emmy champ Dana Delany (“Body of Proof”), Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander (“Rizzoli and Isles”), Lena Headey (“Game of Thrones”), Golden Globe nominee Piper Perabo (“Covert Affairs”), and Emmy Rossum (“Shameless”).
Gold Derby founder Tom O’Neil and senior editors Chris Beachum and Rob Licuria offer up their predictions and discuss the possibilities in this video slugfest. They are among the experts and editors who have ranked the potential nominees in this race.
Watch our three experts slug it out over these other cliffhanger races: