Thanks to ‘Brave’ success, Kelly Macdonald could win Emmy for ‘Boardwalk Empire’

Can the box office success of Pixar’s newest animated feature “Brave” help star Kelly Macdonald win an Emmy for her unrelated work on the HBO series “Boardwalk Empire“?

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At first glance, this seems like a silly question. After all, what does one performance have to do with the other? In “Brave,” Macdonald voices an animated princess who wants to change her fate, while on “Boardwalk Empire” she portrays a 1920s widow who falls in love with a corrupt city treasurer (Steve Buscemi). 

But when last year’s awards season is taken into consideration, an interesting new trend seems to be emerging.

Two Emmy winners from 2011 — Best Comedy Actress Melissa McCarthy (“Mike & Molly”) and Best Drama Actor Kyle Chandler (“Friday Night Lights”) — had a leg up on their competition thanks to summer movies that premiered just as members of the TV academy were going through their Emmy ballots. For McCarthy, it was the Oscar-nominated raunchy comedy “Bridesmaids,” and for Chandler, it was the J.J. Abrams-directed action flick “Super 8.”

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At the time, Gold Derby wondered if the added exposure of appearing in a summer blockbuster would help Chandler reap a nomination for the final season of “Friday Night Lights.” Not only was Chandler nominated, but the underrated star also wound up scoring an Emmy touchdown. After the success of “Brave,” the same curiosity has us wondering about Macdonald’s Emmy chances.

A year ago, Macdonald lost the Drama Supporting Actress race to “Justified” scene-stealer Margo Martindale, but with Martindale no longer in the running, this category has no clear frontrunner.

Currently Gold Derby’s Experts, Editors and Users have Macdonald in fourth place with 16/1 odds. In the lead is Maggie Smith (“Downton Abbey”), who won the Miniseries Supporting Actress race in 2011 but now must contend in the Drama category. Rounding out our top six are Christina Hendricks (“Mad Men”), Christine Baranski (“The Good Wife”), Anna Gunn (“Breaking Bad”) and 2010 winner Archie Panjabi (“The Good Wife”).

McCarthy and Chandler weren’t the first Emmy winners to have an aptly-timed movie hit theaters during Emmy voting season. Another TV star, Katherine Heigl (“Grey’s Anatomy”), shocked Emmy watchers when she won the race for Drama Supporting Actress in 2007, thanks perhaps to her appearance in the movie comedy hit “Knocked Up.”

Will Macdonald follow in their footsteps?

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