“A full-blown instant star” – USA Today
“A winning performance” – New York Times
“Fabulous comic timing and enormous dramatic flexibility” – Los Angeles Times
With reviews like these, and several similar, you might think you’re reading about Emmy Rossum‘s work in “Shameless,” or Taylor Schilling in “Orange is the New Black,” or another high-profile Emmy contender, but you’d be wrong. These raves belong to their fellow Best Comedy Actress hopeful Brooke Elliott for her work on Lifetime’s “Drop Dead Diva,” and it’s time Emmy gave Elliott her due, before the “Diva” is gone for good.
Not since Lifetime swooped in and rescued “The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd” from cancellation back in 1988 — earning star Blair Brown three more Comedy Actress bids (1989-1991) to add to the two she picked up for NBC — has the cable network been able to secure any lead actress nomination for a series at the Emmys.
Brown’s nomination in 1989 was the first ever for a series lead actress from a US cable network. You’d think Emmy would pay attention to the cable outlet that started it all when making its picks of the best, but that doesn’t seem to be the case — a huge injustice to Elliott’s great performances week after week. What makes this even more staggering is Lifetime’s continued crop of strong female-centric shows, like “Diva,” “Army Wives,” and “Strong Medicine.”
Elliott plays attorney Jane Bingum, a double personality of sorts: Jane died at the same time as an aspiring model, Deb Dobkins, who came back to life in Jane’s body. You follow me here? That makes Jane a mix of “The Good Wife‘s” Alicia Florrick and “Legally Blonde’s” Elle Woods.
Elliott doesn’t go the full-blown Tatiana Maslany (“Orphan Black“) route in terms of performing multiple personas (yes, I will take any opportunity I can to mention Maslany in the same breath as Emmys), but her juggling of a model trapped in a high-class lawyer’s body seems effortless. She’s able to deliver a quick one-liner one minute, and the next make an emotional plea in the courtroom to save a child’s life.
The current sixth season is set to be the series’s last (though you never know with a show whose main character has come back from the dead), and so far this year Elliott has maneuvered Jane through the engagement of her best friend Stacey (perfectly played by April Bowlby) to her ex-fiance Owen (an awesome Lex Medlin), the crazy antics of her new angel Paul (a hilarious turn by Justin Deeley), the professional and legal woes of her secretary (brilliant Emmy-nominated comedian Margaret Cho), and the shooting death of her new but old (long story) fiance Grayson (Jackson Hurst). All this in just 13 episodes, and all done with raves from critics. If this can’t win you an Emmy, let alone a nomination, on your last outing, then what on Earth does it take?
Just because your show is ending, doesn’t mean you’re entirely out of the race. On the comedy side, Kristin Davis (“Sex and the City”), Stockard Channing (“Out of Practice”), and Lisa Kudrow (“The Comeback”) all received Emmy nominations for concluded or cancelled series.
Lifetime has definitely been on the Emmys’ radar, being the first US cable network to score a Best Actress nomination for a comedy or drama series.
“Drop Dead Diva” continues to perform for Lifetime with a rabid fanbase that guarantees the show will be buzzing in Emmy’s ear during peak voting time.
Aside from Blair Brown, Lifetime just can’t seem to get back into the major TV series races the way they have with miniseries and TV movies.
Lifetime is pushing Brooke Elliott in its Emmy campaign, but the network’s new hit “Devious Maids” may draw attention away from her.
“Diva” has been on since 2009 and hasn’t scored a single Emmy, Golden Globe, or SAG nomination. Can an older show still score for its final season? Possible, but unlikely.
Will Elliott finally earn an Emmy nomination? Make your predictions below: