If I ask you to name the guaranteed Emmy nominees for, say, Best Drama Series, you might reel off four or five shows with confidence and then wring your hands over those last contenders on the bubble. But if you’re like me, you’d be hard-pressed to name more than two sure things for Best Drama Actress, and that’s being generous. So, to help you make your predictions, lets take a closer look at the top 10 contenders according to our latest odds.
There were seven nominees last year and all are eligible to return this year. Of this septet, Robin Wright (“House of Cards“) is the safest bet to repeat. Indeed, she currently leads with racetrack odds of 23/10.
2011 champ Julianna Margulies (“The Good Wife“) as one of last year’s most shocking omissions, but this latest season her CBS hit was its most talked about in years. Indeed, most of us expect her to return – she even ranks second to win with odds of 9/2!
Claire Danes (“Homeland“) has won twice in a row, so her spot should be secure, right? Well, the show endured a significant backlash for its third season, which resulted in complete rejection by the Golden Globes – though it did still score three nominations at the SAG Awards. And, in recent years, we’ve seen Emmy winners such as Kyra Sedgwick (“The Closer“) and Eric Stonestreet (“Modern Family“) snubbed the next year. However, Danes looks likely to reap a bid with odds of 6/1.
Tatiana Maslany (“Orphan Black“) was only just beginning to generate buzz when voting was underway in 2013, and few had seen her show, but now her star has risen, she’s a Golden Globe nominee, and she’s a two-time Critics’ Choice winner. And, if that’s not enough, Maslany made the April cover of Emmy magazine. She has odds of 14/1.
Elisabeth Moss (“Mad Men“) is a perennial contender, with four previous Drama Actress bids and another in the supporting race (2010). However, support for “Mad Men” has been waning in recent years. It hasn’t won any Emmys since 2011; indeed, it has been shut out despite 29 nominations. If voters are looking for fresh faces this year, might she be the one to miss out? She has odds of just 16/1.
Keri Russell (“The Americans“) could make the Emmy lineup for the first time with odds of 25/1. Many expected her to break through last year, but her show received a scant two nominations: Drama Guest Actress (Margo Martindale) and Main Title Theme Music. However, another FX series, “Justified,” was similarly slow to catch on with the TV academy. It too earned a Main Title Theme Music nod for its first season, but then took off with four acting bids the following year, winning Drama Supporting Actress for Martindale.
Our odds aren’t optimistic for three of last year’s other nominees: Vera Farmiga (“Bates Motel“) and Michelle Dockery (“Downton Abbey“) rank eighth and tenth respectively while Connie Britton (“Nashville“) is down in 14th place.
Farmiga was the sole nominee for “Bates Motel” in 2013, and the only other “Nashville” bid was for songwriting, so it’s uncertain how much affection the TV academy still has for those shows. Will they still be Emmy favorites, or were they, if you’ll pardon the phrase, one-hit wonders?
In contrast, “Downton Abbey” has been an Emmy favorite for years, but like “Mad Men,” it’s not the media darling it once was, and critical support has softened (season four scored 72 on MetaCritic, its lowest yet). But the show and its actors have surprised us before at the Emmys, so it may be foolish of us to underestimate Dockery, even with her odds of 100/1.
Finally, there is freshman contender Lizzy Caplan. It’s hard to guess how “Masters of Sex” will be received by voters. It’s sexually provocative and aired its first season way back in fall 2013. But it earned Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice nominations for Best Drama, so it’s off to a good start. If voters embrace the show, its leading lady may go along for the ride; she has odds of 50/1.
Below, take a photo tour through this year’s top 10 contenders for Best Drama Actress.
And be sure to use the easy drag-and-drop menu below to make your predictions in this race.