Emmy nominations are less than a week away — make your last-minute predictions now! — so let’s take a moment to analyze this year’s race for Best Drama Actress. As a refresher, last year we correctly predicted four of the six nominees in this category. We missed only Lizzy Caplan (“Masters of Sex“) and Michelle Dockery (“Downton Abbey“), whom we had in ninth and tenth place, respectively. Instead, we had Tatiana Maslany (“Orphan Black“) and Elisabeth Moss (“Mad Men“) in our fifth and sixth slots.
All of last year’s nominees are eligible again this year, but as you can see from the chart above, we are only predicting three of them to return to the race: two-time nominee Robin Wright (“House of Cards“) and two-time winners Julianna Margulies (“The Good Wife“) and Claire Danes (“Homeland“).
Do you agree that those three are locks for nominations on July 16? And which of the others in our Top 10 are the strongest possibilities and which are on the bubble?
Scroll down to see a breakdown of the leading contenders, according to our exclusive Emmy odds that are derived from predictions made by Gold Derby’s Experts, Editors, Top 24 Users (the two dozen folks who did the best predicting last year’s Emmys line-up) and All Users.
And then be sure to make your own predictions and be in with a chance to win prizes, bragging rights and a place of honor in next year’s Top 24 Users.
Viola Davis (“How to Get Away with Murder”)
Overall odds to win: 7/2
Two-time Oscar-nominee Davis has the kind of pedigree Emmy voters love, and her role as prodigious defense attorney Annalise Keating in “How to Get Away with Murder” gives her the kinds of showy courtroom scenes that frequently win Emmys. So far this season, she hasn’t missed a beat, scoring nods at the Golden Globes, Critics’ Choice Awards and TCA Awards, and winning at the SAG Awards.
Taraji P. Henson (“Empire”)
Overall odds to win: 9/2
Davis isn’t the only Oscar-nominee in this contest. Henson earned a bid in 2008 for “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (where, coincidentally, she also faced Davis). Now she headlines FOX’s “Empire,” which became one of network TV’s biggest ratings juggernauts in years. Her scene-stealing turn as ex-con and music exec Cookie Lyon already earned her a Critics’ Choice Award and a TCA nomination.
Robin Wright (“House of Cards”)
Overall odds of winning: 5/1
Wright has been nominated for the last two years in a row for playing icy political wife Claire Underwood in “House of Cards,” and we’re expecting her to slide in for an easy third nomination. But can her subdued performance overtake the impactful work of Davis and Henson?
Julianna Margulies (“The Good Wife”)
Overall odds to win: 6/1
Margulies has two Emmys for playing lawyer Alicia Florrick in “The Good Wife.” In fact, she’s the defending champion, but she was snubbed once before (in 2013). Could she be at risk of missing out once again?
Claire Danes (“Homeland”)
Overall odds to win: 12/1
“Homeland” fell out of favor with the Emmys last year, dropping out of most major categories, but two-time Drama Actress champ Danes held on to her spot. She’s expected to do so again this year after the show’s resurgent fourth season.
Ruth Wilson (“The Affair”)
Overall odds to win: 14/1
Wilson won the Golden Globe for Best Drama Actress for “The Affair” back in January against current Emmy frontrunner Davis. She plays grieving waitress Alison Lockhart, and she has a secret Emmy weapon: since the show is told from two points of view, she essentially plays two characters, and the TV academy often loves to reward dual roles.
Elisabeth Moss (“Mad Men”)
Overall odds to win: 33/1
Moss earned five consecutive Emmy nominations for playing copywriter Peggy Olson in “Mad Men” (four in the lead category), but she was unexpectedly dropped from the Drama Actress lineup last year. Will she make a comeback for the final season of the revered AMC drama?
Caitriona Balfe (“Outlander”)
Overall odds to win: 33/1
Fan-favorite Balfe plays Claire Randall in the Starz hit series “Outlander.” The cable network has had some success in the Emmys’ longform categories in recent years with “The Pillars of the Earth” and “The White Queen.” “Outlander” may be its best chance yet at major nominations in the drama field.
Vera Farmiga (“Bates Motel”)
Overall odds to win: 100/1
Farmiga was nominated in 2013 as Norma Bates, the mother of fledgling serial killer Norman Bates, but she fell out of the category in 2014. Can she make a comeback for the third season of A&E’s “Psycho” prequel? Such Emmy comebacks are tough, but not unheard of, and Farmiga still has the backing of critics, who have nominated her every year at the Critics’ Choice Awards.
Taylor Schilling (“Orange is the New Black”)
Overall odds to win: 100/1
Schilling was nominated for Best Comedy Actress last year as overwhelmed prison inmate Piper Chapman in “Orange is the New Black,” but the TV academy’s decision to move the series into the drama category means the actress faces entirely new competition. Our predictors think she’s in for an uphill battle, but “Orange is the New Black” is considered a likely nominee for Best Drama Series, so there’s a strong possibility its star will go along for the ride.
Make all your Emmy predictions and you could win a place of honor on our leaderboard, a starring role in next year’s Top 24 Users (the two dozen folks who do the best predicting this year’s Emmys line-up), and one of three contest prizes: $500 for first place, $300 for second place, and $200 for third place. Prizes will be bestowed as gift certificates to be redeemed at Amazon. See our contest rules for more info.
Average Gold Derby users just like YOU often turn out to be our smartest prognosticators, so it’s important that you give us your predictions. Your picks influence our User racetrack odds, which also factor into our official combined odds.
The Top 24 Users did the best at predicting last year’s Emmy nominations (78.55%) when competing against Gold Derby’s Editors (77.68%), all Users (74.78%) and the Experts (74.64%). Which group will be victorious this year?
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