Emmy-nominated actors and actresses each submit a single episode that represents their best work from the past season for consideration. Lead and supporting performers select episodes following the nominations announcement, but guest stars name their submissions on the Emmy ballot, so we already know what episodes voters will consider for Best Drama Guest Actress. The last three champs are nominated again this year for their winning roles. Also in the running are two past Emmy winners playing new characters and a former supporting actress shifting down to the guest race.
Ellen Burstyn, “House of Cards”- Gold Derby odds to win: 7/5 (#1)
This Oscar and Tony champ won this category in 2009 for “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.” She also recently won Best Movie/Mini Supporting Actress in 2013 for “Political Animals.” She joined “House of Cards” this season as Elizabeth Hale, the mother of Claire Underwood (Robin Wright). She has submitted “Chapter 41,” the second of her five appearances.
Official ballot description: “After leaving Frank, Claire flees to Texas to stay with her estranged mother, Elizabeth Hale, who is privately battling cancer. The strained relationship between mother and daughter continues to have ups and downs, ending with an assisted suicide for Elizabeth whose health is rapidly declining.”
Official ballot description: “Divorced from Barton, Margaret has been sexually liberated to such a degree that she’s now living with Graham and Jo, Graham’s other girlfriend. In this episode, Margaret and Graham visit the clinic for sexual counseling, but Margaret must face the fact that she is unhappy with this unorthodox living arrangement.”
Margo Martindale, “The Americans” – Gold Derby odds to win: 9/1 (#4)
Martindale has now been nominated for all four seasons of “The Americans” and won for a cameo last year. She has submitted “The Magic of David Copperfield V: The Statue of Liberty Disappears,” her second of two appearances this year as Soviet spy Claudia.
Official ballot description: “One of the Centre’s most trusted handlers, Claudia has a kind face but steely resolve. Often appearing dangerous and cunning, she also has a surprising depth and humanity. She has a conflicted history with the Jennings but knows them well – and knows the potential strategic value of their daughter.”
Laurie Metcalf, “Horace and Pete” – Gold Derby odds to win: 12/5 (#2)
This is the lone one-off performance in the four guest acting categories this year. Metcalf appeared as Sarah in the third episode of “Horace and Pete.” A three-time winner for “Roseanne” from 1992 to 1994, Metcalf is also nominated this year for “Getting On” in Best Comedy Actress and for “The Big Bang Theory” in Best Comedy Guest Actress.
Official ballot description:“Sarah, Horaces’ ex-wife, comes to the bar to ask for advice.”
Molly Parker, “House of Cards” – Gold Derby odds to win: 22/1 (#6)
Parker plays congresswoman Jackie Sharp. She had submitted as a supporting actress for her two prior seasons and is the only first-time Emmy nominee in the category this year. Last year’s sole rookie nominee was Rachel Brosnahan, who was also a former supporting actress on “House of Cards.” As with Parker, she was only nominated when she entered as a guest. Parker has submitted “Chapter 45,” her third of five appearances.
Official ballot description:“Claire uses the knowledge of Jackie’s affair with Remy as leverage to make her back down from opposing the Russia-China resolution plan.”
Carrie Preston, “The Good Wife” – Gold Derby odds to win: 18/1 (#5)
Although she appeared in six seasons of “The Good Wife,” Preston reaped just one previous bid for her role as lawyer Elsbeth Tascioni. That was back in 2013 and she won that race. She has been nominated at the Critics’ Choice Awards three times. Her Emmy submission this year is “Targets,” her only appearance in the final season of the legal drama.
Official ballot description: “Elsbeth Tascioni is hired by Eli to help find out who is investigating Peter and why.”
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