Will Joan Allen earn an Emmy nomination for "The Family"? She stars in the new drama as Claire Warren, an ambitious Maine politico whose young son returns home after being presumed dead for 10 years. It premiered on March 3 before moving to its regular Sunday night time slot on March 6.
Allen is a three-time Oscar nominee for her film work, and the Emmys love movie stars moving to the small screen; consider past Best Drama Actress champs like Sally Field ("Brothers & Sisters," 2007), Glenn Close ("Damages," 2008-2009) and Viola Davis ("How to Get Away with Murder," 2015). It doesn't hurt that the show was created by Jenna Bans, who produced and wrote for "Grey's Anatomy" and "Scandal," the latter of which earned its star, Kerry Washington, a pair of Drama Actress nominations (2013-2014).
Allen herself is a three-time Emmy-nominee. She earned her first bid in 2002: Best Movie/Mini Supporting Actress for the fantasy miniseries "The Mists of Avalon," losing to Stockard Channing ("The Matthew Shepard Story"). She was nominated again in 2010 for Best Movie/Mini Actress for playing the title role in "Georgia O'Keefe" and also Best TV Movie for producing that film. Those awards went to "Temple Grandin" and its star Claire Danes.
Claire Warren is an emotionally showy role, and the Emmys have grown fond of morally compromised heroes and heroines like the ones played by the aforementioned Close and Davis. What's more, Allen had another high-profile role recently as a mother with a missing child in the Oscar-winning "Room." So with the actress back on Hollywood's radar in such a big way, will the TV academy take notice? Consider some of her reviews.
Daniel D’Addario (Time): "'The Family' relies on familiar, drab settings, and squeezes from them—and from Allen’s performance—real gravity and emotion. Perhaps the show’s biggest twist is that it has something on its mind."
Joshua Alston (The A.V. Club): "The performances are the real draw, beginning with Allen, whose performance sells the synergy between Claire’s maternal grief and her career ambitions. Claire could easily come off as a cynic who rode a wave of public sympathy into office, but Allen lends her some much-needed humanity."
Brian Lowry (Variety): "Distinguished by a top-flight cast, including Joan Allen and Andrew McCarthy, this soap is a slow but reasonably compelling burn, with abundant possibilities wrapped in its opening hours."
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Photo credit: Joan Allen in "The Family" by ABC