Emmy episode analysis: Elisabeth Moss (‘The Handmaid’s Tale’) breaks our hearts as Offred in ‘Night’

Elisabeth Moss is back in the Emmy race as Best Drama Actress for Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale.” It’s the eighth career nomination for the actress, following six bids for “Mad Men” (Best Drama Actress in 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2015; Best Drama Supporting Actress in 2010) and one for “Top of the Lake” (Best Movie/Mini Actress in 2013). She competes this year for playing Offred, a young woman made to act as a concubine for a wealthy family in a dystopian future society. She has submitted the Season 1 finale, “Night,” for Emmy consideration.

In this segment, Serena (Yvonne Strahovski) drags Offred into the bathroom and forces her to take a pregnancy test, which turns out to be positive. Serena puts Offred through further misery by driving her to see her daughter, but tortures her by not rolling down to windows so the two can interact. It’s a truly heart-breaking scene. Later, Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd) gathers the handmaids to execute Ofdaniel (Madeline Brewer) for endangering a child. Led by Offred, they all refuse, dropping their stones one by one. In the end, Offred is dragged away in the back of a van toward an unknown future.

Can Moss finally win an Emmy for this episode? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons:

PROS

The good news is that last year’s champ Tatiana Maslany is absent since “Orphan Black” didn’t air new episodes during Emmy voting. Moss competes against previous winner Viola Davis (“How to Get Away with Murder”), past nominees Keri Russell (“The Americans”), Evan Rachel Wood (“Westworld”) and Robin Wright (“House of Cards”), plus newcomer Claire Foy (“The Crown”).

With eight nominations under her belt, Moss is way overdue for Emmy recognition. Given that “Handmaid’s Tale” is one of the breakout hits this season and a strong contender to win Best Drama Series, it seems as though her time may finally come.

“Night” provides Moss with one hell of an Emmy scene, as she tries desperately to break out of a car and see her daughter. It voters are still watching episodes to determine who they vote for, she could win in a landslide.

“The Handmaid’s Tale” struck a cord with viewers, tapping into their fears for what the future of America may hold following the election of Donald Trump. Could that help the show and Moss?

SEE 2017 Emmy nominations list: All the nominees

CONS

“The Handmaid’s Tale” didn’t air in time to compete at last year’s Golden Globe and SAG Awards, where Foy triumphed for “The Crown.” Will Foy simply continue her winning streak, or might Moss begin a new one?

Does “The Handmaid’s Tale” hit too close to home? It’s impossible to watch the series without thinking of life in Trump’s America, which could work for or against the freshman drama.

Be sure to make your Emmy predictions so that Hollywood insiders can see how their TV shows and performers are faring in our Emmy odds. You can keep changing your predictions until just before winners are announced on September 17. And join in the fierce debate over the 2017 Emmys taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our TV forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.

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