Three-time Emmy winner Cicely Tyson could win trophy #4 this year thanks to her guest role as Ophelia Harkness, the mother of Viola Davis‘ Annalise Keating, on “How to Get Away with Murder.” She was previously nominated for the ABC legal thriller’s debut season in 2015. Tyson won two Emmys for “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman” (1974) and another for “Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All” (1994), but it’s been 23 years since she last entered the winner’s circle. The biggest hurdle to Tyson winning for “HTGAWM” is Alexis Bledel of Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” who’s the current frontrunner to win Best Drama Guest Actress according to our Emmy experts from major media outlets.
As of this writing we’ve polled 13 TV journalists from top media outlets and these two think Tyson will prevail: Debra Birnbaum (Variety) and Lynn Elber (Associated Press). Tyson’s episode submission this year is “Go Cry Somewhere Else.” Emmy ballot synopsis: Annalise is embarrassed to see her parents at her trial, so she confronts them, only to learn that Ophelia is suffering from dementia. She thinks that Annalise is taking the blame for her for setting the house on fire that killed Annalise’s abusive uncle.
“Gilmore Girls” fans who gave up on the Emmys after all those painful Bledel snubs may have a change of heart this year. Bledel plays Ofglen on “The Handmaid’s Tale,” one of the titular handmaids who endures countless amounts of pain, both emotional and physical. These seven Emmy pundits predict that she will win: Joyce Eng (TV Guide), Matthew Jacobs (Huffington Post), Lynette Rice (Ent. Weekly), Robert Rorke (New York Post), Peter Travers (Rolling Stone), Adnan Virk (ESPN) and Glenn Whipp (Los Angeles Times). Bledel has submitted the episode titled “Late” for awards consideration. Emmy ballot synopsis: Offred visits Janine’s baby with Serena Joy and remembers the early days of the revolution before Gilead. Ofglen faces a difficult challenge.
Carrie Preston prevailed for her quirky lawyer role of Elsbeth Tascioni on “The Good Wife” back in 2013, and now Matt Roush (TV Guide Magazine) forecasts that she’ll win for playing this same character on CBS All Access’s spinoff “The Good Fight.” “Stoppable: Requiem For An Airdate” is Preston’s episode entry this time around. Emmy ballot synopsis: Elsbeth Tascioni is somewhat odd, but completely charming. After Lucca Quinn (Cush Jumbo) is threatened by Mike Krevesta (Matthew Perry), Tascioni once again proves herself to be a fantastic — and ruthless — attorney.
Longtime character actress Ann Dowd will win her first career Emmy according to Paul Sheehan (Gold Derby). She portrays Patti Levin on HBO’s departing drama “The Leftovers,” and is also top of mind for playing alongside Bledel in “The Handmaid’s Tale,” though in a supporting role. For her “Leftovers” guest submission, Dowd has entered “The Most Powerful Man In The World (And His Identical Twin Brother).” Emmy ballot synopsis: Dead and buried, but alive and well in a surreal afterlife, Patti Levin returns to torment Kevin Garvey again, this time not as a cult leader, but as Secretary of Defense of The United States.
Can Cloris Leachman add to her Emmy record of eight primetime trophies this year thanks to Starz’s “American Gods”? That’s what Kerr Lordygan (Rotten Tomatoes) thinks, as he’s predicting her to prevail for her episode titled “The Secret Of Spoons.” Emmy ballot synopsis: Cloris Leachman plays the role of Zorya Vechernyaya, the eldest of three sisters who watch over the constellations, guarding against horrors forgotten by modern man. Once accustomed to royal status, the sisters have learned to survive on far less in a country that has no memory of them.
Laverne Cox (“Orange is the New Black”) is the pick to win according to Michael Ausiello (TV Line). She was previously nominated in 2014 for playing Sophia Burset, losing to cast mate Uzo Aduba. In Season 4 of the Netflix drama, Cox gets to explore a powerful solitary confinement storyline and has chosen the episode “Doctor Psycho” as her submission. Emmy ballot synopsis: After Caputo ignores Sophia’s requests to review the decision of her being in SHU, she stages several protests for her release — from stuffing her clothing down the toilet to clog it up to lighting her cell on fire.
None of our Emmy seers are currently predicting a victory for any other Best Drama Guest Actress hopefuls, but 10 out of 13 believe that Gillian Anderson will earn a bid for “American Gods” as Media. Anderson won the lead actress race for “The X-Files” in 1997, proving that voters aren’t afraid of honoring performers on sci-fi/fantasy shows. “Lemon Scented You” is her official awards entry. Emmy ballot synopsis: Gillian Anderson plays the role of Media. A master of manipulation, Media assumes whatever form will deliver her message most effectively. And unlike some of her fellow New Gods, she favors persuasion over brute force.
Seven Emmy gurus have Alison Wright (“The Americans”) getting nominated for her ever-evolving role of Martha on the FX Russian spy drama. Though her screen time decreased this year, she still has a great episode entry in “The Soviet Division.” Emmy ballot synopsis: Secretary to the head of FBI Counter-Intelligence, Martha married Clark, an agent with FBI internal affairs. She spied on her colleagues for him. When her cover’s blown, Clark confesses that he’s actually a KGB spy. Sent to Moscow, Martha struggles to adapt to her new life.
Adina Porter (“Underground”) is predicted to earn her first nomination by two Emmy pundits. She plays a slave named Pearly Mae who voices a song that will help the escaped slaves find their freedom. Porter is having a standout year as she’s also earning Emmy buzz for “American Horror Story: Roanoke.” Her “Underground” episode submission is “Contraband.” Emmy ballot synopsis: Pearly Mae’s soul cannot rest. Her memory haunts a guilty Ernestine, who murdered her. Pearly Mae reasons with a suicidal Ernestine, speaking of grief and trauma; Pearly Mae cannot believe ‘this is what Stine has become…’
Rounding out our experts’ likely nominees for Best Drama Guest Actress, three women have the support of one Emmy journalist apiece: Khandi Alexander (“Scandal”), Uma Thurman (“The Imposters”) and Kristin Chenoweth (“American Gods”). See the experts’ combined racetrack odds in 24 Emmy categories.
Be sure to make your Emmy predictions. Weigh in now with your picks 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 nominees are announced on July 13. 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.