Twenty-three performers on Lifetime shows have earned Emmy nominations but only one — TV academy favorite Mary Tyler Moore — has prevailed. She picked up her seventh career Emmy in 1993 for her supporting performance in the movie “Stolen Babies.” This year Viola Davis could break that losing streak. The newly minted Oscar winner is a strong contender at the Emmys for her acclaimed performance as a compassionate judge in the telefilm “Custody.”
Let’s take a look back at the 23 Emmy-nominated performances. Among the 20 women who have contended are some of the most recognizable names working in television and film, including past Emmy and Oscar winners and nominees. The vast majority (14) earned their nominations for Best Movie/Mini Actress:
1996: Sela Ward for “Almost Golden: The Jessica Savitch Story”
1999: Ann-Margaret for “Life of the Party: The Pamela Harriman Story”
2002: Blythe Danner for “We Were the Mulvaneys”
2003: Thora Birch for “Homeless to Harvard: The Liz Murray Story”
2005: Debra Winger for “Dawn Anna”
2006: Kathy Bates for “Ambulance Girl”
2006: Judy Davis for “A Little Thing Called Murder”
2007: Gena Rowlands for “What if God Were the Sun”
2009: Shirley MacLaine for “Coco Chanel”
2009: Sigourney Weaver for “Prayers for Bobby”
2010: Joan Allen for “Georgia O’Keefe”
2011: Taraji P. Henson for “Taken From Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story”
2014: Minnie Driver for “Return to Zero”
2014: Cicely Tyson for “The Trip To Bountiful”
In addition to Moore, three others scored nominations for Best Movie/Mini Supporting Actress:
In 2014, many of us expected the respected veterans Burstyn and Tyson to both win. But Burstyn lost her bid for playing an abusive grandmother in “Flowers in the Attice” to Kathy Bates for “AHS: Coven.” Burstyn, who won both an Oscar and a Tony in 1974 for “Alice Doesn’t Live Her Anymore” and “Same Time, Next Year” respectively had to wait until 2009 for her Emmy; she won Best Drama Guest Actress for “Law & Order: SVU” (2009). Three years later, she claimed Best Movie/Mini Supporting Actress for “Political Animals” (2013) over Sarah Paulson for “American Horror Story: Asylum.”
And Tyson, who was recreating her 2013 Tony-winning role in “A Trip to Bountiful” was bested by Bates’ co-star Jessica Lange.Tyson had won both Best Movie/Mini Actress and Actress of the Year for “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman” (1974) and Best Movie/Mini Supporting Actress for “Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All” (1994).
Only two women have scored Emmy bids for continuing series. Blair Brown contended for Best Comedy Actress five times for “The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd (1987-1991): the first two seasons were on NBC followed by three more on Lifetime. And in 2016 Constance Zimmer was up for Best Drama Supporting Actress for “UnReal” (2016).
While the network focuses on programming for women, three men number among the contenders with two of them nominated for Best Movie/Mini Actor — Beau Bridges for “We Were the Mulvaneys” (2002) and Donald Sutherland for “Human Trafficking” (2006) — while Sutherland’s co-star Robert Carlyle vied in the supporting race.
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.