Emmy episode analysis: Uzo Aduba (‘Orange is the New Black’) loses it in ‘People Persons’

Uzo Aduba is back in the Best Drama Supporting Actress Emmy race for “Orange is the New Black.” The popular actress made history by become the first performer since Ed Asner to win prizes in both comedy and drama categories for the same role (Comedy Guest Actress in 2014 and Drama Supporting Actress in 2015). She’s back in the race after missing a nom last year for playing Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren in the Netflix prison drama. She has submitted the fourth season episode “People Persons” for Emmy consideration.

In the episode, Suzanne tries to reconnect with her girlfriend Maureen (Emily Althaus), but Taystee (Danielle Brooks) tells her to stop being her friend. Later, the guards initiate a fight between the two jilted lovers, and Suzanne violently beats Maureen, sending her to the infirmary. Flashbacks show how before going to prison, Suzanne tried to befriend a young boy, but it ends in disaster when she becomes too overbearing and the boy dies by falling out of a window.

Can Aduba win for this episode? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons:

PROS

Not only is last year’s winner (Maggie Smith in “Downton Abbey”) out of the running, but none of last years nominees (Emilia ClarkeLena Headey, and Maisie Williams in “Game of Thrones,” Maura Tierney in “The Affair” and Constance Zimmer in “UnReal”) are present either. That means that if Emmy voters want to repeat — which they’re want to do — then Aduba is their only choice. Potential vote-splitting between newcomers Millie Bobby Brown (“Stranger Things”), Ann Dowd (“The Handmaid’s Tale”), Chrissy Metz (“This Is Us”), Thandie Newton (“Westworld”) and Samira Wiley (“The Handmaid’s Tale”) could allow her to squeak through.

Aduba has yet to lose an Emmy race, possibly because voters really love the character of “Crazy Eyes.” Given her track record, is there reason to believe she’d falter now?

Strictly on merit, Aduba gives perhaps the strongest and most impactful performance in the category. That could benefit Aduba if voters want to truly reward the “best” supporting actress on television.

SEE 2017 Emmy nominations list: All the nominees

CONS

Aduba’s snub last season, couple with the show’s significant dip in total nominations, begs the question of whether or not voters still care about “Orange is the New Black.”

While so much new blood in the category can help Aduba, it can also hurt her. With two Emmys already under her belt, will voters want to spread the wealth?

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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