One of the heartbreaking aspects of watching the Emmy race as closely as we do is those times when there's an actor who we know could have won an Emmy if only they had been nominated, because we know he or she had the episode to do it.
Of the top of my head, I'm thinking Sarah Michelle Gellar in "The Body" ("Buffy"), Susanna Thompson in "Gardenia" ("Once and Again"), and Elizabeth Mitchell in "One of Us" ("Lost").
What are some other great performances that could have won if only voters had gotten a chance to see them?
Season 3, Dixie Carter for Leading Actress, "The Candidate" Season 2, Jean Smart for Supporting Actress, "I'll Be Seeing You"/"How Great Thou Art" Season 3, Annie Potts for Supporting Actress, "Big Haas and Little Falsie"/"Stand and Fight"
"Things aren't as happy as they used to be down here at the unemployment office. Joblessness is no longer just for philosophy majors - useful people are starting to feel the pinch."
Kyle Chandler, Friday Night Lights (Eyes Wide Open)-Well, he won for the series finale, so perhaps he shouldn't count. But he was excellent in this episode, and managed to show so many different sides of Coach Taylor. And this is only the 2nd episode.
Connie Britton, Friday Night Lights (I Think We Should Have Sex)-Would have won. Britton's speech is so heartbreaking and geunine, I can't imagine a voter would pass her by.
Elizabeth Mitchell, Lost (One of Us)-Would have won, bar none. Heigl stole Mitchell's Emmy. Comparing the two is sad.
Henry Ian Cusick, Lost (The Constant)-The only one who had an episode comparable to Michael Emerson's. And considering his character is more sympathetic than Emerson's, he could well have won based on the empathy factor alone.
Connie Britton, Friday Night Lights (Bad Ideas)-Again would have won.
Yunjin Kim, Lost (Ji Yeon)-The final scene would have sealed the deal.
Michael Chiklis, The Shield (Possible Kill Screen or Family Meeting)-The final scenes in either episode could have made him very competitive against Cranston.
Connie Britton, Friday Night Lights (The Giving Tree)-Again would have won. Seeing a trend here?
Walton Goggins, The Shield (Parracide, Possible Kill Screen, or Family Meeting)-He would been competitive with Emerson and Paul with any one of these episodes.
Annie Wersching, 24 (Day 7 5:00pm-6:00pm)-Considering Jones was able to pull of a win with an excellent but short tape, Wersching could've done the same with an excellent but much longer take. Her final scene is great too.
Kim Dickens, Friday Night Lights (Hello, Goodbye)-Perhaps a bit subtle. But she is so damn good in the episode that I believe she would have stood a decent shot, especially facing the actual competition.
Katey Sagal, Sons of Anarchy (Balm)-Would have won easily. That final scene was jawdropping.
Zach Gilford, Friday Night Lights (The Son)-This one REALLY irks me. Had he gotten in, he would have beaten Lithgow (and I loved Lithgow and with his actual competition, he deserved his win). His episode had everything a voter could possibly ask for. The greatest single episode performance of anyone, male or female, in comedy or drama, that year IMO.
Sean Bean, Game of Thrones (Baelor)-Although I fully endorse Chandler's win, the final scene could have persuaded voters to go in his direction.
Katey Sagal, Sons of Anarchy (Home)-Sagal would have stood a decent chance had she gotten in. And it irks that even with a GG win, she still couldn't make it.
Michael B. Jordan, Friday Night Lights (The Right Hand of the Father)-Now I still support Dinklage's win, but Jordan would have been very competitive with this episode.
Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones (Fire and Blood)-She was amazing during the season, and she owned the finale. She would have given Margo Martindale (who deserved her win) at least some competition.
Kaitlyn Dever, Justified (Brother's Keeper)-She was amazing during the season, and particularly in this episode. Certainly better than the winner Loretta Devine, and better than nearly every other nominee. Only Stiles was better, and only slightly.
2016 Oscar FYC: Brooklyn (Actress (Saoirse Ronan)); Inside Out (Original Screenplay, Animated Feature); The Martian (Picture, Actor (Matt Damon), Adapted Screenplay)
Wendie Malick for Hot in Cleveland in 2011. With "Good Luck Faking the Goiter" she would have won in a cakewalk. She had plenty of winning submissions but this one was a slam dunk.
January Jones for Mad Men in 2009. Episode: "A Night to Remember". For me there was no better dramatic performance form any actress that year than her in that particular episode.
Elizabeth Mitchell for Lost in 2007. Episode: "One of Us" & Connie Britton for Friday Night Lights in 2007. Episode: "I Think We Should Have Sex". It would have been amazing if Britton won in leading (tying with Driver) and Mitchell in supporting but sadly we got instead Sally Field and Katherine Heigl. Honestly, the voters had Minnie Driver with "Pilot" of The Riches and they chose Sally freakin' Field over her!? BS!