If anyone is a lock this year, it's Kate Winslet. She has been since the moment HBO was announcing its remake of "Mildred Pierce." Add to the fact it's a deserving performance, plus Winslet has been massively snubbed by the Emmys before (they gave Cloris Leachman Guest Actress Emmy #2 for "Malcolm in the Middle," snubbing Winslet for her brilliant turn on the pilot of "Extras") and I'm all for it.
With that said, Diane Lane turned in one of the best performances of her career in "Cinema Verite." It came out of nowhere and was completely unexpected. Lately, Lane has been making each performance better than the last. The motion picture, "Secretariat," was hardly on anyone's radar last year, as many wrote it off because it was by Disney, plus some felt it was a knockoff of Sandra Bullock and "The Blind Side." Those of us that watched it know Lane brought her A-game, giving one of the most underappeciated performances of 2010.
While Lane (along with the three other nominees) are taking a very backseat ride to the Winslet train, it makes me wonder...What other categories contained more than one career-defining performance but kind of went overshadowed by a frontrunner?
I can think of several in this category alone...
2009: Jessica Lange ("Grey Gardens") beat costar Drew Barrymore ("Grey Gardens") and Sigourney Weaver ("Prayers for Bobby"). I will always feel Lange should have been placed in Supporting. Jeanne Tripplehorn was barely in it to warrant a nomination and the film focused on the life of Little Edie, even though Big Edie was a big part of it. Then there's Weaver. Lifetime movie or not, this is the best I've ever seen her. She continued her awards show streak as "Always the maid, never the bride." (...at least Glenn Close has received 3 Tonys and 3 Emmys...Weaver can't seem to catch a break anywhere.)
2008: Laura Linney ("John Adams") beat Judi Dench ("Cranford"), Susan Sarandon ("Bernard and Dorris'), Phylicia Rashad ("A Raisin in the Sun") and my personal favorite, Catherine Keener ("An American Crime"). A case can absolutely be made for every actress in this category. I'll always wonder if voters really felt Linney was the best or if she just got swept up in the history-making love for "John Adams." I had her ranked fourth, above Dench, even though I would have been fine with any of these ladies winning.
2007: No one was going to stop Helen Mirren for "Prime Suspect 7: The Final Act." Even still, Queen Latifah gave the best performance of her career in "Life Support" and thankfully has a Globe and SAG to show for it.
The many times that Michael Richards and others beat out Jason Alexander.
2013 Emmys FYC
Amy Poehler, Jane Krakowski, Matthew Perry, Martha Plimpton, Louis CK, Nick Offerman, Adam Scott, Garret Dillahunt