Can ‘Homeland’ give Claire Danes a three-peat at the Golden Globes?

Claire Danes may be the woman to beat for Best TV Drama Actress at the Golden Globes. She’s nominated for her role as bipolar CIA agent Carrie Mathison on Showtime’s critically acclaimed thriller “Homeland,” which recently ended its first season to record ratings for the premium cable network. It would be the third Globe victory for Danes, who is currently two-for-two, winning this category in 1994 for “My So-Called Life” and TV Movie/Miniseries Actress last year for “Temple Grandin.”

Unlike the Emmys, where new programs are often at a disadvantage against familiar favorites, the Golden Globes embrace the latest hits. Ingenues Keri Russell (1998, “Felicity”), Jennifer Garner (2001, “Alias”), and Anna Paquin (2008, “True Blood“) all won TV Drama Actress for their show’s first seasons, as did respected veterans Geena Davis (2005, “Commander-in-Chief”) and Glenn Close (2007, “Damages“). And Frances Conroy (2003, “Six Feet Under”) and Mariska Hargitay (2004, “Law & Order: SVU”) won this award with their first bids.

Danes competes against three other actresses from freshman dramas — Mireille Enos (“The Killing“), Madeleine Stowe (“Revenge“), and Callie Thorne (“Necessary Roughness“) — as well as 2009 champ Julianna Margulies (“The Good Wife“). However, Danes is the only nominee whose series also contends for Best Drama, indicating stronger support overall. And she’s the only one who doesn’t have significant factors working against her.

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Enos suffers from the fact that “The Killing” aired its episodes back in the spring (out of sight, out of mind?) and ended with a cliffhanger that turned off many viewers. Stowe steals scenes on “Revenge,” but will the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. take the ABC soap opera seriously enough? Thorne has a similar problem; like Piper Perabo, a nominee for “Covert Affairs” last year, she stars on a lighthearted USA series that lacks the dramatic heft of her competitors’ vehicles.

Margulies is the only returning nominee in this category, and she’s bolstered by her recent Emmy win. But in the last two decades, only one actress has won this category twice for the same role: Edie Falco, who won for the debut season of “The Sopranos” in 1999 and then again in 2002 for her performance in the episode “Whitecaps,” which was such a watershed moment in television acting that it’s still remembered and referenced by awards-watchers almost a decade later.

Is Claire Danes unbeatable? Or will Margulies reverse the bias against repeat winners? Review the nominees and then make your predictions.

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