Emmy Episode Analysis: Can Jane Fonda (‘The Newsroom’) win with only one scene?

Jane Fonda is back in the Best Drama Guest Actress Emmy race for the second year in a row thanks to her commanding role as Leona Lansing, owner of ACN on “The Newsroom.” Last year she lost out to Carrie Preston (“The Good Wife“), but with Preston missing from this year’s line-up, could this two-time Oscar winner prevail?

Fonda’s episode submission this year is “Red Team III” and if she wins, she’ll finally have a bookend to the Movie/Mini Actress trophy she picked up thirty years ago for “The Dollmaker.”

Watch: Jane Fonda dishes ‘The Newsroom’ and the craziness of Oscars

SYNOPSIS: After several different sources confirm that the United States used Sarin gas, ACN goes ahead with the story. But soon after it airs, the network discovers the information to be completely false. A staff member is fired for editing an interview to make the account seem true, but ACN is still thrown into a public firestorm.

Will (Jeff Daniels), Charlie (Sam Waterston) and Mac (Emily Mortimer) all decide to resign after the network is sued, but Leona (Fonda) refuses to accept their resignations. When Charlie argues that ACN has lost America’s trust, Leona screams at him, “Get it back!”

Aaron Sorkin apologizes for his mistakes on ‘The Newsroom’

Can Fonda take home her first Emmy for this role for “Red Team III”? Let’s consider the pros and cons:


Fonda is an absolute powerhouse in her scene, taking front and center for three and a half minutes during a marijuana-induced monologue of passion. We dare Emmy voters to take their eyes off of her for even one second.

Fonda goes through an entire range of emotions in her scene, from funny (“I’ve got some kick-ass courtroom outfits”) to absurd (“My make-up lasts a long time”), to catty (“I already wasn’t accepting their resignations, Becca; don’t horn in on my honorable thing”) to passionate (“Get it back!”)

She’s Jane Fonda. If voters get lazy and choose not to watch the Emmy submissions this year, this two-time Oscar champ gets the easy name-check vote.


Screen time, screen time, screen time. Fonda only appears in three and a half minutes, and that comes in the very last scene of the 57 minute episode. That means voters must sit through nearly an hour of a show they clearly don’t like (only five Emmy nominations in two years) before they get to her scene. They could get bored and tune out.

Last year, “The Newsroom” was nominated for three Emmys (Drama Actor, Drama Guest Actress and Main Title Design), but this year it’s dropped down to only two. Add in the fact that the show was recently cancelled, with its shortened third and final season to air presumably this fall, and it’s easy to consider “The Newsroom” to be a failure for HBO. Will voters want to honor something that’s past its prime, or will they give the Emmy to something on the upswing?

With those two Oscars and an Emmy already on her mantel, it would seem criminal for TV academy members to vote against the living legend in this category. But that’s exactly what they did last year when they went for Preston instead. That means Fonda is not indestructible. If an actress comes along with a better episode submission, say bye-bye to Fonda’s hopes of winning an Emmy for this role.

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Fonda is currently in second place in our predictions with 20/1 odds. Do you agree with those odds, or are we dead wrong? Make your own predictions below.

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