Emmy episode analysis: Will Allison Janney win again for ‘Masters of Sex’ guest role?

allison janney masters of sex parallax margaret scully entertainment 13579086 story

Will Allison Janney, last year’s Emmy champ for Best Drama Guest Actress, prevail again for her role on “Masters of Sex“? This year, she only appeared in one episode of the Showtime drama (“Parallax”), so she didn’t have to endure the agony of choosing which episode to submit to judges in this particular race. But is her performance as Margaret Scully in this hour good enough to warrant back-to-back Emmys?

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SYNOPSIS: Margaret is in bed reading when her gay husband Barton (Beau Bridges) comes into the room and tries to have sex with her. She stops him when she realizes that he’s treating her like a boy and they both start crying over their broken situation. Margaret and her daughter leave in the daytime, and when they return they’re shocked to see that Barton has hanged himself in the basement. Margaret holds him up as the daughter fetches the knife and they are able to save his life just in time.

A while later, Margaret opens the front door to see Bill Masters (Michael Sheen) is there to visit with Barton. Margaret lies and says his work schedule has been “complete madness” and that he’s on the phone. She offers to give Barton a message from Bill in lieu of letting him inside the house.

Can this six-time Emmy favorite win again for this role for the episode “Parallax”? Let’s consider the pros and cons:


Janney is a six-time Emmy winner across many categories, so it’s clear she’s a favorite amongst voters. For “The West Wing,” she won twice for supporting (2000, 2001) and twice for lead (2002, 2004), then last year she won another pair: Drama Guest Actress for “Masters of Sex” and Comedy Supporting Actress for “Mom.”

Margaret goes through a range of emotions in this episode, from excitement to disappointment to panic and relief. Emotional range is one of the key aspects of securing Emmy victories.

Thanks to her nomination for “Mom,” Janney appears twice on the ballot again this year, for both comedy and drama. That extra nomination could boost her chances as voters may want to honor her versatile work.


“Masters of Sex” under-performed with Emmy voters, failing to score major nominations for Best Drama Series, actor, actress, writing or directing.

When Janney won last year for this show, her character was front and center in her episode, “Brave New World.” This time, Margaret is mostly a reactionary character and doesn’t get to do much of her own.

Janney’s schedule and the show’s changing direction meant that she only got to appear in one episode this season. Will lack of screen time and impact hurt her?

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