“Game of Thrones” is poised to have a record-breaking year at the Emmys, and we’re forecasting that Lena Headey will go along for the ride for her performance as Cersei Lannister, who will stop at nothing to secure power for her family. Our exclusive Gold Derby odds place her out front at 9/5 to prevail on her second straight nomination for HBO’s epic fantasy series.
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For Emmy consideration, Headey submitted the season finale episode, “Mother’s Mercy,” which is also nominated for Best Drama Writing and Best Drama Directing. In it, Cersei is freed from imprisonment by the puritanical Sparrows, but must march naked through the streets of King’s Landing to receive the scorn and abuse of the townspeople.
Headey faces a tough challenge from Christina Hendricks, nominated for the sixth year in a row for playing Joan Harris in “Mad Men.” She has yet to win, but she’s a close second with 14/5 odds to finally prevail. She submitted the episode “Lost Horizon,” also nominated for Best Drama Writing, in which Joan walks out of McCann Erickson after experiencing the rampant sexism of her new colleagues.
Also a formidable contender is Uzo Aduba, who plays Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren in the Netflix prison series “Orange is the New Black.” She won Best Comedy Guest Actress last year, but moved to this race after the TV academy deemed the series a drama. She gets 10/3 odds to prevail, and if she does, she’ll be the first actor to win drama and comedy Emmys for the same role on the same show. She submitted the episode “Hugs Can Be Deceiving,” in which we learn Crazy Eyes’ backstory as an adopted child and an outcast.
Ranked fourth with 12/1 odds is this category’s only other past champ, Christine Baranski (“The Good Wife“), whose previous win was for Best Comedy Supporting Actress for “Cybil” back in 1995. In all, she has been nominated 14 times. Will she finally get another turn at the Emmy podium? She submitted the episode “Loser Edit,” in which her character, attorney Diane Lockhart, stages a mock trial for a conservative client in an anti-gay discrimination case.
Trailing with 25/1 odds is Joanne Froggatt, nominated for the third time for playing maid Anna Bates in “Downton Abbey.” She won the Golden Globe for her performance back in January, but she has yet to win an Emmy. The TV academy considered her in “Episode 508,” in which Anna is arrested for the murder of the man who raped her.
Ranked last with 100/1 odds is Headey’s “Game of Thrones” co-star Emilia Clarke. She plays Daenerys Targaryen, who is in the midst of a long campaign to take the iron throne and rule Westeros. This is her second nomination for the role, following a bid in 2013, and in her episode submission, “The Dance of Dragons,” a blood-sport battle is interrupted by an insurrectionist attack; hope seems lost, but Daenerys is rescued by one of her dragons and flees the city.
Experts Emmy predictions: All 32 categories
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Photo: Lena Headey in “Game of Thrones.” Credit: Helen Sloan/HBO