For the past seven years, Christine Baranski has starred as legal eagle Diane Lockhart on CBS’s prestige drama series “The Good Wife.” She has contended every year for Best Drama Supporting Actress but has yet to prevail. With the show ending this season, it’s now or never for TV academy voters to finally give her that Emmy bookend to the Comedy Supporting Actress trophy she won way back in 1995 for “Cybill.”
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Baranski’s sheer number of nominations places her in a very small and prestigious group of women who have contended in this category. With her total of six (soon to be seven), Baranski sits in fourth place behind eight-time nominee Tyne Daly (she won once each for “Christy”  and “Chasing Amy” ); seven-time contender Nancy Marchand (four wins for “Lou Grant” in 1978, 1980, 1981 and 1982); and Betty Thomas who won one (1985) of her seven bids for “Hill Street Blues.”
Not only is Baranski overdue for an Emmy win in this category, she is also overdue at the Emmys overall. While she won on her first Emmy nomination for “Cybill,” she has lost 13 races in a row since, including three more for that laffer as well as for guesting on “Frasier” in 1999 and “The Big Bang Theory” in 2009, 2010 and last year. In both 2010 and 2015, she was a double nominee as she also contended for “The Good Wife.”
Despite her all-but-certain nomination for the final season of “The Good Wife” – all of Gold Derby’s Editors, Top 24 Users and Top 24 All Stars have Baranski in their predictions – numerous factors may keep her from finally winning.
Unlike Margulies, Baranski has never had a traditional “Emmy bait” episode to submit. Each of her past submissions highlights her signature subtle style of acting, a characteristic rarely acknowledged by the Emmys.
For this, her last lap in the Emmy derby for “The Good Wife”, she already has two potential submissions: “Taxed”, in which Diane argues a case regarding physician-assisted suicide; and “Restraint”, which features Diane adopting a legal stance on abortion that goes against her own personal convictions. Although compelling and featuring ample screen time, neither of the episodes contains the gravitas or scenery chewing requisite to win the award. With the series barreling toward its conclusion in the upcoming weeks, though, she may finally be given the bombastic material she needs to clinch a victory.
Baranski also faces stiff competition from actresses on more Emmy-friendly series. Uzo Aduba, last year’s winner for her performance in “Orange is the New Black”, is likely to return and got a big boost with a win at the SAG Awards. Both Lena Headey and Emilia Clarke from “Game of Thrones” are poised to return to the category and they’re fresh off of their show’s series win last year. Joanne Froggatt and 2012 winner Maggie Smith are strong possibilities for the final season of “Downton Abbey.” And Golden Globe champ Maura Tierney could reap her first bid for “The Affair.”
Howver, her lack of hardware for “The Good Wife” could be the key to victory. A campaign focusing on an overdue contender on their final bid for a seminal role can reap tremendous results. Just ask Jon Hamm.
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