This year’s Emmy race for Best Drama Actress features two former winners — Viola Davis (“How to Get Away with Murder,” 2015) and Claire Danes (“Homeland,” 2012 and 2013) — facing off against Taraji P. Henson (“Empire”), Tatiana Maslany (“Orphan Black”), Keri Russell (“The Americans”) and Robin Wright (“House of Cards”). After watching our editors’ slugfest on this race above, you can find links below to each contender’s episode analysis where we dive into their Emmy pros and cons.
Nominated for all five seasons of “Homeland” so far, Danes is looking for a third victory as Carrie Mathison for her episode submission, titled “Super Powers.” A win would vault her into the company of Edie Falco (“The Sopranos”), Michael Learned (“The Waltons”), Barbara Bain (“Mission: Impossible”) and Kathy Baker (“Picket Fences”) as winners of this award three times as the same character, all second to Tyne Daly who won four times for “Cagney & Lacey.” READ EPISODE ANALYSIS
Davis has chosen the penultimate episode of this season, “There’s My Baby,” as her submission to Emmy Awards voters. Davis plays Annalise Keating, a law professor and Criminal Defense Attorney at Middleton University on the ABC drama. Following on from her historic win last year, she has a great chance to win back-to-back trophies if she can fight off the fierce competition in this race. READ EPISODE ANALYSIS
After scoring her second consecutive bid for “Empire,” is Henson poised to win her first Emmy with the episode “Rise by Sin?” This reigning Golden Globe champ plays Cookie Lyon on the Fox series, the fresh-out-of-prison ex-wife of a hip hop mogul (Terrence Howard) battling his three sons for control of his company, Empire Entertainment. READ EPISODE ANALYSIS
Maslany has picked up her second consecutive Emmy nomination for her role, er roles, on BBC America’s hit series “Orphan Black.” Maslany plays 10+ clones, including Sarah, Rachel, Cosima, Helena, Beth, Krystal and Alison. Though she came up short in last year’s race, she’s looking for this year to be different with the help of her submitted episode “The Antisocialism of Sex.” READ EPISODE ANALYSIS
After 25 years on television, Russell earned her first Emmy nomination this year for her role as Elizabeth Jennings, a covert KGB spy living in America in the early 1980s, on “The Americans.” Russell is nominated alongside her on-screen husband (and off-screen partner) Matthew Rhys and both have submitted one of the highlight episodes of season four, “The Magic of David Copperfield V.” READ EPISODE ANALYSIS
With her nomination this year, Wright has earned her fourth consecutive Emmy bid for playing Claire Underwood on “House of Cards.” While she has yet to win an Emmy, she did take home a Golden Globe for the role in 2014. For this year’s race, Wright submitted to Emmy judges the episode “Chapter 49,” the 10th episode of the Netflix series’s fourth season. READ EPISODE ANALYSIS
Be sure to make your Emmy predictions right here. You’ll compete to win our contest prizes for best picks — $500 (first place), $300 (second place) and $200 (third place) in Amazon gift certificates — a place of honor on our leaderboard and a starring role in next year’s Top 24 Users (the two dozen folks who do the best predicting this year’s Emmys). Be sure to read our contest rules.