Emmy Awards: Starz primed for breakthrough with ‘Outlander,’ ‘The Dresser’ …

Starz earned its first Emmy nomination in 2008 for Best Documentary or Nonfiction Special for “The Pixar Story.” Since then, the paycaster has amassed a total of 30 nominations including bids for Best Miniseries for both “The Pillars of the Earth” (2008) and “The White Queen” (2014). It has won five craft awards – sound editing for both “The Pillars of the Earth” and the series “Black Sails” (2014), which also wonSpecial Visual Effects in a Supporting Role and both Main Title Theme Music and Main Title Design for the first season of “Da Vinci’s Demons” (2013).

However, only one performance has merited an Emmy nomination — “12 Years a Slave” star Chiwetel Ejiofor in the 2014 limited series “Dancing on the Edge” — and no regular series has reaped a program bid. But this year, Starz has a strong slate of contenders in top categories.

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The story of a time-traveling nurse from the 1940s earned 3 Golden Globe nominations earlier this year.

Caitriona Balfe: This Golden Globe contender delivered a much buzzed-about performance in “Faith,” an episode in which her character, Claire, suffers a miscarriage. Eight of our experts are predicting her to reap an Emmy bid in Best Drama Actress.

Tobias Menzies: He was nominated in the competitive catch-all supporting actor category at the Globes. He has dual roles as both Claire’s husband Frank and her nemesis Black Jack Randall. Playing multiple roles proved the key to Tatiana Maslany (“Orphan Black”) scoring a nomination last year. Two of our experts expect him to be nominated.

Sam Heughan: Snubbed at the Globes, he will have to overcome stiff competition in this highly competitive category. He he has a vote from just one expert.

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The Dresser
This telefilm, based on Ronald Harwood‘s Tony-winning 1982 play, recounts the relationship between an aging theater star (Anthony Hopkins) and his loyal assistant (Ian McKellen). Six of our experts are predicting both will score nominations and two more are predicting McKellen alone will score a nomination.

Anthony Hopkins: A two-time Emmy winner in this category — “The Lindbergh Kidnapping Case” (1976) and “The Bunker” (1981)  — he also contended here for “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” (1982) and in supporting for the miniseries “Great Expectations” (1989).

Ian McKellen: He recently scored a BAFTA TV Award nomination in the Supporting Actor category for this role. He has lost all six of his previous Emmy bids (for supporting roles in the miniseries “And the Band Played On” (1993) and “Rasputin” (1996), guesting on the comedy series “Extras” (2007) and starring in the telefilm “King Lear” (2009) and the miniseries “The Prisoner” (2010).

Emily Watson: Plays Hopkins wife, Her Ladyship. Watson is a past two-time Oscar nominee (Best Actress “Breaking the Waves” 1996 and “Hilary and Jackie” 1998). One expert is predicting she will score her first Emmy nomination.

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Blunt Talk
A comedy about a British talk show host living large in Los Angeles.

Patrick Stewart: He earned a Golden Globe nomination earlier this year for his work as the cantankerous Walter Blunt. He has reaped three Emmy bids for his lead and supporting roles in the telefilms “Moby Dick” (1998) and “Hamlet” (2010) respectively as well as for guesting on “Extras” (2006). He has the backing of one expert.

Jacki Weaver: This two-time Oscar nominee — Animal Kingdom” (2011) and “Silver Linings Playbook” (2013) — plays Rosalie Winter, the beleaguered executive producer of Blunt’s television show.

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The Girlfriend Experience
This limited series is inspired by the Steve Soderbergh 2009 film of the same name about the secret life of an escort.

Riley Keough: The daughter of Lisa Marie Presley and granddaughter of Elvis Presley had a great 2015 with this starring role and a featured one “Mad Max: Fury Road.” She has the vote of one expert.

Flesh and Bone
This limited series is set in the rarefied world of ballet.

Sarah Hay: The classically trained ballerina reaped both Golden Globe and Critics Choice nominations for her performance as the newcomer in a competitive company.

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