“Hey, dumb-dumbs at the TV academy, here’s your chance to make up for what you didn’t do last year,” Amanda Spears says at the top of the weekly Gold Derby video chat (watch above) about the latest episode of “The Leftovers.” HBO’s critically adored apocalyptic drama did not receive a single nomination for either of its first two seasons, but might have its best chance yet with the return to the series by actress Ann Dowd in this week’s episode titled “The Most Powerful Man in the World.” Amanda continues, “Oh my god, she’s back. Ann Dowd makes a grand reappearance in this episode, and thank God she is back, because it would not have been a season of ‘The Leftovers’ without her.”
Rob Licuria adds, “I have six words: Ann Dowd, Ann Dowd, Ann Dowd. She is back, people!” Although Justin Theroux dominates the episode as Kevin Garvey, gushing over Dowd dominates our chat not only because she gives a stellar performance, but because her return had been such a tightly-kept secret. Although Gold Derby can now confirm that HBO did indeed submit her for Emmy consideration in the Best Drama Guest Actress race, they did not include her in the list of their submissions acceptable for us to publish last month, nor is she even listed on the for-your-consideration DVD set that HBO mailed to Emmy voters last week.
Despite her limited role, Dowd has consistently been a standout on “The Leftovers,” with nominations from other organizations to show for it. Her character Patti Levin was silent for most of the first season, but she received a Satellite Award nomination for Best Television Supporting Actress, competing directly with performances from comedies and limited series. Patti died in the first season, so she appeared in the second season as a ghost in only four out of 10 episodes, yet she received a Critics’ Choice Award nomination for Best Drama Supporting Actress.
There is plenty of precedent for someone being nominated as a guest after having been consistently snubbed in the supporting race. The best template for Dowd is Elizabeth Mitchell on “Lost,” for which Damon Lindelof was also showrunner and co-creator. Mitchell was nominated only for the final season in 2010, which was her first time contending as a guest for the show, most notably having won our Gold Derby Award for Best Drama Supporting Actress in 2007. She reprised her role in a sort of alternate-reality afterlife in the final season — just like Dowd in “The Most Powerful Man in the World.”
Dowd is entering a category in which five of last year’s six nominated performances are no longer eligible; the holdout is Carrie Preston with the caveat that she reprised her “The Good Wife” role this season on its spinoff “The Good Fight.” Dowd has a lot in common with last year’s winner Margo Martindale, who contends in the supporting category for “The Americans” this year. Both first appeared on screen in the late 1980s and have worked steadily as character actresses since, finally gaining major recognition this decade. For Martindale, it was Emmy and Critics’ Choice wins as Best Drama Supporting Actress in 2011 for “Justified;” for Dowd, it was a National Board of Review win and Critics’ Choice nomination as Best Supporting Actress for the 2012 theatrical film “Compliance.” Each now has a role on what is arguably the most acclaimed drama on television.
Martindale had extra goodwill last year from pulling double duty as a supporting actress on another acclaimed drama in “The Good Wife;” Dowd is pulling double duty this year as a supporting actress on the acclaimed drama “The Handmaid’s Tale.” Rob sums up the situation, “This is it. They have to nominate her! If ‘Leftovers’ gets nothing else. Please. Nominate. Ann Dowd.”
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