Elisabeth Moss (“The Handmaid’s Tale”) is widely predicted to earn a repeat Emmy for Best Drama Actress, but Gold Derby contributor Amanda Spears is betting on another Elizabeth to usurp the throne. “I decided that if Claire Foy won that second SAG Award, I would predict her to win the Emmy,” she says. Foy did pull off that SAG victory earlier this year, so Spears is giving the edge to the star of “The Crown” to prevail at the Emmys for playing a young Queen Elizabeth II. Spears recently joined me and our fellow Gold Derby contributors Charles Bright and Tom O’Brien to debate the category. Watch our slugfest above.
Though Foy has won two SAG prizes for the Netflix drama, she has yet to prevail at the Emmys. Conversely, Moss went on a winning streak for the first season of “Handmaid’s,” snagging the Emmy and winning awards at the Golden Globes and Critics Choice Awards a few months later, but she came up short with the guild. Now both of them face off against previous Drama Actress victor Tatiana Maslany (“Orphan Black”) and prior Emmy contenders Sandra Oh (“Killing Eve”), Keri Russell (“The Americans”) and Evan Rachel Wood (“Westworld”).
In winning that second SAG trophy, Foy “took out Elisabeth Moss in an award that was decided by actors,” Bright points out. That’s crucial because the Emmy is also being decided by industry actors. “The Handmaid’s Tale” is expected to take Best Drama Series for the second year in a row, which can only help Moss’s chances. But “this past season was the last season [Foy’s] going to be playing Elizabeth II, so better vote for her now or else you’re not going to be able to.”
On the other hand, Bright is seriously considering going all-in on Oh, who became the first Asian actress to be nominated in this category and thus would be the first Asian actress to win it. Oh lost five supporting bids for “Grey’s Anatomy” from 2005-2009, so she “has a lot of goodwill,” Bright explains, not just because “Killing Eve” “was well received,” but because of the history that would be made by her winning. “I think she could be a sleeper.”
Adding to the confusion is Maslany, who won this award in 2016 but took 2017 off when her show didn’t air in time for Emmy eligibility, so she’s technically a defending champion just like Moss. “She just does such an amazing job in those 11 or 12 characters she [plays],” says O’Brien. “I don’t want to discount her chances.” But he concedes that the race “is probably between Foy and Moss,” and he gives a slight edge to Moss.
As for myself, I’m wondering if Russell could follow her previous two bids (2016 and 2017) with an overdue a win for the final season of “The Americans.” “There might be people who are going to check off both her and [her co-star] Matthew Rhys,” I believe, and Rhys is currently the front-runner for Best Drama Actor, so they could both be buoyed by final-season sentiment for the spy drama.
And perhaps we’ll even see an upset by Wood, who’s currently ranked sixth on our racetrack with odds of 80/1, but “Westworld” earned five acting nominations this year, which indicates just how popular it still is with the actors branch of the TV academy. Could this be the one true six-way race on Emmy night?
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