Best Drama Actress is one of the most competitive Emmy categories this year, and it could be especially rare depending on who makes the cut. It’s possible that all of the nominees will come from shows up for Best Drama Series. This has happened only three times before: 1980, 1986 and 1987. As of this writing our racetrack odds for Drama Actress and Drama Series don’t line up that way. But it would only take one or two surprises to bring the two categories into alignment.
The projected Drama Series nominees based on our odds are “The Americans,” “The Crown,” “Game of Thrones,” “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Stranger Things,” “This Is Us” and “Westworld.” Those seven have been the consensus picks since our predictions center opened this past spring, and six of those series had lead actresses in our predicted Drama Actress lineup up until late June.
Elisabeth Moss is the defending champ and is poised to take home another pair of Emmys in September for acting in and producing “The Handmaid’s Tale.” She’s ranked first with 3/1 odds. Her closest competition appears to be two-time reigning SAG champ Claire Foy, who is ranked second with 4/1 odds for her final season on “The Crown.”
Keri Russell is a likely nominee for the final season of “The Americans” with 4/1 odds, while “Westworld” star Evan Rachel Wood is expected to pick up a second consecutive bid with 13/2 odds. “This Is Us” matriarch Mandy Moore is ranked fifth with 17/2 odds; this would be the first nomination for the singer-turned-actress.
After earning three nominations for Drama Supporting Actress for “Game of Thrones” Emilia Clarke is looking to earn her first bid as a leading lady. She rounded out our top six until recently, but she has since fallen to seventh place with 33/1 odds.
Shaking up the Drama Actress category is Sandra Oh, who made her return to series television this past spring in BBC America’s “Killing Eve.” The show was a critical and ratings success. It earned five TCA nominations including acting bids for Oh and co-lead Jodie Comer.
Oh recently rose to sixth place with 11/1 odds. She’s already a five-time nominee for her supporting turn on “Grey’s Anatomy,” but this would be her first bid as a lead. She would also be the first Asian actress nominated in the category. Co-star Comer is a long shot, ranked ninth with 100/1 odds.
The series could be a player in the top category — it’s ranked eighth for Best Drama Series with 50/1 odds. So if “Killing Eve” and its star Oh both make the cut, or if Clarke earns that Drama Actress nom like we previously thought, then we’ll see the first alignment of Drama Series and Drama Actress in 31 years.
In 1980 there were three shows represented among the five nominees for Best Drama Actress: “Dallas” (Barbara Bel Geddes, who won), “The Rockford Files” (Lauren Bacall and Mariette Hartley) and “Family” (Kristy McNichol and Sada Thompson). All three shows were up for Best Drama Series, but lost to “Lou Grant.”
In 1986 the Drama Actress nominees were from “Murder, She Wrote” (Angela Lansbury), “Moonlighting” (Cybil Shepherd), “St. Elsewhere” (Alfre Woodard) and “Cagney and Lacey” (Tyne Daly and winner Sharon Gless). Those four shows also contended for Best Drama Series against “Hill Street Blues,” with “Cagney and Lacey” taking the top prize.
In 1987 Gless, Daly and Lansbury returned to the Drama Actress lineup, while Shepherd and Woodard were replaced by “L.A. Law” stars Susan Dey and Jill Eikenberry. “Murder,” “Cagney,” and “Law” were nominated for Best Drama against “Moonlighting” and “St. Elsewhere.” This time “L.A. Law” got the better of “Cagney and Lacey” for the top prize, though Gless did achieve a repeat victory in the acting race.
Be sure to make your Emmy predictions today so that Hollywood insiders can see how their TV shows and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions as often as you like until just before nominees are announced on July 12. And join in the fun debate over the 2018 Emmys taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our television forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.