At Saturday’s Creative Arts Emmy Awards, Samira Wiley (“The Handmaid’s Tale”) pulled off an upset and won Best Drama Guest Actress, becoming the youngest actress to win in this category. She was in the upset position according to our combined Gold Derby odds, as Diana Rigg (“Game of Thrones”) was the heavy favorite to win. Wiley was up against two of her co-stars from “Handmaid’s,” Kelly Jenrette and Cherry Jones, but was surprisingly able to overcome vote-splitting. What does this mean for Yvonne Strahovski’s chances in Drama Supporting Actress, as she’s also up against two co-stars, Alexis Bledel and Ann Dowd?
Next to her co-stars and Rigg, Wiley was also up against Viola Davis (“Scandal”) and Cicely Tyson (“How to Get Away With Murder”). Hence, not only did she overcome vote-splitting, but beat previous Emmy winners Davis, Jones, Rigg, and Tyson, which again indicates passion for “Handmaid’s” in the acting branch. It was last year when Wiley earned her first Emmy nomination, for the same role, but in Best Drama Supporting Actress, where she ended up losing to co-star Dowd.
By prevailing last year, Bledel broke a trend in Best Drama Guest Actress, becoming the youngest to win since the category had undergone changes in 1989. You had to go back to 1996 to Amanda Plummer (“The Outer Limits”) in order to find a winner under the age of 40, which is why Bledel’s victory was so remarkable. After she won, “Handmaid’s” continued to dominate in the acting categories, with Elisabeth Moss taking home Best Drama Actress and Dowd giving us the biggest shocker of the night in Best Drama Supporting Actress. The show has now never lost an acting category and Strahovski could her category following a win for the show in Guest Actress – much like Dowd last year.
But why Strahovski and not Bledel or Dowd? Because the Creative Arts started a trend of spreading the wealth. Ron Cephas Jones (“This Is Us”) for instance was able to prevail in Best Drama Guest Actor over reigning champ Gerald McRaney, perhaps because he lost to John Lithgow (“The Crown”) last year in supporting and had leftover goodwill. And Wiley’s win this year could, among many other things, be a make-up prize for her loss last year. With Bledel and Dowd already having hardware for this show, Strahovski could win if voters want to spread the wealth.
Not to mention, Strahovski was an absolute scene-stealer in the second season of “Handmaid’s.” Serena Joy is not a character that one would usually feel sorry for, as she’s one of the main reasons why Gilead even came to fruition. However, especially over the course of the second season, Strahovski showed us that at her core, Serena wants nothing more than to be a mother. It’s her layered and nuanced performance that evoked sympathy for her character by the end of the second season. While Bledel and Dowd were nothing short of amazing, they didn’t have the screen time nor the buzz that Strahovski had. Like Wiley in Guest, she seems to be the standout among the three “Handmaid’s” actresses, which may prevent her from splitting them. Her snub last year and nomination this year only further support that.
We know there’s passion for “Handmaid’s Tale” in the acting branch, only solidified by Wiley’s win, but is it enough to tip Strahovski over the edge? Or will they give it to a non-“Handmaid’s” actress – Millie Bobby Brown (“Stranger Things”), Lena Headey (“Game of Thrones”), Vanessa Kirby (“The Crown”) or Thandie Newton (“Westworld”)?
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 winners are announced on September 17. Be sure to also predict winners for the Creative Arts ceremonies slated for September 8 and 9. And join in the fun debate over the 2018 Emmy taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our television forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.