Viola Davis’ fourth consecutive Emmy nomination is not for her leading role on “How to Get Away With Murder,” but as Best Drama Guest Actress for her guest role on sister series “Scandal.” On March 1st of this year, we saw the two ABC dramas crossover in a two-hour event that was widely praised by fans of both shows. Hence, Davis is still nominated for playing the same character (Annalise Keating), just not for the show she was nominated for the last three years and even won for in 2015. If she wins, she’ll be the first guest actress to win for “Scandal,” which ended its seven-season run earlier this year.
Joining DAvis in this Emmy category are her on-screen mother Cicely Tyson (“How to Get Away With Murder”), Kelly Jenrette (“The Handmaid’s Tale”), Cherry Jones (“The Handmaid’s Tale”), Diana Rigg (“Game of Thrones”) and Samira Wiley (“The Handmaid’s Tale”).
Emmy voters have already awarded Davis for playing this character, so they could easily just check her off on name alone. She also just won her Oscar last year for her performance in “Fences” and will star in Steve McQueen’s “Widows” this November, which is already deemed an Oscar contender for 2019. The fact that she is nominated in this category at all despite being dropped as Best Drama Actress may be proof that Emmy voters still want to recognize her for playing Ms. Keating. Sometimes all you need to win is popularity, and Davis most certainly has significant industry support. She not only has the Triple Crown of Acting but just last year finally received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
If they happen to watch the submitted episodes, then Davis has the advantage of being in two of them since she’s the lead in Tyson’s submission (“I’m Going Away”). In her “Scandal” episode “Allow Me to Reintroduce Myself,” viewers get to see her character go head to head with Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) while trying to find a way to expose her class action in the Supreme Court with Pope’s help. Emotions run high when both characters are placed in a hair salon and reveal their true feelings about one another. In doing so, Davis gets to show off a range of emotions, which could easily impress voters. Tyson’s “HTGAWM” episode is also a brilliant showcase for Davis as her character juggles finding closure with past events in order to move on with taking care of her mother suffering from dementia.
Worth noting however is that while “Scandal” has been nominated twice in this category, in 2014 for Kate Burton and in 2015 for Khandi Alexander, it has not gone on to win. The guest actors on “Scandal” have had better luck, with Dan Bucatinsky (2013) and Joe Morton (2014) both having taken home prizes for the show. Her biggest obstacle will probably be the show itself since she is the sole nomination for “Scandal.”
The past has shown that you didn’t necessarily have to be in a Drama Series contender to win, an example being Allison Janney (“Masters of Sex,” 2014). But now that the rules are different and only one winner is checked off on the ballot, actors in Drama Series contenders are at an advantage as they could just ride along on a show’s sweep. Vote-splitting may take down one of the Drama Series contenders in this category, “The Handmaid’s Tale,” but Davis may face some vote-splitting of her own with Tyson.
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.