Why Fiona Shaw could pull an Ann Dowd at the Emmys

Fiona Shaw should probably already start preparing an Emmy Award speech. Why? Because the actress, who nabbed nominations in Best Comedy Guest Actress (“Fleabag”) and Best Drama Supporting Actress (“Killing Eve”), could pull off what Ann Dowd managed to do two years ago, which is win a supporting race with the help of an extra boost from a guest nom. Dowd was nominated in Best Drama Guest Actress (“The Leftovers”) and Best Drama Supporting Actress (“The Handmaid’s Tale”), and ended up taking home the latter for her turn as the spine-chilling Aunt Lydia.

Shaw is a respected veteran actress who has tons of credits under her belt, including the “Harry Potter” films and “True Blood,” but has yet to receive her proper due — in the United States. Most known for her theater work, the British actress has bagged two Olivier Awards and one Drama Desk Award, as well as a Tony Award nom in 2003 for the play “Medea,” which happened to be her first breakthrough at an American awards show. Now with two Emmy bids — the first two in her career — her profile has been upped in the U.S. And who knows? We could even see her pop up at other American award shows early next year, such as the Golden Globe or Critics’ Choice Awards. Dowd, too, despite receiving previous traction for her 2012 movie “Compliance,” had to wait until 2017 to finally land her maiden nomination at a big industry award.

SEE Jodie Comer (‘Killing Eve’) 2019 Emmy Awards episode revealed for Best Drama Actress (Exclusive)

But Shaw is nominated for “Killing Eve” and “Fleabag,” so why is it more likely that she wins for the former rather than the latter?  It’s not. But bear in mind that Shaw has internal competition in the comedy guest race with her co-star Kristin Scott Thomas, not to mention “Killing Eve’s” leading lady Sandra Oh, who’s competing for “Saturday Night Live.” Plus, when actors receive dual noms, they’re often rewarded for their more prominent role (see: Dowd for “Handmaid’s” in lieu of “The Leftovers”). Shaw is great as the counselor in “Fleabag,” but that role is naturally rather limited in screen time compared to Carolyn Martens on “Killing Eve,” who is the head of Russian desk at MI6.

Both shows did incredibly well in terms of nominations, increasing significantly from their Season 1 totals: “Fleabag” rose from zero to 11; “Killing Eve,” two to nine. But unlike in comedy guest actress, Shaw isn’t the one facing internal competition in drama supporting actress, as that applies to the four nominated “Game of Thrones” ladies, Gwendoline Christie, Lena Headey, Sophie Turner and Maisie Williams. In the case of a vote-split — entirely possible since they all have factors working in their favor — either Julia Garner (“Ozark”) or Shaw would be the beneficiary. That’s when Shaw’s guest nom could tip the scale in her favor, since voters who don’t vote for her in comedy guest actress, might check her off here as a consolation.

That’s not to say that the strength of “Killing Eve” wouldn’t get her across the finish line as well, as the show netted not only an impressive three acting nominations — the other two being for Jodie Comer and Oh in Best Drama Actress — but was also shortlisted in the writing, directing and series categories. Besides, Shaw just recently won the Best Supporting Actress BAFTA Award for “Killing Eve.” And although that was for her performance in the first season, it certainly gives her a boost on her path to the Emmys.

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