Patricia Arquette is on a hot streak, winning the Golden Globe, Critics’ Choice and Screen Actors Guild Award for her Showtime limited series “Escape at Dannemora.” For her transformative role as prison worker Joyce “Tilly” Mitchell, Arquette is sweeping the Best Limited Series/Movie Actress categories and could very well add an Emmy to her haul. Yet, with the Primetime Emmys being held in September, Arquette will need to hold onto her positive buzz, which could be an uphill battle.
Many were surprised when Arquette won the Golden Globe over odds-on favorite Amy Adams, who had earned stellar reviews for her raw performance in HBO’s “Sharp Objects.” The pair then tied at the Critics’ Choice Awards while Arquette won solo at the SAG Awards, another prize Gold Derby predictors were expecting Adams to win. While both Adams and Arquette displayed new layers of their talent as actresses, one factor that may have made a difference is timing for “Sharp Objects” vs. “Escape at Dannemora.” “Sharp Objects” was highly buzzed about when it aired during the summer, while “Escape at Dannemora” just finished in December, making it fresh in voters’ minds.
Timing is sometimes everything when it comes to the Best Limited Series/Movie Actress race at the Emmys. Since the advent of the SAG Awards in 1994, we have seen just two actresses win at the Golden Globes and SAG and then go on to win an Emmy: Halle Berry for 1999’s “Introducing Dorothy Dandridge” and Meryl Streep for 2003’s “Angels in America.”
There are a few other instances of actresses earning nominations and wins at these precursors in January and winning their Emmy many months later, including: Helen Mirren for 2006’s “Prime Suspect: The Final Act,” Jessica Lange for “American Horror Story: Coven,” which aired most of its episodes in 2013, and Frances McDormand for 2014’s “Olive Kitteridge.” Otherwise, the Limited Series/Movie Actress category is full of winners whose projects debuted in the spring and went on to win their Emmys only a few months later.
What may help Arquette get to the Emmy finish line, though, is the respect she has from her peers and the performance itself. She is already an Emmy winner for “Medium” on top of being an Oscar winner just a few years ago for “Boyhood,” and “Escape at Dannemora” shows Arquette in a way we haven’t really seen before. She gained 40 pounds to play Tilly, speaks with a thick regional accent, and is unapologetically sexual in a way that isn’t often depicted with people of her body type, as Arquette referenced in her Critics’ Choice speech. Not only that but she is playing a real person, and any avid awards watcher knows how these types of performances are valued.
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