If you take a peek at the predictions of Gold Derby’s Top 24 Users for Best Comedy Actress, you’ll see that Elle Fanning is thisclose to receiving an Emmy nomination for Hulu’s period dramedy “The Great.” This category has 86 ballot submissions, which means there will be six nominees (see how voting works), and Fanning comes in behind seven other leading ladies: Catherine O’Hara (“Schitt’s Creek”), Rachel Brosnahan (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”), Christina Applegate (“Dead to Me”), Linda Cardellini (“Dead to Me”), Pamela Adlon (“Better Things”), Issa Rae (“Insecure”) and Merritt Wever (“Run”). But I think we’re all underestimating Fanning’s Emmy chances. Below, see my Top 4 reasons why she’ll beat the odds and score a nomination on July 28.
1. Genre-bending performance
Emmy voters just can’t get enough of these types of roles that straddle the line between comedy and drama. Think recent category winners like Phoebe Waller-Bridge (“Fleabag”) and Rachel Brosnahan (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”). As Catherine the Great, the Empress of Russia, Fanning shows off her range by delivering one of the most dynamic performances of the year. Whether she’s weeping in a corner, laughing at her dimwitted husband (Nicholas Hoult), or plotting to take power from the Russian regime, this kind of character was tailor-made for awards.
2. She plays a real person, sort of
“The Great” bills itself as an “occasional” true story about Catherine the Great, as it bends the line between history and fantasy. There’s nothing awards voters love more than when actors portray real people, as evidenced by several recent champions in the limited series/movie categories: Michelle Williams as Gwen Verdon (“Fosse/Verdon”), Sarah Paulson as Marcia Clark (“The People v. O. J. Simpson”), Julianne Moore as Sarah Palin (“Game Change”), Jharrel Jerome as Korey Wise (“When They See Us”) and Courtney B. Vance as Johnnie Cochran (“The People v. O.J. Simpson”). This sort of thing is rarer in the comedy and drama races, but that’s mostly due to a lack of real-life stories being told in those particular categories. And hey, Olivia Colman also won an Oscar for playing a real person in “The Favourite,” which just so happened to be written by Tony McNamara, showrunner for “The Great.”
Fanning truly shines in the many scenes in which her character acts defiantly and breaks the rules. In fact, the entire premise of the show is built on defiance as Catherine seeks to overthrow her husband, Emperor Peter, and rule Russia herself. Every time she acquires a new member of her coup d’état team, Catherine’s sly smirk elicits cheers from the viewing audience — we’re all shouting “Huzzah!” from our couches. The last time TV viewers fell in love with a character this rebellious was June/Offred on “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and Elisabeth Moss took home an Emmy for it.
4. It’s time
The 22-year-old actress has been working steadily her entire life, but she’s never been recognized with a major industry award. Fanning did earn a SAG ensemble bid alongside the cast of “Trumbo” (2015) and managed to reap three Critics’ Choice nominations as Best Young Actor/Actress for “Somewhere” (2010), “Super 8” (2011) and “Ginger & Rosa” (2012). But an Emmy nomination would certainly be icing on the cake for this actress’ career-best performance as Catherine the Great.
Be sure to make your Emmy nominations predictions today so that Hollywood insiders can see how their shows and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions as often as you like until just before the nominees are announced on July 28. And join in the thrilling debate over the 2020 Emmy Awards taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our TV forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.