Per Emmy tradition, all of the guest acting nominees had to designate their episode submissions on the initial nominations ballot, so we already know all of the entries for Best Drama Guest Actress. (Conversely, the lead and supporting contenders choose their installments after nominations.) The 2021 Emmy nominees for this category are Alexis Bledel (“The Handmaid’s Tale”), Claire Foy (“The Crown”), Mckenna Grace (“The Handmaid’s Tale”), Sophie Okonedo (“Ratched”) and Phylicia Rashad (“This Is Us”). Scroll down to see which episodes the Emmy voters will be watching to judge the nominees’ performances.
Bledel’s submission for “The Handmaid’s Tale” is “Testimony,” which streamed June 2 on Hulu as the eighth episode of Season 4. She portrays Emily, a former handmaid who now lives as a free woman in Canada. When a former Martha comes to Emily to ask for forgiveness, she turns her down, wanting nothing to do with her; the woman then commits suicide. This marks Bledel’s fourth career Emmy nomination, all for “The Handmaid’s Tale.” She previously won this category in 2017.
Foy’s submission for “The Crown” is “48:1,” which streamed November 15 on Netflix as the eighth episode of Season 4. She returns as Elizabeth in a flashback to her 21st birthday in 1947, in which the then-princess expresses to the Commonwealth via radio how she will dedicate her life to their service. This marks Foy’s third career Emmy nomination after previously contending in the lead category twice for “The Crown,” winning in 2018.
Grace’s submission for “The Handmaid’s Tale” is “Pigs,” which streamed April 27 on Hulu as the first episode of Season 4. She takes on the role of Esther Keyes, the teenage wife of a Commander, who houses several handmaids after they escape from Gilead. Esther and June (Elisabeth Moss) bond over their shared desire to seek vengeance on any man who sexually assaults a woman. This marks Grace’s first career Emmy nomination.
Okonedo’s submission for “Ratched” is “The Dance,” which streamed September 18 on Netflix as the fifth episode of Season 1. She plays a new patient at Lucia State Hospital named Charlotte Wells, who’s treated for multiple personality disorder. When Dr. Hanover (Jon Jon Briones) hypnotizes Charlotte to find the source of her trauma, he discovers she was abducted and tortured by multiple men. This marks Okonedo’s first career Emmy nomination.
Rashad’s submission for “This Is Us” is “I’ve Got This,” which aired March 16 on NBC as the 10th episode of Season 5. She’s back as Carol Clarke, the judgmental mother of Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson), who overstays her welcome at the Pearson home. To make matters worse, Beth learns that her daughter told Carol about her new relationship but kept it secret from Beth. This marks Rashad’s sixth career Emmy nomination after “The Cosby Show” (1985, ’86), “A Raisin in the Sun” (2008) and two previous bids for “This Is Us” (2019, ’20).
For a complete list of all Emmys 2021 episode submissions announced so far for lead and supporting, join our special discussion in the Gold Derby forums. Television Academy voters are asked to watch each of the episodes submitted for that category before marking their ballots.
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