Emmy nominee profile: Marcia Gay Harden (‘The Morning Show’) is in the hot seat

With an Oscar (Best Supporting Actress, “Pollock,” 2001) and a Tony (Best Actress in a Play, “God of Carnage,” 2009) under her belt, Marcia Gay Harden only needs an Emmy in order to accomplish the Triple Crown of Acting. Along with Judi Dench, Mercedes Ruehl, and Catherine Zeta-Jones, she is one of four living actresses who needs an Emmy to complete the hat trick, and she has now been given her third shot at nabbing the top TV prize. If she succeeds on her 2022 Best Drama Guest Actress nomination for “The Morning Show,” she will be the 16th woman to collect all three major acting awards and the eighth to do so in under 25 years.

To date, Harden has played reporter Maggie Brener in nine episodes of “The Morning Show” across its two seasons. This nomination came for her latest appearance in “Testimony,” which centers on the release of Brener’s tell-all book about the titular news program’s behind-the-scenes drama. During a promotional interview with TMS co-host Bradley Jackson (Reese Witherspoon), Brener is faced with the unexpected challenge of having to defend her particularly scathing criticism of Jackson’s scandal-afflicted work partner, Alex Levy (Jennifer Aniston), as Jackson turns the tables and questions the writer’s own ethics.

Harden was previously included in the 2007 female drama guest lineup for her performance in an eighth-season episode of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.” She was bested in that case by another SVU performer, Leslie Caron. She earned her second bid for her supporting turn in the 2009 telefilm “The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler” but lost on that outing to Shohreh Aghdashloo (“House of Saddam”). Five years earlier, she and Aghdashloo had vied for the same Best Supporting Actress Oscar as respective “Mystic River” and “House of Sand and Fog” cast members, though they both lost that contest to Renee Zellweger (“Cold Mountain”).

Harden made her TV debut in a 1987 episode of “CBS Summer Playhouse.” Over the next 35 years she appeared in a guest or recurring capacity on such dramas as “Chicago Hope,” “Homicide: Life on the Street,” “The Newsroom,” and “How to Get Away with Murder.” She has also played regular roles on “Damages,” “Trophy Wife,” and “Code Black.”

The other two “Morning Show” performers in the running for Emmys this year are Witherspoon (lead) and 2020 champ Billy Crudup (supporting). Harden’s competition includes “Succession” guests Hope Davis, Sanaa Lathan, and Harriet Walter, as well as Martha Kelly (“Euphoria”) and Lee Yoo-mi (“Squid Game”). Davis and Walter are the only other past nominees in the bunch, with the former having previously earned notices in other categories for “In Treatment” (2009) and “The Special Relationship” (2010). Walter was first recognized for her “Succession” role in 2020 and is concurrently vying for this year’s Best Comedy Guest Actress award for appearing on “Ted Lasso.”

This article is a part of Gold Derby’s “Emmy nominee profile” series spotlighting the 2022 acting contenders.

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