Gillian Anderson could double her career Emmy haul with wins for ‘The Great’ and ‘The First Lady’

At last year’s Emmys, Gillian Anderson became a two-time winner when she added a shiny new statuette for “The Crown” (Drama Supporting Actress) next to her 1997 trophy for “The X-Files” (Drama Actress). Now, the versatile performer could add two more Emmy Awards to her mantel thanks to the one-two punch of appearing on “The Great” (Comedy Guest Actress) and starring on “The First Lady” (Movie/Limited Actress).

On Hulu’s period comedy series, Anderson takes on the role of Joanna Elisabeth of Holstein-Gottorp in the second season, the mother of Elle Fanning‘s Catherine the Great. Joanna is a German socialite who specializes in arranging marriages, and she comes to Russia with “sinister intentions” after learning of her daughter’s coup attempt. However, things soon take a turn for the dramatic when she begins flirting with Catherine’s ex-husband, the ousted Emperor Peter (Nicholas Hoult).

Anderson appears on two episodes of “The Great” and has chosen to submit the second one, titled “Five Days,” for Emmy consideration. SPOILER ALERT: In that entry, Joanna and Peter keep their affair secret from Catherine, and then Joanna accidentally falls out the palace window to her death. “The Great” was nominated for two Emmys in 2020 — Best Comedy Writing (Tony McNamara) and Best Comedy Directing (Matt Shakman) — and is hoping for even more love this time around.

SEE Gillian Anderson: ‘I feel that I’ve been unbelievably and perpetually lucky in my career’ [Exclusive Video Interview]

As for Showtime’s biographical limited series, Anderson sinks her teeth into Eleanor Roosevelt alongside Viola Davis as Michelle Obama and Michelle Pfeiffer as Betty Ford. Directed by Susanne Bier, the 10-episode program switches back and forth between the three former First Ladies as we see their early years, their White House tenures and their post-political lives. Anderson’s portrayal of Roosevelt stands out in that she physically transforms into the American heroine with the help of prosthetics, false teeth and a stoic voice.

TV Insider‘s Matt Roush calls Anderson “vividly authentic” as Roosevelt, “an unyielding voice for the oppressed who’s wounded by her husband’s infidelity, seeking secret solace with a woman.” Her relationship with President Franklin D. Roosevelt (Kiefer Sutherland) is depicted as respectful, though not passionate, particularly as they both step out on the marriage — her with journalist Lorena Hickok (Lily Rabe) and him with Eleanor’s secretary Lucy Mercer Rutherfurd (Maria Dizzia).

SEE Lily Rabe on playing Eleanor Roosevelt’s companion in ‘The First Lady,’ dual roles on ‘American Horror Story’ [Exclusive Video Interview]

According to Gold Derby’s odds, Anderson is in third place to win Comedy Guest Actress for “The Great,” behind only Jane Lynch (“Only Murders in the Building”) and Laurie Metcalf (“Hacks”). As for Movie/Limited Actress, she rests just outside our Top 10, with the category’s front-runners being Amanda Seyfried (“The Dropout”) and Margaret Qualley (“Maid”).

In addition to Anderson’s prior two Emmy-winning roles as FBI Agent Dana Scully on “The X-Files” and UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on “The Crown,” she was also nominated for playing Lady Dedlock on Charles Dickens‘ “Bleak House.”

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