That noise you hear is the Best Drama Actress Emmy category emptying out this year. Of last year’s six nominees, only one, “Yellowjackets” star Melanie Lynskey, is back in the running. Reigning champ Zendaya (“Euphoria”) and Reese Witherspoon (“The Morning Show”) are missing this cycle, while Laura Linney (“Ozark”) and “Killing Eve” duo Jodie Comer and Sandra Oh competed for the final time for their concluded shows. Assuming Lynskey is safely in — she’s in first in the odds — there are five spots up for grabs. Could she have some company this year from her co-stars Juliette Lewis and Tawny Cypress? If they join Lynskey in the lineup, it’ll mark the first time one show has yielded three nominees in the category in a single year.
Eleven shows have produced two nominees, including “Killing Eve” (Comer and Oh), “Six Feet Under” (Frances Conroy and Rachel Griffiths), “The Sopranos” (Edie Falco and Lorraine Bracco), “ER” (Julianna Margulies and Sherry Stringfield) and “Sisters” (Sela Ward and Swoosie Kurtz). Double nominations for a show were very common in the ’80s, thanks to “Cagney & Lacey’s Tyne Daly and Sharon Gless, who were nominated six years in a row, and “L.A. Law’s” Susan Dey and Jill Eikenberry, who reaped three consecutive bids. Others were “Dallas” (Barbara Bel Geddes and Linda Gray), “Hill Street Blues” (Barbara Babcock and Veronica Hamel), “Family” (Kristy McNichol and Sada Thompson) and “The Rockford Files” (Lauren Bacall and Mariette Hartley) after the category was standardized to five slots.
There was a 17-year drought of co-star nominees between “Six Feet Under” in 2002 and “Killing Eve’s” first of three double bids in 2019. Now is it time to cross the threshold of triple noms? “Yellowjackets” is certainly primed to break the glass ceiling as a rare series with an all-female main cast. Because of its dual timelines, the Showtime drama initially campaigned the adult cast members — Lynskey, Lewis, Cypress and Christina Ricci — in lead and their characters’ teen counterparts — Sophie Nélisse, Sophie Thatcher, Jasmin Savoy Brown and Sammi Hanratty, respectively — in supporting last year. Ricci later opted to run in supporting, and she and Lynskey earned the only acting nominations for the first season.
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Ricci is expected to receive another nomination in supporting, but at the moment, Lewis and Cypress are outside the drama actress top six in eighth and 13th place, respectively. You can expect both to move up once Season 2 premieres on March 26. Snagging three spots will be a tall order for “Yellowjackets,” especially with the restricted ballot in play now, but shows often see an increase in their nomination hauls for a sophomore installment as voters get caught up. “Yellowjackets'” first season was a word-of-mouth hit and earned seven nominations, including drama series and double writing bids. And as an established series, it likely won’t get lost in the flood of spring premieres (though it will air opposite the final season of “Succession”) as everyone tries to get a piece of recency bias before the May 31 eligibility deadline.
Plus, besides Lynskey, many of the contenders feel like they could go either way. Bella Ramsey, who’s in fourth place, has the most heat right now off the back of the last two episodes of the first season of “The Last of Us.” Imelda Staunton is in second, but Season 5 of “The Crown” was its weakest, critically and buzz-wise, yet. In between them in third is “House of the Dragon’s” Emma D’Arcy, but Emmy voters aren’t very keen on “Game of Thrones” actors unless you’re Peter Dinklage. In fifth is former champ Elisabeth Moss (“The Handmaid’s Tale”), who has been snubbed before. Sharon Horgan, a past nominee in writing for “Catastrophe,” rounds out the top six for “Bad Sisters.”
Even if “Yellowjackets” doesn’t bag three spots, there’s a good chance it can pull two. And maybe they can go three for Season 3?
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