ANALYSIS: Emmy Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series 2011   Leave a comment

*Nominee pictures were taken from their submitted episodes. :)

The nominees are:

• Cara Buono, “Mad Men” (Chinese Wall)
• Joan Cusack, “Shameless” (Frank Gallagher: Loving Husband, Devoted Father)
• Loretta Devine, “Grey’s Anatomy” (This Is How We Do It)
• Randee Heller, “Mad Men” (The Beautiful Girls)
• Mary McDonnell, “The Closer” (Help Wanted)
• Julia Stiles, “Dexter” (In the Beginning)
• Alfre Woodard, “True Blood” (Night of the Sun)

What a breath of fresh air without the Law and Order: SVU actresses clumping this category. Too bad though because this is a strong year for the female guest actors on the show as proven by Debra Messing, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Elizabeth Mitchell, and Joan Cusack. Other notable snubs include past Emmy nominated performance of Ellen Burstyn in “Big Love” and Candice Bergen in “House.”

Cara Buono is one of the two surprising guest nods of Mad Men this season. In her tape, she has natural chemistry with Jon Hamm, and you’ll even feel that she’s the leading lady of the show. However, her overall work is subtle and wouldn’t fare well against the showy performances of the other nominees. It wouldn’t help as well that tapes were edited down because she did some great stuff on Heller’s tape but they weren’t in any scenes together. Between two eligible guest spots this season, Joan Cusack gets her first Primetime Emmy nomination for Shameless. This role is great on paper, and while Cusack actually delivered, it feels so short. I think editing down the tapes will work for her because she gets the C story of the episode. I must say, though, that she’s enjoyable in all of her scenes. Another beneficiary of the edited tapes is Loretta Devine who finally got recognized for her work in Grey’s Anatomy. She gets a measly five minute of the total 43-minute screentime of the episode, but she totally was very effective that I won’t count her out for a win. The surprise nomination is Randee Heller who was very funny in her scenes and provides the needed comedic relief of the episode. Although she gets to be MIA in the middle of the episode, she was very memorable in her episode. I just don’t see it as a winning episode for her. In true late Emmy fashion, Mary McDonnell receives her nomination in this category one year later for her performance in The Closer. It was a fun episode of The Closer, but like Buono, there’s not much that she did in the episode but to ask Sedgwick questions and walk. This is a bad case of edited scenes because most of the time, she’s just staring or walking. This won’t translate to a victory for her but it’s a nice nomination for her. Julia Stiles got a Globe nomination this year for the role of Lumen Pierce in Dexter. This benefits her more if this is judged on a season-wise performance, but luckily, she submitted a tape with a lot of screentime and lots of impact in it. Lastly, Alfre Woodard  gets in for a three minute performance, and while she’s good in it, voters might deem it too short against the other nominated performance.


This is really an up in the air category among all the four guest acting categories. Unlike before where it’s always safe to root for the Law and Order woman, there is no one who made it this year. I’m counting both the Mad Men women out, as well as Mary McDonnell, and Alfre Woodard. This is a three way race among Joan Cusack, Loretta Devine, and Julia Stiles and I won’t be shocked if any of the three win. I’m choosing Joan Cusack for the win though.

Tape rankings:

  1. Loretta Devine
  2. Joan Cusack
  3. Julia Stiles
  4. Randee Heller
  5. Mary McDonnell
  6. Cara Buono
  7. Alfre Woodard

 Prediction rankings:

1. Joan Cusack, “Shameless” (Frank Gallagher: Loving Husband, Devoted Father)

2. Loretta Devine, “Grey’s Anatomy” (This Is How We Do It)

3. Julia Stiles, “Dexter” (In the Beginning)

4. Randee Heller, “Mad Men” (The Beautiful Girls)

5. Alfre Woodard, “True Blood” (Night of the Sun)

6. Cara Buono, “Mad Men” (Chinese Wall)

7. Mary McDonnell, “The Closer” (Help Wanted)

What are your thoughts? 🙂


Posted August 20, 2011 by Nicol Latayan in Awards, TV

Tagged with , , ,

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