2005: S. Epatha Merkerson, “Lackawanna Blues” [CORRECT]
2006: Helen Mirren, “Elizabeth I” [CORRECT]
2007: Helen Mirren, “Prime Suspect: Final Act” [CORRECT]
2008: Judi Dench, “Cranford: Masterpiece” [WRONG]
2009: Drew Barrymore, “Grey Gardens” [WRONG]
2010: Claire Danes, “Temple Grandin” [CORRECT]
2011: Kate Winslet, “Mildred Pierce” [CORRECT]
2012: Julianne Moore, “Game Change” [CORRECT]
And here’s the final cap on the longform acting categories: the coveted Best Actress category. The last three years have been easy wins that’s why it’s quite fun that we have some sort of a competition this year. But first, let’s give a moment to recognize those who were snubbed. Despite scoring in two other acting nods, Golden Globe nominee Sienna Miller was snubbed for her work in The Girl, as well as Rebecca Hall in Parade’s End. HBO wasn’t powerful enough to put the pair of Oscar nominated (and winning) actresses in Mary and Martha (Brenda Blethyn and Hilary Swank) as well.
Last year’s supporting actress winner Jessica Lange moves to the Lead category now after the sophomore season of American Horror Story: Asylum. While she wasn’t able to win any precursors earlier this year, she hasn’t skipped a beat by picking up nominations from the Golden Globes, SAGs, and the BFCA Critics Choice for TV Awards for her performance as Sister Jude.
Sigourney Weaver is due for any award for anything, so I thought this would have been the avenue to reward her. To be fair, she commanded the short lived series Political Animals and served as the show’s core base, and in any weak year, this would have been a sure winner. Unfortunately for her, this year has been anything but weak in this category.
Elisabeth Moss picked up a second nod for this year, thanks to her lead performance in Jane Campion’s Top of the Lake. This is the perfect consolation to Moss if voters want to reward her with an Emmy already after years of losses for playing Peggy on Mad Men. After all, she already earned a BFCA CCTV in the same category last July. It’s also a different performance from her usual nominated ones, so it shows her range and versatility as an actress.
Then we have Laura Linney. Prior to her 2011 loss to Melissa McCarthy, Linney actually has a perfect Emmy track record reaping in three wins in the past with two victories in this category for 2002’s Wild Iris and 2008’s John Adams. If anything, she’s very competitive here seeing she’s 2/2 for her. On the flip side, her only loss (in Comedy Lead Actress) is for the same role she’s contending now. So odds are, it’s really up in the air when it comes to her actual chances. One thing I’m certain of is that if anybody can pull that upset, it’s definitely her.
Lastly, we have Dame Helen Mirren. Like Linney, Mirren is a force to be reckoned with in this category, as she’s the most rewarded actress here with four wins in the past in 1996, 1999, 2006, and 2007 and having 10 nominations here altogether. With that said, one can count her out for this year as she’s clearly a filler nominee for an HBO movie that stars two big movie stars. If anything, she’s the only one we can safely count here.
I really have no idea on who will win here, so you can ask me and I’ll probably change my answer every other day. However, I’m convinced that all voters will not be watching the whole seasons of American Horror Story: Asylum and Top of the Lake, but it’s between Jessica Lange and Elisabeth Moss. The only deciding factor I have is that Lange was a tour de force by the start of the season while Moss’ better episodes come in the latter part of the series. That plus the fact that voters are probably aware that Lange has won for that horror show and they will continue to vote for her. The only thing on Moss’ favor is if they find her overdue and want to give her a win already. I’d say Lange has the upperhand, but never disregard Elisabeth Moss or a possible upset from Laura Linney here.
Prediction: Jessica Lange, “American Horror Story: Asylum”
Runner-Up: Elisabeth Moss, “Top of the Lake”
1. Jessica Lange, “American Horror Story: Asylum”
2. Elisabeth Moss, “Top of the Lake”
3. Laura Linney, “The Big C: Hereafter”
4. Sigourney Weaver, “Political Animals”
5. Helen Mirren, “Phil Spector”
To check out other Emmy predictions, you can check them here.
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