Twenty or thirty years ago it a lot was easier to pinpoint specific Emmy nominees across television that it is today, because now we have hundreds of programs with possible candidates and so many different types of genres. We’re giving today our personal choices for Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, and just from our list alone we have two crime-oriented shows, a period drama, a zombie thriller, a western, and a drama that was previously known to be a comedy.
As with every other edition of this series we’ve done, be sure to vote for your favorite in the poll below!
Uzo Aduba, “Orange is the New Black” (Netflix) – At times, she’s a great source of comedy on the show; simultaneously, she’s also one of the show’s biggest underdogs. Is Crazy Eyes really that crazy or is she just someone that is misunderstood and looking for acceptance? She’s not a character we know that much about compared to some of the others, but what we have learned about her over the past two seasons is that more times then not we just want to give Suzanne a giant hug. New Emmy rules require her to be in this category this year rather than be listed as a guest, but no matter the category (or the genre), she is definitely deserving.
Joelle Carter, “Justified” (FX) – Most of the final season, “Justified” was largely about a series of standoffs and relationships that have become so much more complicated then they ever were. You could not really figure out fully at times just what Raylan, Ava, and Boyd were headed over six seasons. Maybe this is in part recognition for the tremendous work Carter put in for the entire run of the series, but she was in particular spectacular this year as Ava faced some of the most difficult choices of her entire life including her very intense relationship with Boyd while balancing being a C.I. for Raylan.
Christina Hendricks, “Mad Men” (AMC) – No “Mad Men” actor has ever won an Emmy, but Hendricks’ performance in “Lost Horizon” was so tremendous, we would nominate her a million times over. Our heart was broken over what happened to Joan at McCann (much of that thanks to the power and dignity of Hendricks’ performance) and the events of this episode ultimately made it all the more rewarding to see where the character’s journey eventually ended.
Emily Kinney, “The Walking Dead” – We did not exactly get a ton of Beth throughout the entirety of “The Walking Dead” season 5, but we are a big believer that sometimes you can do a lot with a little. Much like we felt that Melissa McBride earned a nomination based entirely on “The Grove” a year ago, Kinney is worthy thanks to her anchoring the show in “Slabtown,” and then delivering a powerful performance in “Crossed” and “Coda,” one of the saddest episodes of the entire year.
Robin McLeavy, “Hell on Wheels” (AMC) – “Hell on Wheels” is a series that never gets enough love, and to go along with that, McLeavy is a sensational actress who has presented so many different sides of Eva. We’ve seen her find happiness at times with Elam, but this past season painted a much more devastating picture for her character. This was a woman who went through the stages of grief, started to have hope when she learned of his survival, and then had to go through those same stages again. For any actor, the ultimate achievement is having us care so much for someone, even if we are powerless to their fate. This is what happens with Eva every episode she appears.
Jadyn Wong, “Scorpion” (CBS) – Wong’s character of Happy Quinn is extremely layered in a variety of different ways. For one, her mere name breathes a certain semblance of irony, given that this is someone with a difficult past who is extremely closed-off. Yet, we know at the same time that this sort of isolation is not necessarily what she wants; she simply has a hard time understanding another way. Jadyn is spectacular in this role and while sometimes a genius with suppressed emotions can come across as detached, Wong does just enough to keep us invested in her journey.
Honorable mentions – Lena Headey (“Game of Thrones”), Carrie Coon (“The Leftovers”), Archie Panjabi (“The Good Wife”)
If you want to see some other entries in our Emmy spotlight series, head over to the link here. Also, you can sign up now to get some other TV updates on all we cover via our CarterMatt Newsletter. (Photo: Emmys.)
Update: Votes in this poll will no longer be counted towards our results. Read them here.