Golden Globes 2017: Gillian Anderson, Caitriona Balfe, Eleanor Tomlinson, Kylie Bunbury top Drama Actress picks
There used to be a time when we would have to start out awards-show articles by saying that “this was a particularly good year” for whatever category we were talking about, given that there was such a fluctuation with the number of good shows and performances out there. Yet, we’re now at a little bit of a tipping point. There are more quality series out there than we can count, and there’s never a shortage of quality performances. In the case of our Golden Globes Preview Series in particular, one of the real struggles is trying to find a way to condense it down from around eleven or twelve nomination-worthy performances to only five.
We’re sure that there will be some among our list of picks below that you’ll agree or disagree with, and that’s part of the fun! The CarterMatt team has chosen our five favorite overall performances of the year below in the Actress in a Drama Series category, and did our best to explain why they went above and beyond this year. At the end of the article, there’s a poll to vote for your own favorite! We’re going to be keeping that voting open until November 30 at noon Pacific time; meanwhile, we’ll announce the reader picks at the same time on December 1.
The 2017 Golden Globe nominations will be formally announced on December 12; we are not a member of the Hollywood Foreign Press, and sometimes what they choose to do with their nominations is rather predictable. From there, they will hand out their awards on Sunday, January 8 on NBC.
Actress in a Drama Series
Gillian Anderson, “The Fall” (Netflix) – One of the interesting things about this year in particular is that you could technically go two different ways in terms of Anderson, given that she is also eligible for “The X-Files.” For us, “The Fall” is the performance that we found the most determined, the most haunting, and the most painful. The fact that Stella Gibson did not get what she fought for at the end of this series is heartbreaking, but both the series and her performance are unflinching in their approach. Few other people could play Gibson with the same sort of quiet power and authority.
Caitriona Balfe, “Outlander” (Starz) – “Faith”. We could just stop there and have the argument for Balfe be a winner this year and we mentioned in the Actor in a Drama Series category that several performers could’ve earned their eligibility on the strength of a single episode. Caitriona would have been included here regardless due to her strength as Claire over the course of the entirety of season 2, but this episode, which explored loss and grief in a gut-wrenching way rarely seen on television, puts her over the top. We may not see another performance like it in quiet some time.
Kylie Bunbury, “Pitch” (Fox) – There are times when scripted adaptations of sports can feel almost mechanical and lifeless, largely because you often have an experience that tries to clinically capture the nature of the game rather than the emotions associated with it. What makes “Pitch” exceptional is that it is a story about people and underdogs; baseball is just the canvas for these characters to live and play. Bunbury is a clear breakout star as Ginny, a determined woman intent on making it in an alienating and at-times vicious environment, while also dealing with the pressure and the grief over her father not being there to experience the journey.
Sarah Lancashire, “Happy Valley” (Netflix) – As you can see here, this was a tremendous year for British drama, especially for finding wonderful roles for strong women that show both tremendous achievement and great vulnerability. “Happy Valley” is not the flashiest series on television, but you feel every emotion that the actors put into their performances. As Catharine Cawood, Lancashire brings so much heart into every single word of dialogue, but also so much determination as you see the character continue to fight despite extraordinary hardship as she works to find the justice she seeks.
Eleanor Tomlinson, “Poldark” (PBS) – The story of Demelza may be one of television’s greatest journeys at present. She’s a woman who comes from extremely humble beginnings to find a new life for herself, but unfortunately, over time the idealism of this said life starts to diminish. She’s left to make hard choices, to fight for herself and her family, and to challenge anyone who gets in her way. Despite living in a time where women were often terribly mistreated, Demelza is one of the series’ most-powerful and fascinating characters. Tomlinson plays her in such a way that you feel for her at every moment, and you want nothing more than to see her get everything that she wants out of life. You also know that she’ll never stop fighting for it.
Honorable mentions – Lizzy Caplan, “Masters of Sex” (Showtime), Taraji P. Henson, “Empire” (Fox), Viola Davis, “How to Get Away with Murder” (ABC), Eva Green, “Penny Dreadful” (Showtime), Mandy Moore, “This Is Us” (NBC), Wynona Ryder, “Stranger Things” (Netflix)
Now, we turn this over to you! Vote however often as you’d like and if there is someone not on our list that you feel deserves a mention, then be sure to tell us in the comments. Remember, you can also check out some other entries in our Golden Globes Preview Series over at the link here. (Photo: Golden Globes.)