Emmy Hopefuls: Will Outlander star Caitriona Balfe score a deserved nomination?

Outlander season 3 episode 11 photosOver the past few years, Caitriona Balfe has been the much-deserved recipient of multiple Golden Globe Award nominations for her portrayal of Claire Fraser on Outlander — yet, somewhere along the line, the Emmys missed the memo! For one reason or another Balfe has been snubbed routinely for her work there, and it’s an incredible shame given how much of herself she poured into this part. For three seasons, Balfe has delivered unparalleled passion, power, and precision in this role, giving her an emotional relatability despite Claire being thrown into what has been at times an impossible situation.

What made season 3 so spectacular for Balfe is that no matter what, she never allowed Claire’s authority to be compromised. Whether it be in her marriage to Frank to her challenging Jamie in the spectacular “First Wife,” Claire has control. She is a character to be respected, admired, and never taken for granted; if said mandate is violated, there are of course consequences with that. Claire has her flaws, as any human would, but she also has tremendous strength and resolve you rarely see anywhere else on TV.

Balfe brings you into the character’s mind as she questions decisions in season 3; not only that, but she also shifts the character effortlessly across multiple genres, whether to be a drama, a romance, a fantasy, or an adventure. She is able to prepare Claire for any situation … and has the capacity to rip out your heart at any given moment. The subtlety of her scenes with Sophie Skelton was lovely, and while there many moments of high drama alongside Sam Heughan, you also had many wonderful interactions featuring levity and humor. The turtle soup scene is one that is exceptionally memorable in that regard.

Season 3 brought Balfe some of her most challenging material of the entire series to date, as she had to play this character across both multiple continents and also multiple time periods. Through that, she never missed a beat in her performance, and allowed this extraordinary experience Claire went through to be believable and raw. If it’s not worthy of some Emmy love, what is?

Why hasn’t the nomination happened?

Much like with Heughan, for some reason the Emmys just haven’t gotten enough exposure to Outlander as a series or any of its prominent cast members. Maybe it’s been hurt by airing on a network that doesn’t tend to get a lot of Emmy love (though Starz is certainly trying their best campaign-wise), or maybe it is hurt by being a show with a fantasy element to it. (While it’s changed somewhat in recent years, shows that adhered to particular genres had a harder time.)

We do think that this is the year things could somewhat start to change for Balfe — she’s been mentioned in many critics’ lists, her name has been floated out there by the network and the studio, and we ultimately do think the Golden Globe nominations help. She’s got the best chance arguably out of anyone to get a nomination and, for now, we’re reasonably hopeful this will be her year. It’s a little too early to project a win, but a nomination would certainly put Caitriona on the right road.

Related Be sure to see more entries in our Emmy Hopefuls series

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