Golden Globes 2019: Should Caitriona Balfe, Katheryn Winnick, Mariska Hargitay, Abigail Spencer, or Jodie Whittaker get a nod?

The 2019 Golden Globes are going to be airing on NBC come Sunday, January 6 on NBC, but campaign season is already underway! From now until early December, expect a wide array of campaigns from various networks and studios about specific shows and performers across a number of categories.

Here at CarterMatt, we’re getting back into the swing of things again with our own annual Golden Globes Preview Series! Our team has huddled together and come up with our own list of personal picks across some important categories, and over the next couple of weeks we’ll be sharing many of them alongside polls for you to vote for to show your support. We want this to be a fun, interactive way to help campaign for shows during this process and have some fun discussion along the way about some of the best that TV has to offer.

Just a reminder – These are not the actual Golden Globe nominees. These are just our personal picks that we hope will bring attention to these shows and actors during campaign season — that includes our focus today in Actress in a Drama Series

Voting Rules – Vote however often you’d like! (If you are having trouble, there are instructions at the bottom of the page.) Voting will remain open until Friday, November 30 at 2:00 p.m. Pacific time. This allows the debate to continue for most of the campaign period. The actual nominations will be announced come December 6.

Caitriona Balfe, Outlander – Year in and year out, Balfe has remained the transcendent lead for the Starz drama. She’s played this character across multiple continents and also multiple time periods and has never lost the character’s intelligence, power, or sense of self-sufficiency. Claire as a character is relatable, vulnerable, powerful, and also a beacon of hope for many that she comes across. Balfe injects so much relatability into the character’s very soul and projects her in a way that makes you feel for her struggles and champion her victories. She’s been a favorite of the Hollywood Foreign Press before and for good reason, as she puts her all into this show and you see that with her commitment to every line of dialogue or every intense scene the actress finds a way to deliver.

Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: SVU – Is there a way in which to celebrate Hargitay enough for her work on this series? It certainly feels like an unfathomable task. For twenty years now Mariska has made Olivia Benson the type of not-all-heroes-wear-capes figure that the television industry needs. She’s saved hundreds of victims and in the midst of these cases, Hargitay portrays Benson with an air of strength but also sympathy and understanding. She always remembers what she is fighting for, but at the same time also the plight of the individual. It’s a difficult balance to nail, but she does time and time again. A great test of Mariska’s range comes in contrasting some of the intense, dramatic scenes where she is talking down a suspect to the more personal scenes she shares with the character’s adopted son, Noah.

Abigail Spencer, Timeless – We do wonder if there is an interesting case of art-imitates-life with this show and with playing Lucy Preston. For Spencer, she’s approached every season knowing that it could very be the end; we imagine that, on some level, this may be a similar philosophy Lucy has to her missions. While the stakes may be different, there is a sense of passion and urgency with both. Lucy is a character who is heroic and determined, but at the same time warm and incredibly kind for those who need her. Spencer plays her the way you would want any time-traveling hero to be, open and accepting and yet willing to do whatever needs to be done. There’s a tenderness to some scenes (take the more vulnerable ones with Matt Lanter), but then she can turn on a dime and play the intense, action-packed ones out in the field. Add in some of the series’ signature comedy and throughout season 2 and Spencer has been able to do a little bit of everything.

Jodie Whittaker, Doctor Who – Playing The Doctor is one of the biggest challenges in all television, given that it a character with decade’s worth of legacy and expectation. Basically, just about everyone has their own expectation for who and what this person should be. Whittaker perhaps faced even higher expectations than ever as the first female Doctor, but to date, she’s been able to surpass all hopes and then some! She’s reinvigorated the character with a sense of fun and imagination; yet, simultaneously she has not lost the pain of the character or the realization of all she has lost. The layers are still there, and she is a Doctor for a new generation — someone who can be light and carefree, but also carry the enormous weight of all time and space on her shoulders.

Katheryn Winnick, Vikings – Finally, we turn to an actress who has had an immense challenge through five seasons. Lagertha is a woman of many emotions and motivations and Winnick has created such powerful intention within her choices and performance that she always comes across as formidable. It doesn’t matter if Lagertha is on top of the Norse world or crashing to the bottom, waiting for a chance to strike again – Winnick is able to capture her strength and vulnerabilities beautifully. Through season 5 we have seen her fighting the good fight, and yet also vulnerable in a way you rarely see her. This adds a whole new energy to what Katheryn is doing, and allows her to flex a few different acting muscles that she hasn’t had a chance to before. She has embraced the task of playing this character through multiple phases of her life and that’s not an easy feat for any actress, but Winnick never misses a beat.

Other critical favorites

Keep your eyes out during the campaign for Mandy Moore (This Is Us), Sandra Oh (Killing Eve), Viola Davis (How to Get Away with Murder), Thandie Newton (Westworld), and Julia Roberts (Homecoming).

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