Part 5: Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama
This category was plagued even more by Game of Thrones than any other category the past few years, which is paradoxical as not a single actress in the cast ever won. One could see the many ladies from Handmaid’s Tale or Orange is the New Black taking up space, but my predictions, for better or worse, concern none of them. Handmaid’s fell out of favor last year, and Orange has never fit in either comedy or drama well. That said, there will be some truly outstanding actresses competing in this category.
Helena Bonham Carter, The Crown
She has been one of the greatest actress in history, from her early years with Merchant Ivory to her work with Tim Burton. And considering that one of her greatest roles was the Queen Mother in The King’s Speech, her cast as Princess Margaret in The Crown may have been the greatest combination of talent and synchronicity in history. I know of few other actresses who could’ve filled the shoes of Vanessa Kirby, but Carter is superb with a dour sense of humor and a more jaded look at life than the woman who lost the man she loved for the sake of her sister. She had two brilliant pieces, her meeting with LBJ and the breakup of her marriage in the season finale, either of which would be deserving of a trophy. Which, frankly, is the least Margaret deserves.
Laura Dern, Big Little Lies
I didn’t give Dern her proper due as Renata during the first season of the series. But her work in the second season was by far the most incredible of the group (with one exception). She by far had the most quotable lines (the only I can print is: “I will not not be rich!” as she went through denial as dismay at her husbands deceit, the lost of her fortune and dignity all spiraling into a magnificent climax at the end. No actress has won an Oscar and Emmy in the same year since Helen Mirren in 2007. I can think of few actresses who would more deserve it.
Julia Garner, Ozark
Garner’s triumph last year was one of the great joys of the 2019 Emmys as her work of the teenage head of the sleazier criminal family on Ozark. Garner has always been one of the most exceptional actresses to watch — her incredible work as the barely teenage girl Philip was forced to seduce in the second half of The Americans featured some of the truly haunting scenes of that brilliant series. As Ruth, she plays the obverse — a girl emotionally twice her age who can easily work around the manipulations of the Byrde family. When she won last year, it was a huge upset that shocked ever her. I seriously doubt it will do the same if she should win again.
Chrissy Metz, This is Us
I have a feeling that Metz is by far the biggest victim of the domination of Game of Thrones in this category. Because only the back-biting families of Westeros could keep out a charming performer who is absolutely the nicest person on her show — and who, not by coincidence has broken big on the silver screen at the same time. Watching her deal with all her crises — the blindness of her son Jack, the sudden fitness of Toby and his difficulty accepting his disabled son, her improving relationship with her mother dwarfed by the knowledge of her own impending illness — was some of the most moving moments on the show this year. Only the rise of the handmaids could keep her out this year.
Rhea Seehorn, Better Call Saul
Westeros victim #2: By far the greatest discovery of this extraordinary series has been the work of Seehorn as Kim, the once corporate lawyer who has been embracing a path of public defense, and who we now know with absolute certainty is Jimmy’s soulmate. Her path this season hasn’t been as violent as Jimmy, but its nearly as tortured: Conspiring with Jimmy to try and help save a poor man, being blindsided by his double-cross — and then deciding to marry him, all in the same episode that would be enough for a nomination. Then in Bad Choice Road, we watched her talk one of the most dangerous killers the series has produced from doing unspeakable things to the two of them in a scene you were absolute certain she wouldn’t survive — and yet she did. And in the final episode, with all the dangers still ahead, she suggest the other ruination of Howard Hanlon in hypotheticals that scared even Jimmy. No wonder he can’t live with out her — and we know he’ll have to. There’s no argument that works out with her not getting a nomination this year.
Sarah Snook, Succession
Is it a risk for the best female in a superb cast to go from the lead actress to supporting? Well, it negates the possibility that J. Smith Cameron and Holly Hunter, both of whom did superb work this season will get nominated. Then again, it is the kind of move that Shiv would do to get what she thought she was owed. All joking aside, the female of the Roy clan spent much of the first two seasons that she was far more deserving to be the heir than her brothers — something we know her old school father would never agree to. And as she spent much of the season in prime position, then tried to bring DC down on the new lead, and then threw herself on her father’s mercy to keep her husband — who we know she is unfaithful to — from being the sacrificial lamb — demonstrated Snook’s great talent. I’ll admit that Jeremy Strong and Kieran Culkin are as deserve to get nomination as their sister, but as the level of anti-heroes overwhelm, I think it’s just as likely that Shiv could worm out a nod. Which is how she’d like it.
Meryl Streep, Big Little Lies
I’ll be honest. As soon as I saw the first episode of Streep’s work in Big Little Lies, as far as I was concerned, this years Best Supporting Actress Emmy was spoken for. And while there may have been some shifting in the year since then, it is really hard to argue otherwise. As Mary Louise, Streep dominated the proceeded — no mean feat for a cast this great. We saw very quickly that she was just as vicious and manipulative as her son — she just used her abuse verbally, and yet could do more damage than any of Perry’s blows. Working through the Monterey Five, trying to win custody of her children from Celeste, and convinced to the bitter end her son was a good boy, this was one of the greatest performances in television history — or for Streep, Tuesday. The previous awards have kept her from taking a lead. I seriously doubt that will happen going in.
FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION
Zoe Kravitz, Big Little Lies
Wait a minute. Haven’t I given this series enough recognition as it? In truth, I could make solid cases for several other members of the supporting cast, such as Shailene Woodley as Jane and the incredible Ian Armitage as Ziggy. But of all the actresses in this once-in-a-lifetime cast (or not, knock wood), Kravitz’s Bonnie had the most range this season. As the actual killer of the Monterey Five, she spent most of the season sleepwalking through her guilt while dealing with problems with her own mother whose illness forced her to confront long buried issues with her parents, her own abuse, and her problems with her own marriage. Under other circumstances, Kravitz would be a lock for a nomination. All things considered, she’s the most likely one to be ignored. This is my argument for her, because she’s the reason I really want there to be a Season 3.
Next week, I deal with the comedies.