Part 13: Outstanding Lead Actress In A TV Movie/Limited Series
It’s rare that the field for this award has dried up so remarkably, but as I said, with no Feud, no Big Little Lies, and no Fargo, the typical big lead for these awards are just not as omnipresent as they seem to be. I can think of more than a few that might fill the roles, and there are probably some obvious ones that I’ll leave out. But here are my best choices.
Gillian Anderson, The X-Files
I know she’s had her difficulties with this series, and that she won’t go forward if the X-Files gets a season 12. (And Fox, Carter, et al. if Anderson says that she’s not going to do another season of The X-Files, for the love of God, don’t do one) But none of this changes the fact that Dana Scully has defined my generation by leading the charge for all the strong, female roles that have come in the new millennium. And as Scully went on a journey to find the son she gave up for her adoption, and finally admitted her love for Mulder, it more than justified bringing it back from the dead, no matter what you thought of the series last couple of storylines
Hayley Atwell, Howard’s End
Were it not for the fact that this series is on a network that almost regularly gets shafted by the Emmys, I would have been more than willing to give this series more nominations. But I have always been an admirer of Atwell’s work, even the stuff that wasn’t directly Marvel related, and when given a nearly impossible job — to play the character that Emma Thompson made iconic with her Oscar-Winning performance more than a century ago — and managed to, at the very least, equal that job is one of the more remarkable accomplishments of this impressive season. It’s already earned some listing for the Ten Best List. I hope that she can keep pushing for it
Jessica Biel, The Sinne
From the opening moments, when her character seemed to stab a totally random beachgoer and offer no reasons for her actions, Biel delivered one of the most shocking performances of the 2017–2018 season. Of all the potential nominees in this category, her work this season was a radical jump forward from just about everything else we’ve seen her do. She made an abrupt jump into an already crowded female category at the beginning of awards season, or she almost certainly would’ve won something by now. I think there’s a very good chance that she’ll be at the center of this years awards.
Laura Dern, The Tale
Yes, she managed to take an Emmy last season for HBO. And I personally think that she should be considered for another nomination in a different category. (I’ll get to that in a bit.) But playing the later version of a woman, trying to deal with a molestation experience in her childhood that she can’t, for most of the movie, even admit was abuse was a revelatory performance that I don’t think anybody who watched TV this year can readily forget. Never mind the timeliness of the film or the ward, this was another magnificent performance by one of the great actress of our time. If she doesn’t get nominated this year, there is no point in these awards.
Cristin Milioti, Black Mirror: U.S.S Callister
For reasons that are almost certain due to my own failings, I’ve never given this now legendary British Netflix anthology the time of day. And every time it produces another group of episodes, it seems determined to dare me to ignore it. It would be very silly of me to ignore this brilliant series that perfectly paid homage to Star Trek and The Twilight Zone, particularly considering the work of Milioti as a woman who wakes up on a TV starship, and finds herself in a Serlingesque nightmare. I’ve been an admirer of her work since How I Met Your Mother, and thought she was robbed of an Emmy nod for her work in Season 2 of Fargo. This seems like a more than ideal time to recognize her.
Elisabeth Moss, Top of the Lake: China Girl
Between her iconic roles as Peggy on Mad Men and June on The Handmaid’s Tale, Moss played a subtler but just as intense role as Robin Griffin, the intense, sexually confused, detective determined to solve one of the more harsh crimes in Jane Campion’s memorable Sundance mini-series. And even though the second entry was, perhaps inevitably, not nearly as strong as the first one, Moss remains as charismatic and as dark as ever. Like Dern, I would have no problem with her double-dipping this year.