BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS, DRAMA
This is going to be arguably the toughest category to handicap. With Game of Thrones out of contention, and Maggie Smith not taking up space, that means at least four spots will be open. And with previous frontrunners like Mad Men gone, its hard to say who can fill it. It’s going to take a lot of guesswork, so her are my best choices.
Millie Bobby Brown, Stranger Things
I know that some will debate putting this brilliant actress in a supporting category when a lot of people including the SAG awards, considered her a lead. Mainly, I’m going by the definition of the Academy Awards which, except on really incredibly case, sticks the child actors in the Supporting Categories. But no matter where you put here, there’s no doubt that Brown’s work as Eleven was among the most towering performances all of last year, particular when its clear that she could do so much with so few words. That’s a brilliant performance regardless of the age
Chrissy Metz, This is Us
Kate has been one of the more fascinating characters to debut this season, a women who sees herself defined by her weight and her family when she wants to try and find independence from both. Some may find her behavior off-putting; I find her energetic, particular in a world where so many female characters are barely waif-like. The Golden Globes were more than willing to give her a chance, I see no reason why the Emmys will not do the same.
Mandy Moore, This is Us
Much like Ventimigilia, the amount of range that this actress must portray usually depends on whatever episode she’s in. Moore has been acting for so long, and considered typecast for even longer that in many ways, she was the true revelation of this brilliant series. Seeing almost every angle of Rebecca (and I have no doubt there are many more layers left to uncover) makes her by far the most incredible performer in an already great cast. She got a Golden Globe nomination; it would be a crime for the Emmys to ignore her.
Thandie Newton, Westworld
Again, I take an exception to a nominee from this series instead of say, someone from The Leftovers. But one can’t deny that Newton has been one of the most undervalued screen presences of the last two decades, and that her role, like so many in that series, had the kind of layers that can’t be ignored by the Emmy voters. Also considering that she’s gotten an award nomination from every critical group that’s met in the interim (including a prize for Best Supporting Actress from the Broadcast Critics), it would be ridiculous to think she’d be ignored by the Emmys.
Sarah Steele, The Good Fight
There have always been a lot of great actresses in the Kings world of series. But of the many, many brilliant discoveries was Marissa, Eli Gold’s daughter who seemed to have been the only person who could outwit her father. I was overjoyed that she managed to land a recurring role on this series, and even more happy that she continues to steal every scene she’s in. It may be a bit of a longshot to think of her earning a nomination, but maybe they’ll be in a more forgiving mood.
Maura Tierney, The Affair
All right, I’ll admit it. This series has grown on me with each successive season. And its been fascinating watching Tierney’s character have to deal with the repercussions of her husband going to prison to cover up for his wife’s crime. The fact that now she is the only person trying to help her husband, mainly to cover up her own guilt, was one of the more shocking arcs in a very well-done season. And I think she more than has earned a right to repeat in this category.
Ellen Barkin, Animal Kingdom
This is even more of a long shot than some of the others, but one of the nicer benefits of the last few years has been watching Barkin expand her range. And playing Smurf, the Cody matriarch who believes that she has to control everything in her life was one of the real nice bonuses of last season. And just you thought she had no soul, she demonstrated that she could go even darker. It’ll be hard figuring out whether she’s a lead or supporting. Smurf, you want to be in a category where the pickings are easier.
And JUST TO MAKE THINGS HARDER
Asia Dillon, Billions
This is a headache all its own. The first gender neutral character on TV is played by the first gender neutral actor on TV. Taylor was my far the most fascinating new character on an already fascinating series, and watching them integrate themselves into the inner circle of Axe Capital. Considering the level of brilliant characters, that’s a marvel in itself, and watching them steal scenes is even more remarkable. There’s no question they’re the breakout character of 2017, which presents the Emmys with all sorts of problems. Where do we put an actor who refuses to define themselves? Some have said they might need to redefine performances in a single categories but that has as much chance of happening as Big Brother winning a Peabody. One thing I’m certain of: Dillon deserves to be considered, whatever category they want.