Emmys 2011: The Supporting Drama Actress Race in Review, Including Our Dream Nominees

Behind virtually every great TV headliner today there is a great, and often times large, ensemble. Which means that scoring a nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series may be one of the most competitive battles Emmy serves up. But with Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men) braving the Lead Actress race this year and Rose Byrne out of the race entirely (Season 3 of Damages didn’t air during the eligibility period), watch for some new blood to be injected into the race.

More Emmy Races In Review: Lead Drama Actress | Drama Series | Supporting Comedy Actor | Supporting Comedy Actress | Lead Comedy Actor | Lead Comedy Actress | Comedy Series | Reality-Competition Program

Review this slideshow of the major contenders — including TVLine’s half-dozen Dream Nominees — then vote below for who you think are the six best. And check back Tuesday for our preview of the Supporting Drama Actor race!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Heather says:

    KaDee Strickland better be part of this category when the official nominations come out or else the category will be null and void as far as I’m concerned. She was amazing this year and totally put her heart and soul into Charlotte’s rape story. Who knows if she would win or not in the end but she really needs to be on the list this year.

    • the girl says:

      I concur.

    • Mafalda says:

      although i agree with you i’m not getting my hopes to high for that. private practice has never been nominated for anything major yet so i doubt the Academy notices her perfomance :/

    • Becca says:

      Agreed, I doubt she will get recognized, but she definitely deserves to be nominated. She did a stellar job this year. :)

    • Shirley says:

      I totally agree. She was far above Ramierez and her screeching on grey’s. KaDee was awesome

      • Sara Ramirez is the queen says:

        wow! u did not just say that Sara Ramirez was “screeching” in the music event. I understand u love Kadee, but there is no need to lie to make her look better than the rest. You need a reality check girl.

        • giz says:

          So someone who has different opinion than you needs a reality check? Really? Grow up!

        • ha says:

          What is wrong with you? I agree. Kadee was far better than Ramirez for me as well. Not everyone loved the musical crap. I personally hated it and hated her performance.Deal with it.

          • Tw says:

            I agree Mae Whitman was fantastic this season on Parenthood. Kadee should defintely get the nod. I love Sara on Grey’s but I don’t think she had a breakthrough performance this year. The musical episode was horrible. I say this as a avid fan of grey’s. The singing didn’t have to occur. Jessica capshaw is another underrated actress. Jessica is a better actress than Sara.

        • Kate says:

          Sorry, but she really was screeching in the Grey’s musical episode.

      • George says:

        Sara is a great singer hence the Tony. But Emmy is for acting and while she is a good actor she is out of her league here.If there was an award for singing in a dramatic series I could see her nomination. But that’s not what Emmy is about.

        • Leah says:

          I don’t think that anyone is saying that Sara should be nominated purely based off her vocals in GA’s musical episode – everyone realizes that the Emmys are not judging talent in the same arena as the Tonys. What is in question is the acting performance that Sara gave this season, which was stellar. Regardless of her singing (which might I add, is good), Sara’s acting ability should more than earn her a nod.

    • Chmarin says:

      Oh My God, this is LAUGHABLE.

    • Anna says:

      Sara Ramirez and KaDee Strickland are both long overdue for a nom. Especially Sara girl has been acting her ass off on Grey’s for years.

      And I believe Sara’s Tony Award proves that she does not in fact “screech”.

    • Danielle H. says:

      Elsewhere in Shondaland, Sara just did not do it for me this year. IMHO, I just do not feel that she’s that great of an actress. I wonder if she will indeed get a nod though.
      KaDee all the way. She is a REALLY good actress; she is nothing like her character IRL. She is one of the only reasons I still want to watch Private Practice. GO KADEE!

    • PGP says:

      Not only should KaDee Strickland be nominated, but I think she deserves the award! She was amazing in that storyline. Ironically the only competitor she should worry about in my opinion is Mae Whitman from Parenthood! I wish that Emmy wouldn’t snub that show!

    • Tiffany says:

      Yes!! Very happy about the KaDee Strickland love over here!

    • Jana says:

      You are delusional. KaDee is a one-note actress lucky enough to be given the sympathy storyline of the season that always attracts attention – rape – whoever the actress.

      She doesn’t stand a chance at a nomination.

      • Lexie says:

        woooooooahhhhh. That’s a tad harsh don’t you think? Rape is a very difficult topic to take on and KaDee did it brilliantly!

      • Julie23 says:

        KaDee Strickland was amazing this year. She totally deserves a nomination. Also, she is not a, “One-note actress.” In fact, she is very much on the Emmy radar. Her work with RAINN has reached volumes and that is the kind of thing that attracts attention from the Academy. You think you know how television works, but you just sit at home and watch. I work in television and while I am not associated with Private Practice, I can assure you that there has been great talk of KaDee Strickland’s performance this year. She has been getting definite Emmy buzz and I will not be surprised when she get that nomination. Sorry you are so misinformed.

    • michelle says:

      All these women work hard & are so good @ what they do. However, SARA RAMIREZ is who I vote for this year. Since she started on Grey’s, her character has been kicked around from one extreme to the next, has been hated on and given versatile story lines, & Ramirez has handled it! She’s entertaining, such a strong character on Grey’s – so talented!

    • Jeff says:

      Hands down, KaDee Strickland should already have her name sealed in the winner’s envelope!! I didn’t even watch Private Practice regularly but tuned in when I heard she was being given this compelling and controversial storyline. I was completely blown away by her performance and I have watched the show ever since.

  2. chasgoose says:

    You forgot Melissa Leo for Treme. She is at least in the top 10 potential candidates, especially coming off her Oscar win…

  3. kristina says:

    Regina King definitely deserves this award. The episode Sideways was a great showcase of her talent. Southland really needs to win some Emmys.

    • Jasmine says:

      REGINA KING is so awesome. She can play it all, and play it all so well! Great job Regina, I truly hope you are nominated and that you will win.

    • DL says:

      I was overjoyed that Shawn Hatosy got a nom in the CCTA, but King and Michael Cudlitz are also completely due for some awards love for their outstanding performances in Southland. It’s easily one of the best shows on TV.

  4. Ashley says:

    The way KaDee Strickland handled her storyline as a survivor of sexual assault was amazing. She deserves some recognition for it with at least a nomination. She was brilliant.

  5. AUST says:

    Jessica Capshaw is missing on the last. She does a fantastic job on Grey’s.

  6. Jill says:

    She gets overlooked a lot, but Jennifer Carpenter really turned it out this season!

    • Melissa says:

      Agreed! Jennifer Carpenter has been fantastic from day one! I never really understood why she was supporting either. I thought she was bigger than Julie Benz on the show, and she was the ‘lead’ actress for four seasons.

  7. jrs says:

    This totally BELONGS to Margo Martindale!!

    • Chatty says:

      Yes, it does! However, KaDee Strickland gave a stellar performance this last season, and she definitely deserves a nomination at least. This is a tough category and I don’t envy the Emmy voters.

    • chucklesx46 says:

      As a season one Justified fan I couldn’t believe season 2 would be any better but Margo Martindale’s performance absolutely blew me away! My circle of Justified fans were saying she deserved the best supporting actress long before the nominations came out. I am sure that anyone who followed the season would without exception be in totol agreement. For those who didn’t watch and might support another nominee, they need to view this once in a lifetime role by any actress ever! There is no question in my mind if that all that were able to see this non-major network production, limited by those who able recieve FX, they would unaminously vote for Margo Martindale. Too bad that the network didn’t have the foresight to schedule reruns concurrent with the awards to increase exposure… VERY SHORT-SIGHTED !

  8. koio says:

    Jasika Nicole- Fringe

  9. John says:

    Like it or not, the shoo ins are: Archie Panjabi, Christine Baranski, Cristina Hendricks and Kelly Macdonald.

    • Sam says:

      No cable/quality network show viewer would not like this. Emmys aren’t just for the actors, they’re for the part. If your show sucks (i.e. Grey’s, Private Practice), or if you aren’t given a meaty role (i.e. Jasika Nicole), it doesn’t matter how talented you are.

  10. graeme says:

    Where’s Sandra Oh? She was incredible dealing with the aftermath of the shootout.

    • amelia says:

      agreed!!! she was amazing this season, especially portray cristina’ ptsd in the first half of the season

    • Lisa says:

      Yeah, I agree where is Sandra Oh! She was brilliant during her PTSD scenes and in the scenes she did get when the Calzonamark Circus was going on.

    • Rock Golf says:

      Oh’s work in the season finale of Grey’s alone should get her a nom. It didn’t even feel like acting, it felt like uncomfortably eavesdropping in on a fight between a pregnant woman who didn’t want to keep her baby and her husband who did. Completely real.

      • all the way says:

        Agreed. Why is this woman not on the list this year? Out of all the Grey’s actresses she was the best! That’s what I call acting.

    • George says:

      Great actress. Terrible Grey’s writing. You can only do so much. I’d be shocked if anyone got a nod from this show. For years now ALL the actors on this show have saved it by being able to deliver the lines as written.

  11. NK says:

    I agree with a definite nod for Kadee Strickland. And Jessica Capshaw might deserve a place too.

  12. line says:


  13. Bee says:

    sara ramirez & sandra oh from grey’s anatomy deserve spots, but above all, kadee strickland deserves it for private practice. “did you hear what happened to charlotte king?” was her show all the way and she did amazing the rest of the season also.

    • Kacey says:

      True, where is Sandra Oh on that list? Sure she can’t sing, but she acted her ass off (as usual) this season on GA, and was freakin brilliant in pretty much every scene especially during the PTSD story line.

  14. Amy says:

    As long as Margo Martindale is nominated, thats all I care about :)

    • side3 says:

      I’ll second that. She was fantastic. No one else can touch her.

    • Alex says:

      I agree – this category looks GREAT – most of these fine actresses are deserving, but all I want to see is Margo Martindale’s name on that ballot. She redefined the villain this season on Justified. What a powerhouse performance.

  15. zengarden says:

    I kind of want Lisa E to win just so she can be like, “See you losers? You got rid of an Emmy winner!”

    And she’s awesome in general, so…

    • Akshay says:

      House didn’t get rid of her, she decided to leave the show despite the producers’ best efforts to convince her to come back.

      • zengarden says:

        True it was her decision in the end, but I do feel like there was some small foul-play there. But this is coming from a viewer, not an insider, so I don’t really know anything.

    • HOUSEfan says:

      Can’t you bitter Huddy fangirls just shut up?! It was her decision not to take the deal, if her job wasn’t worth the paycut, so what?! Her acting definitely sucks too much to deserve an Emmy.

      • Ocean says:

        well that’s just mean. geez

      • zengarden says:

        I’m… not a Huddy fan. Can’t us non-huddy fans realize that she is a good actress regardless of the crappy romantic story-line?

      • Cosette says:

        s_Well that’s really a mean thing to say! You may not be fond of her … But don’t trash out her work or acting skills … I do think she is an amazing actress … All in subtlety ! And she deserves to be on this list!
        U can’t just blame her for writers’ mistakes.

      • tripoli says:

        Agreed, HOUSEfan. Not surprised that her crazy followers have flooded the poll. Still not going to convince anyone that she’s worthy of an Emmy. Better luck next time. Oh wait, she’s unemployed.

        • Tony says:

          Calling others crazy doesn’t make you look especially sane, and resorting to hasty generalizations doesn’t make you look especially intelligent, to say the very least. No wonder you hate Lisa E.

      • Duskybatfishgirl says:

        HOUSEfan: thank you for words of reason. Her decision to leave; and IMO incessant pouting & ranting do not make for great acting. Sharon Gless or Chloe Sevigny were brilliant this year….

      • ebow says:


        Why do you care about the Huddy fans. Lisa E is gone from House and won’t be back. It is just a way of saying thanks for 7 seasons of work

        If you are REALLY a HOUSE FAN I would stop being concerned about the actress who jumped off the sinking ship and be more concerned about the ratings for next season 8

        Judging by the season ratings especially the finale and it less than sparkling reviews the writers are going to be fighting a losing battle digging House of the self imposed exile.
        House is now a drug addicted,sociopath and is on the run from the law . Any viewers still watching should be concerned about how HOUSE keeps his medical license in a way that is plausible. Not to mention if Robert S Leonard misses some of the season your supporting actors are Taub,Thirteen and Foreman will certainly be featured heavily.

        Don’t even discuss replacing Lisa E. Any actress they approach with the part will take one look at the misogynistic way the women are treated and will laugh out loud before leaving.
        Any actor they offer the part to will take one look at the salary being offered and will laugh before leaving as well.

        Here it is HOUSEfan the writers have written themselves into a corner,the lead actress for seasons 1-7 has left and the ratings are the lowest they have been since season 1 and that is the good news. The bad news is that TPTB know it and don’t care about it.

        I wouldn’t be surprised if HOUSE is cancelled mid season 8 due to declining ratings.
        and at this point I for one could not be happier

        • J.Norman says:

          @ ebow

          While I don’t disagree with most of what you post above, It doesn’t address the question at hand. That being, should Lisa Edelstein win the Best Supporting Actress Drama award?
          In ordinary years I would say no. Her part is not meaty enough, but in this last year on House she will surely gain sympathy votes on 2 fronts,
          1) The undermining / cutting of her salary
          2) The horrible. . .HORRIBLE ending to the House season.

          Combined, these 2 factors may give her the sympathy needed to push her over the top. We’ll see.

    • sindy says:

      ja ja tienes mucha razon ojala la nominen y gane para abofetear a los ejecutivos de la fox, ademas que se lo merece!!

  16. Lis says:


  17. sarah says:

    It’s Archie, Kadee, Jennifer and Michelle for me. The best supporting pretty much dominate.

  18. huq says:

    Wait! let me guess, Stana Katic should have been put on this list too?

    • kate says:

      Stana is a lead actress. This is for supporting actresses. But I see your irony, although she could have been in the lead actresses list.

    • Jollibee says:

      I bet you might include Stana Katic in Best Lead Actor category too in that case?! Just put her everywhere…

  19. CM says:

    Where is Paget Brewster? She did a terrific job on Criminal Minds this season!

  20. Katia says:

    There must be absolutely Sandra Oh u___u

  21. camila says:

    Lisa Edelstein is the best

  22. Dee says:

    Hilarious you put Kadee Strickland and Sara Ramirez on the list. The Emmys don’t care about Private Practice or Grey’s especially Private Practice. Sara will get a nod over Kadee though because Sara Ramirez is more well known and Grey’s is more on the Emmy radar than PP.

    • Julie23 says:

      KaDee Strickland totally deserves a nomination. Also, she is not off the Emmy radar. In fact, she is very much on the radar. Her work with RAINN has reached volumes. I work in television and while I am not associated with Private Practice, I can assure you that there has been great talk of KaDee Strickland’s performance this year. She has been getting definite Emmy buzz and I will not be surprised when she get that nomination. So, go KaDee!

    • Amy says:

      I think it’s funny that you (@Dee) say that, when in the votes above, KaDee Strickland is in the top four.

  23. Thea says:

    This list is heavily cable-weighted. I don’t have cable. Note that the highest results are for women in broadcast shows, and 14 out of 23 comments to this point are about women in broadcast shows. What does that tell you?

    • Dave R says:

      That cable networks does series way better than broadcast network?

      • Sam says:

        Yup, that’s what it tells me.

        • Thea says:

          You seem to have reversed the numbers. It suggests that more people – at least who are voting here – are watching the broadcast shows and the actors in them have more dedicated fans. Unless, of course, you’re saying that the people voting here don’t have good enough taste to support the cable shows.

  24. bamalam says:

    Mae Whitman for the win!!! My absolute favorite part of Parenthood…she makes her character tolerable/likeable when she is making the most awful decisions.

  25. MM says:

    KaDee Strickland. I don’t care if it’s Private Practice, she at least deserves a nod.

  26. Emily says:

    Jennifer Carpenter, Christina Hendricks and Kiernan Shipka have my vote.

  27. linds says:

    I’ll tell you someone who’s missing. Her name is Sandra Oh. This woman seriously needs an Emmy.
    I know Grey’s has had it’s better days..But no matter what Sandra always delivers.

    • Erica says:

      I was thinking exactly the same thing – where the heck is Sandra Oh. She always delivers a supreme performance, her OR meltdown screamed EMMY.

      • M says:

        Where is Sandra Oh. The woman has been nominated 5 times.
        She’s had a stellar season. I will not forgive you tvline for this missing her.

  28. Mafalda says:

    so the girls in the good wife owned it this year, but i’d love to see jennifer carpenter get a nomination too :D

  29. Shayna says:

    What about Cote de Pablo!? I know, the story lines for her haven’t been the best this past season (or past 3 seasons), but she is an excellent actress who at least deserves a nod.

    • Joshua says:

      i TOTALLY AGREE!!! Once again the “TVLINE Team” Shutout the Most watched drama on Television with no nods to NCIS.

    • Lyss says:

      She is on the official list for the emmy people! she deserves a nod! what sucks is that NCIS deserves an Emmy nod just in general!!!!!

  30. Sam says:

    I think it’s pretty ridiculous that just because KaDee Strickland is on Private Practice–a show that’s NOT on the Emmy radar–she’s immediately being overlooked by people. Her performance was OUTSTANDING. It was gritty, heartbreaking, painful, and amazing to watch. It was the performance of the year in television whether you are a Private Practice fan OR KaDee Strickland fan. If she is not at least nominated for her performance this year, there is no justice…and it will be confirmed that the Emmy’s are strictly a favoritism award show.

  31. Kiddo says:

    I really don’t get why you thought of Debra Winger from In Treatment but you didn’t think of Amy Ryan. I don’t get it at all.

  32. klks;s says:

    KaDee Strickland ftw. She took on one of the most challenging roles and brilliantly portrayed such a sensitive issue. If she doesn’t get nominated… Well, that would be a shame. She deserves it.
    (Too bad Private Practice – Which was amazing this season, btw, get’s overlooked so often).

  33. bmo says:

    if margo martindale isn’t nominated, the emmy’s suck. She had the best performance out of every lady on that list…Justifed would have sucked wihtout her

  34. Lisbet says:

    Lisa Edelstein deserves the Emmy .. She is an amazing actress .. I really like….

  35. MC says:

    Where is Emilia Clarke for Game of Thrones?

    That’s a glaring omission.

  36. Hayley says:

    Sara Ramirez and KaDee Strickland. Their performances were outstanding.

  37. Jared says:

    KaDee Strickland! Hands down! Best performance of the year. Period!

  38. Joe says:

    Lisa Edelstein deserves at least a nomination. She’s a terrific actress, such a shame her talent was wasted on House.

  39. Tahoe Mike says:

    Khandi Alexander has been amazing for two seasons now. She has shown every emotion I can think of, often just with a look. She is amazing to watch every week.

  40. Triple M says:

    I voted for these alphabetical order and probably shoo-in nominees:

    * Christine BARANSKI, The Good Wife (solid performance all through out the season)

    * Christina HENDRICKS, Mad Men (she make the most out of a great writing)

    * Kelly MACDONALD, Boardwalk Empire (she played a complicated character yet she gave a subtle touch with it)

    * Margo MARTINDALE, Justified (hell the Emmy is unjust if she don’t get nominated, and yeah she’s like “The Untouchable” in Justified)

    * Archie PANJABI, The Good Wife (she won last year for a reason, and she deserved it, this season is no different)

    and lastly….

    * Kiernan SHIPKA, Mad Men (I was surprised they submitted despite her age, but they did the right thing.. This girl SHOULD and DESERVE to be at least get a nod… The girl was such a driving force in this great season of Mad Men)


    KaDee Strickland in Private Practice (the series is not on Emmy radar) and Chloe Sevigny in Big Love (probably a nice farewell for the series?)

  41. Ashley says:

    If anything, I think Archie should have won this year, rather than last. Her performance during the first season was good, but it was nothing compared to this season — especially the ham sandwich episode. She was phenomenal. I wish Rose Byrne had won last year and Archie could’ve taken it home in 2011.

    • Missy says:

      I second the motion… Rose Byrne did fantastic last year… If only Damages was eligible this year then we can have (Hopefully) Christine Baranski, Archie Panjabi, Christina Hendricks, KaDee Strickland, and Margo Martindale…. Then the winner would have something to brag about for winning against these talented and worthy list…

      Though I must say, the little girl in Mad Men is also growing on me… Good thing they submitted her…

  42. Dave R says:

    That girl in Mad Men should be nominated!!!! (Sorry, her name is a little hard to type) Hope the Emmy members notice her performance… Yeah, she won’t win but come on, she did better than some of the others in that list…

  43. Anne says:

    I really don’t understand all the love that Mae Whitman gets. She certainly isn’t bad but she’s so OVER THE TOP. Her crying makes me cringe.

  44. Vicky says:

    Archie, only Archie, she is so good it hurts!!! =D

  45. John M. says:

    Margo Martindale is in a class of her own this year. Nobody else even deserves to have their name mentioned alongside hers. They should just split the award this year and nominate an extra 5 people for ‘Best Supporting Drama Actress Who Didn’t Play Mags Bennett Flawlessly’

    • Rachel says:

      My thoughts exactly!

    • lj says:

      I don’t watch Justified but now I kind of want to because I have always thought Margo Martindale was intriguing. I really loved her as the cancer patient on Dexter. It is nice to hear she has such avid fans.

  46. Justin says:

    As long as Jennifer Carpenter, Regina King, and Jasika Nicole (Fringe) are nominated, I’ll be a happy camper. I would also nominate Paget Brewster (Criminal Minds) given what Prentiss went through this season. For the win, though, I think it should be either Jasika Nicole or Jennifer Carpenter.

  47. Lyss says:

    Cote de Pablo is on the nominations list… she should be on this one because she deserves recognition for once! Of these, Kadee Strickland should…

  48. Zoe Hamilton says:

    Lisa Edelstein deserves this emmy so much. She is the most amazing, talented, intelligent actress in the world. I could be here forever describing exactly why this is, but i’m off to spread the word elsewhere :’D

    Lisa, I love you. Your fans love you, and we know you will win this award :)

    • Liz says:

      Oh Gosh, you Cuddy fangirls are so blind, it hurts. Love her all you want, she neither deserves the award nor will she get it.

      • Lisbet says:

        if he deserves it because she is an amazing actress …she is the best…and will be the next winner of the Emmy

        • tina says:

          All ladys are amazing actresses an deserve a nom. But sorry to tell you Lisa won´t get a nom. Very experienced and serious Television critics tell it. And in my opinion she is one of the weakest actresses on this list, IMO. But what do i know.

          • Cosette says:

            Well I think she’s an very good actress …
            She just really didn’t have the chance to show it on House with the crappy storylines they gave her … and well you can’t really show your skills when you have to cry over a baby crying …
            In a fun and witty show she could show what she can do !
            I just overall here, that people shouldnt’ trash her out just because she has very supportive fans .. She is not responsible for that and everyone should be respected even if not liked.

            (I don’t say that for you Tina, coz you expressed your opinion respectfully but for others who just tell people to shut up coz we say we like/love Lisa E and wish she would win … That is OUR opinion and it should be respected as well!)

          • Liev says:

            I completely agree with Cosette. Lisa is a great actress. The things about her leaving and her fans are not our focus right now, so just leave it all behind. Some people wish she would win or at least got a nom. Why don’t the others just accept it? Well we all just share our opinion, right.

        • Constantine says:

          Do you read what you type?


  49. Ally says:

    Vote for Lisa!!!!!!!!! :D


  50. Rike says:

    Maura Tierney should get an Emmy for her role in Rescue Me. She’s so brave, playing a woman who has cancer after she went through chemotherapy herself. But this would be for next year’s Emmy then, I hope. She deserves it.