Emmys 2011: Who Deserves the Award for Best Actress in a Drama?

The 2010 Emmy winner for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series — The Closer‘s Kyra Sedgwick — didn’t even crack the list of nominees for 2011, which will add a dose of unpredictability to the category when the winners are announced at the Sept. 18 kudo-fest. But which woman is most worthy of taking home the statuette?

Julianna Margulies and Connie Britton are both nominated for the second consecutive year for The Good Wife and Friday Night Lights, respectively, but with the latter show having reached its conclusion, it’s last call for the woman who brought Tami Taylor to life. Mad Men‘s Elisabeth Moss is on the ballot (and seeking her first win) for the third straight year, though it’s worth noting her 2010 nod was in the Best Supporting Actress race. Meanwhile, Kathy Bates and Mireille Enos have a chance to take home Emmy gold for the freshman seasons of their shows, Harry’s Law and The Killing. And then there’s Mariska Hargitay of Law & Order: SVU, nominated for the eighth consecutive year (though she’s won only once, back in 2006).

Take our poll below to vote for your favorite — polls close Sept. 13, so act now! — then hit the comments to justify your pick!

Every afternoon for the next month, we’ll launch another “Who Should Win” Emmy poll, so come back to TVLine.com every day to weigh in on who’s most worthy of TV’s biggest honor, and to stay up to speed on all our races, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

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. Emily says:

    Anna Torv. I’m just saying.

  2. Jim says:

    It’s time to give Friday Night Lights its due. Connie, Kyle, and the show for the win.

  3. Dick Whitman says:

    I’m torn between Julianna and Connie.

  4. Josh says:

    Elizabeth Moss! She held her own against the boys this season.

  5. Kathryn says:

    This is Julianna’s award to lose, but judging from the episode she chose I wouldn’t count on it! A win for Elisabeth would be OK, I don’t get the hype behind FNL and their actors. But, to each their own

    • fanseriali says:

      what? she chose the best episode. Which one you think she should’ve submitted instead?

      • xav says:

        The person is saying that they think, based on the episode she chose, that she’s going to win.

        • fanseriali says:

          my mistake then :)

          • Fidelio says:

            Kathryn’s post says that Julianna should be considered the front-runner, but that the episode she chose may be her downfall.

            It doesn’t say that she’s going to win based on the episode she chose.

          • Kathryn says:

            fanseriali, to clarify I think that based on the episode she chose there is no way she won’t win. sorry for the confusion. Thanks xav

  6. fanseriali says:

    after watching all submitted episodes, my vote goes to absolutely phenomenal Julianna Margulies. Her episode, ‘In sickness’ is a killer!

  7. Dawn says:

    For me it’s a tie: Britton, Margulies and Moss. I’m choosing Connie Britton only because it’s her last chance to get an Emmy for playing Tami Taylor, and she’s deserved it for so long.

  8. Ashley says:

    I’m going to go with Connie Britton – it feels like this would be an Emmy for her work during FNL’s entire run.

  9. maria says:

    Anna Torv…

  10. sladewilson says:

    I agree with Emily but since they robbed Anna and Kyra by not nominating them (morons), Julianna FTW…

  11. Soso says:

    Britton all the way !!! And she’s winning =D
    Margulies and Moss after, then Enos.
    No comment for Hargitay and Bates (who stole Tripllehorn, Torv or Sagal’s place).

  12. Kaitlin says:

    I think Julianna has every reason to win this award, but I really want (and think) this is going to be Connie’s year. It’s her last chance and I’m hoping the voters really, really think long and hard about this. I love Elisabeth Moss too, and she did stellar work in season four, but MRS COACH FTW.

    • the tenor says:

      I COMPLETELY agree. Juliana was fantastic, but Connie’s got such a great presence. Oh how I’m gonna miss the Taylors.

  13. Steven says:

    Other: Lauren Graham.

  14. I would guess Margulies will win, but from those who work I have seen (sorry, Enos), I wouldn’t have chosen any of them.

  15. Mikaylah says:

    Connie Britton FTW! I hope Friday Night Lights and its actors FINALLY get the recognition they deserve.

  16. l says:


  17. Danielle H. says:

    God Bless you, Fringe fans (of which I used to be), but can’t you give it a rest? Anna didn’t get nominated. Kudos to the women who did, they are asking you to give your opinion on who should win out of them.

    • passing says:

      Just a reminder that not everyone on that list deserves to be there and just because of politics or belonging to Hollywood-incrowd does not mean you deserve to be nominated automatically.
      This categorie has been devaluated amongst others by nominating Hagirty out of habit and Bates because they know the name,etc.

      I happen to think, and most critics agree, that Anna Torv is the outstanding lead actress and should have been nominated and should have gone on to win the Emmy.
      None of those on the list come close to what she has done this season. All the 6 on the list struggle to find one episode, Anna Torv has to many to choose from.
      So why not nominate someone who clearly deserves it.

  18. MGL says:

    Julianna Margulies -she deserves it and earned it. Her emotionless and emotional expressions were great. It should have been hers last year.

  19. Thomas says:

    Connie Britton is fantastic, and I’m going to miss watching her on FNL. Julianna Margulies was great this past season too. I’d be happy if either won it. But for me it has to be Elisabeth Moss. She was absolutely terrific in season four of Mad Men.

  20. Kiki says:

    I’m a fan of L&O:SVU, but I don’t get why Mariska still gets nominations year after year. Yeah, she’s great, she’s consistent but I feel like they nominate her because it’s a safe bet – her spot could’ve been taken by Lauren Graham or even Anna Torv, like others suggested. Someone new, for a change.

  21. Sietsx says:

    Julianna Margulies! This woman is such a great actress and the episode she submitted is fantastic!

  22. LMFAO says:

    Mariska Hargitay.

  23. Amanda says:

    I honestly hope that Connie gets it, Friday Night Lights was such an amazing show it really deserves the recognition in all its nominated categories this year. Julianna will have more opportunities to win (she’d be my second choice) so I think Connie should definitely walk away with the award.

  24. kimmie says:

    Frankly, the most deserving actress wasn’t even nominated. Katey Sagal deserves to win everything.

  25. Savannah says:

    Julianna. But I love Mariska. It’s a shame she’s only won one out of twelve seasons. Sad that Kyra was left out this year.

  26. Romain says:

    I’ll be happy whatever the result is, as these six women all excel at their job. As far as the poll is concerned, as much as I want it to go to Julianna Margulies, I voted for Connie Britton, because this is the last year she is eligible for that particular series and I think that might work in her favor.

  27. ingmar says:

    Julianna Marguilles. No further explanation needed.

  28. max says:

    anna torv!!!

  29. nitemar says:

    Kyra Sedgwick is not a contender this year, otherwise could have been a winner again. My take is between Julianna or Mireille Enos.., but Katy Bates could be the element surprise!!

  30. VBarkley says:

    I thought the link was supposed to take us to who Ausiello thought should win?

    Anyway, I said Connie.

  31. Chmarin says:




    No, seriously, Connie Britton has to win this year. If Mariska Hargitay wins, I will freak out and set a kitten on fire. I swear to God.

    • Anon says:

      Care. You can freak out. Mariska is fabulous and you deserve some time another Emmy. And it is really beyond beautiful, a woman of great class.

  32. Pam Burns says:

    Kyra Sedgewick, Anna Torv, Mirielle Enos would be my favs

  33. Captain says:

    CONNIE BRITTON! End of story. Julianna is incredibly overrated (although it might be her terrible personality that puts me off of her).

    • Beatriz says:

      Terrible personality??? oh wow, you are the first person I see who thinks that. I think she’s amazing (not only her acting skills)

      Not judging you though, just commented cause I was really surprise. I respect your opinion :)

  34. AJ says:

    Mariska Hargitay out ‘act’ them all…She’s a real professional!

  35. Fidelio says:

    If we can choose actresses who weren’t nominated, then Emmy Rossum deserves to be mentioned. (Shameless is considered a drama for Emmy purposes.)

    Everyone expected William H. Macy and Joan Cusack to be the stand-outs, and it’s easy to see why, as they’re both terrific actors playing extremely memorable, larger-than-life characters.

    But as soon as the pilot aired, it was clear that the standout was Emmy Rossum – and the rest of the season just confirmed it.

  36. Amy says:

    Connie Britton all the way! Juliana Margulies would be good too. But FNL deserves this win. Connie as Tami Taylor was both fierce (see her stare down of the scumb-bag TA) and heart-breaking (everything about her job opportunity in Philly). She has deserved an Emmy for years for her realistic, subtle, and powerful performance.

  37. Dorothy says:

    Mariska Hargitay, is the best actress ever!

  38. FP says:

    I hope Connie wins, but the right winner would be Anna Torv!

  39. Jenn says:

    No offense to the other actresses but this year belongs to Connie Britton!!! Her and Kyle Chandler both upped their game in a BIG WAY!! They had the most realistic marriage on TV! It would be a total shame if either of them walked away empty handed!

    • Tania says:

      So because “they had the most realistic marriage on TV!” they deserve Emmy wins? It would be a shame if they DO win.

  40. Ivy Castro says:

    HARGITAY♥ HARGITAY♥ HARGITAY♥ No one else deserves to win.

  41. Tania says:

    Julianna Margulies all the way. I hope that The Good Wife does very well come Emmy night. Enough with the overrated Friday Night Lights.

  42. MARISKA says:


  43. Yo Mama says:

    The Emmy is Elizabeth Moss’ to lose this year. Connie Britton was excellent, she has been amazingly consistent, and FNL deserves some wins in the worst way . . . (most notably last year for Zach Gilford in “The Son”) but Britton doesn’t touch what Moss did in Mad Men. The Suitcase was practically tailor-made for Emmy submission and both Moss and Hamm were pitch perfect. The voters will not be able to overlook that. I think it’s possible that Britton could pull off an upset, but this race is really between Margulies and Moss. Moss should take it, I predict she will.
    Also, as Anna Torv was not nominated, I am 100% sure that she will not win. Sorry, Fringe fans.

  44. nanda says:

    I’m between Margulies and Moss. I need to rewatch The Suitcase though, haven’t seen it in a while…

    What the hell is Mireille Enos doing there btw? She’s okay but there were much more deserving actresses (Anna Torv, anyone?). And Hargitay, seriously?

    • Ivy says:

      whats up with you ????… Mariska Hargitay should win!
      She deserves to win for a long time, she has been doing a great job, no one compares to her! is a magnificent woman, don’t underestimate her, SHE WILL WIN!!!!!!!!! HARGITAY I LOVE♥

    • vita magaña says:

      nanda o como carajos te llames….. te voy a decir algo “VETE A LA MIERDA” como esta eso de y Hargitay….
      q putas tienes en la cabeza…… ahhh!!! ya se donde deberia estar tu cerebro tienes caca…. acaso no sabes q MARISKA HARGITAY es la mejor…. sabes mejor ni ubieras comentado……. anda a joder a tu madre mejor si no tiens nada q hacer pero con MARISKA no te metas….

      ELLA GANARA!!!!!

      • PerlaLizeth says:

        ^^^ jaja k chistoso. Pero muy bien echo. es obio k ella deve ganar. la persona k aiga puesto eso a d ser pork no la conose bien, nosave toda las mravillosas cosas k a echo para ayudar a la gente, y no reconose su talento como actriz. Ella es una maravillosa person, mdre, actriz y todo lo k puedan imaginar. ella es mi idolo <3

    • Puupi says:

      You’re a big F U C K E R ;) Mariska is the best ♥ Yeah!! She deserves to win ♥

  45. Samantha says:

    How do you guys know what episodes were submitted?

    I voted for Connie, last chance for her to win for FNL and she has been phenomenal since the beginning.

  46. JohnJohn says:

    It really is a shame that Anna Torv didn’t make the cut. I know the Fringe complaining can be too much, but what she and John Noble did this past season was magical. It is an utter failing that they can’t get mingy Emmy nods, but Hargitay, Bates and The Good Wife guys get in based on name recognition or by simply being a part of Emmy friendly shows. Torv and Noble put in the work and the writing was there to back them up.

    Anyways, I’ll take Britton or Moss FTW.

  47. T says:

    I have such a soft spot for Mariska, lol. I know she’s the one on the list every year, but still, I fell in love with SVU around season 7 because of her performances. And now, with her career on SVU on the downswing, and the show itself coming to an end soon (I would imagine) I just can’t help but cast my vote her way. Even when SVU throws those crazy plots our way, I still watch because of Mariska. As for the actual Emmy, I think it’ll go to Julianna Margulies – I enjoy her performances, as well. :)

  48. Kety says:

    Anna Torv
    Anna Torv
    Anna Torv
    Anna Torv
    Anna Torv
    Anna Torv
    Anna Torv
    Anna Torv
    Anna Torv

  49. Lou says:

    Connie Britton. Fantastic acting in FNL’s last season, and the previous four, long deserved I would think.

  50. Apples says:

    Definitely Connie Britton and all FNL cast and crew. Great great job, the best series ever. Clear eyes, full heart can’t lose. Texas forever!