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

Law & Order: SVU‘s stranglehold on the Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama category will come to a halt when the 2011 Emmy Awards take place on Sept. 18 in Los Angeles. Indeed, while an actress from NBC’s long-running crime procedural has taken home the statuette every year since 2007, none of this year’s seven nominees has crossed paths with SVU‘s Detectives Benson and Stabler.

Which one of this year’s contenders most deserves to take that proud walk to the podium on Emmy night? Take our poll below to vote for your favorite — TVLine voting closes Sept. 13, so act now! — then hit the comments to justify your pick!

Every day 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. Liz says:

    Well, even though this show is going to hell, I must say Loretta Devine is really great in “Grey’s”, but then again, Alfre Woodard was amazing as Lafayette’s insane mom, so…

  2. Rebecca Parker says:

    Julia Stiles was hauntingly perfect as Lumen, so she has my vote. However, I also thought Randi Heller was a hoot as Ms. Blankenship on Mad Men, and Cara Buono was great as well. Alfre Woodard was good, but the nomination is for her name more than her performance, which was tiny and nothing to write home about. The rest I haven’t seen (although I do love me some Mary McDonnell/Roslin)

  3. Sean D says:

    Joan Cusack gave the best performance on television this year, of any kind, in ‘Shameless,’ in my humble opinion. It’s sort of a bizarre category- she probably missed like 2 episodes. Shameless got robbed over all, but I’m glad at the very least it’s most impressive element was recognized.

    • Kirstin says:

      Totally agree with you. I loved Julia as Lumen and I won’t be sad to see her take it if she does but Joan was the stand out in my mind.

    • Katie says:

      Joan Cusak all the way! That show is fantastic all around and I at least wish Bill Macy got a nom as well. Julia Stiles was good on Dexter as well

  4. MrMank says:

    That’s great that the voting is open until 9/13, but aren’t the guest actor and actress awards announced on the 10th at the Creative Arts?

  5. MrMank says:

    Haven’t watched season 4 of Mad Men yet (thank you, Netflix!!), but even if I did I think my vote needs to go to McDonnell if for no other reason than she was so horribly snubbed for her four seasons of brilliant work on Battlestar Galactica!!

    • Jimmy says:

      You should probably blame the studio since they control whether or not it appers on Netflix.

    • Meg says:

      Until this week, I would not have supported Mary McDonnell for this award, but her performance this past Monday clinched it for me. Very impressive.

  6. Steven says:

    It has to go to Joan Cusack. She was amazing on Shameless and the show itself was completely robbed!

  7. Melissa says:

    Long live Mrs. Blankenship.

  8. V says:

    Where is Margo Martindale for Justified? Mags was GREAT!!

  9. Brandan says:

    Julia was really great in Dexter, surprisingly so even. Still, Randee was able to steal scenes from Jon Hamm. That’s no easy feat.

  10. MikeBlunden says:

    Margo was nominated in the Supporting Actress in a Drama Series category.

  11. Buffy Freak says:

    This category has gotten ridiculous. Julia Stiles was indeed very good…but she was in every episode of Dexter last season. She should be in the supporting or even the lead actress category. And Mary McDonnell seemed to be in a majority of The Closer episodes.

  12. SJwashere says:

    Mary of course! She was ripped off by not getting the nom for BSG.
    I also thought Julia Stiles was surprisingly good.

  13. Summer says:

    Loretta Devine. Always Loretta Devine. The woman is a phenomenal talent.

  14. Erica says:

    My pick is for Alfre Woodard. I love her on “True Blood”

  15. Natalie says:

    Loretta Devine. Hands down. I wish Shonda and Co. would get rid of annoying cast members and make Loretta a lead. She steals any episode with her in it.

  16. Geoff says:

    Season 5 of Dexter may have been a total disappointing mess, but Julia Stiles was magnificent and a complete surprise for me. She gets my vote. Though I’d be happy with McDonnell or Woodard too.

  17. Nita says:

    Actually Michael, you are wrong. Joan Cusack was on SVU, I think it was this past season. She definitely had dealings w/ Benson and Stabler. She is awesome, so I pick her to win.

  18. Chmarin says:

    Julia Stiles & Loretta Devine in the lead. OH SHOCKER.

    Mary McDonnell is ridiculously awesome on The Closer. She deserves it.
    And although I love Shameless and I love Joan Cusack, her character is just way over the top.

  19. anna says:

    This category is ridiculous. Most of these actresses should be in Supporting.

  20. Carolyn says:

    Jennifer Love Hewitt was robbed…her performance on SVU was amazing!

  21. Sarah says:


  22. Teresa says:

    Julia Stiles should win.

  23. Anthony says:

    Next Year my vote goes to Maura Tierney on Rescue for this current season. This year however I say Julia Stiles on Dexter.

  24. Matt says:

    As much as I liked Joan Cusack in the should have been nominated for more Shameless – I will go with the elegance that is Carla Buono. She gives a very understated performance on Mad Men. She reminds me of Grace Kelly in that role.

  25. Matt W says:

    I thought Carla Buono was incredibly annoying on Mad Men.

    Julia Stiles was great.

    • Amber says:

      I think her character was supposed to be a little annoying and overbearing because Matt Weiner wanted the audience to root for Don to end up with that overly boring French Canadian secretary who’s name I can’t even remember. I liked Cara Buono, but then again, I usually like female characters who are annoying and overbearing.

  26. AL says:

    How can anyone say that Julia Stiles is a good actress? She’s terrible! Her acting is so flat and phony! She doesn’t deserve any award!

  27. sash fan says:

    where is MAGS from Justified?

  28. Alex says:

    Mary needs this after she was ripped for her fantastic work on bsg. She is beyond amazing.

  29. Amber says:

    Half of these shows I don’t watch, so I won’t even pretend to guess who will actually win. I did vote for Julia Stiles though because I’m one of those weird people who actually liked the last season of Dexter. Just please God don’t let Grey’s Anatomy win for any single Emmy category. I used to be a huge fan, but that show is HORRIBLE now. It doesn’t deserve anything other than a kick in the pants for its bad behavior.

  30. G-Mom says:

    I didn’t vote because I couldn’t find Jennifer Love Hewitt’s name anywhere! I didn’t know she wasn’t nominated! I never thought she was a great actress, but she changed my mind on SVU. I thought surely she would be nominated. Did the other shows complain because SVU won all the time??

  31. Debbie Caudill says:

    I am so mad at awards shows…It was a crime that Mary McDonnell was not even nominated for Battlestar Galactica during it’s run and that was the best storyline EVER! I have not seen any of the guest appearances nominated except for hers, and I think she is deserving of the award. I just noticed the comment…comment “Don’t frakkin’ curse…LOL”

  32. Dan G. says:

    Julia Stiles was my favorite, but a very very VERY close second is Loretta Devine, who, as always, was divine. If I had a real ballot, I would probably vote for her, since she is completely and entirely under appreciated.

  33. Amy says:

    Randee Heller, all the way. Julia Stiles was brilliant, but as others have said, the prominence of her role on “Dexter” means that she really doesn’t belong in this category. I think Lorette Devine and Mary McDonnell are awesome, but Heller’s work as Miss Blankenship is the embodiment of what it means to take a small part and make it shine.

  34. kierahillmin says:

    Julia Stiles really impressed me with her performance, so, my vote goes to her for the win.

  35. Bonnie says:

    Mary McDonnell has deserved an Emmy for years. She was beyond amazing in BSG!!!!
    And the character of Raydor that Mary plays in The Closer, fans love to hate her. If you knew Mary, she is nothing like Raydor!! That’s true acting deserving of an Emmy.

  36. Cynthia says:

    Mary McDonnell absolutely should win an Emmy for her role in “The Closer” The role she has played this season is so crucial to whether or not this season’s story line really brings things home for Brenda. It took me a while to warm up to her character and there are times she get’s under my skin but as far as winning “Most Definitely”…

  37. Rebecca L says:

    Mary McDonnell, no question. She is the reason I watch “The Closer”. After her beyond-magnificent performance on BSG, she deserves a huge Thank You for continuing to grace television with her talented presence.

  38. james says:

    have to agree with the jennifer love hewitt supporters on this one, she had the best guest performance by a mile. have to admit i’ve always felt she was talented but never given a great role…thanks for proving me right JLH hope more great roles come your way.