Emmys

Emmys 2012: The Drama Actress Race in Review, Including Our Dream Nominees

One of the big questions surrounding this year’s Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama race: Can anyone beat Claire Danes? She hasn’t even scored a nomination yet, but Homeland‘s leading lady is already considered the frontrunner to grab gold in September. But Danes’ road to Emmy glory is paved with two big obstacles, one of ‘em named Julianna Margulies (last year’s winner for The Good Wife). The other: Elisabeth Moss (the Mad Men actress is long overdue).

And speaking of long overdue, Sons of Anarchy anti-heroine Katey Sagal is once again gunning for her first-ever nod. If she manages to make the cut, all bets are off.

EMMYS | American Horror Story Enters Miniseries Races, Downton Abbey Moves to Drama Category

More Emmy Races In Review | Outstanding Drama Series | Lead Drama Actor | Supporting Drama Actor | Supporting Drama Actress | Outstanding Comedy Series | Lead Comedy Actor | Lead Comedy Actress | Supporting Comedy Actor | Supporting Comedy Actress | Outstanding Reality-Competition Series | Outstanding Movie/Miniseries

Review this slideshow of the major contenders — including TVLine’s Dream Nominees — then vote below for who you think are the six best. And check back next week as we tackle the supporting races!



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Comments (491)

  • WHERE IS STANA KATIC ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

    Comment by xxxxx – June 6, 2012 01:00 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Emily Deschanel! She is SO talented and always gets screwed over.

    Comment by Chelsea – June 6, 2012 07:08 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Stana Katic of Castle. Sadly she wont even be an option, unless the Emmy’s people branches out a little and includes a “Dramady” category, cause that’s what Castle is. It is not TVLine’s fault people, that Stana’s not there, it’s the Emmy’s people for not having the presence of mind to add another category to the pool – and they should, because so many great actresses misses out, because they’re in a “Dramady” series. Many of those “dramady” actresses are sometime better at the “drama’, than any actresses in a “drama” series. But that’s just my opinion. So, please calm down.

    Comment by Charlotte (@Charlie1977) – June 6, 2012 08:21 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I think that is ridiculous ALL comedies have under tones of drama and ALL dramas have under tones of comedy so calling ONE of the best dramas a dramadey is a disgrace.

      Comment by KenyAlways – June 13, 2012 08:09 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • STANA KATIC DESERVES AN EMMY AWARD AT LEAST THIS TIME!!!but she’s not even on the list??!! Gosh!!what the hell is WRONG with you??!! She should WIN! THAT’S WHAT WE ASIANS SAY

    Comment by Kad_Imi – June 6, 2012 09:06 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Claire Danes more than deserves it!

    Comment by Damhill – June 6, 2012 10:02 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Jennifer Morrison and Julianna Margulies

    Comment by Mal – June 6, 2012 10:10 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Maggie Q deserves this more than anyone.

    Comment by americanme – June 6, 2012 11:58 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Miss Stana Katic for “Castle”. Watch “Kill Shot” (Season 4; episode 9) and I dare you to tell me that was not what Emmy nomnations and Emmys were created for.

    Comment by Shannon – June 6, 2012 01:32 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Queen of all roles must be Anna Torv Fringe

    Comment by Christine_Lee – June 6, 2012 06:00 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The one and only STANA KATIC should be nominated and get EMMY this year. Period.

    Comment by KalliopePL – June 7, 2012 12:39 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Maggie Q

    Comment by Lee Albrecht – June 7, 2012 03:34 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • just voted for Stana Katic

    Comment by Kanchan – June 7, 2012 05:04 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Lauren Graham!!!!!

    Comment by Hybrid87 – June 7, 2012 07:27 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Stana Katic ended last year with a fabulous episode and continued her talented portrayal of Kate Beckett this year. She definitely deserves a nomination.

    Comment by SCLady – June 7, 2012 08:52 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I totally agree but until they split up the awards for both cable and broadcast it will never happen. So many great actresses get snubbed in awards shows, Ellen Pompeo included. She has done some amazing work over the years and still snubbed after 8 seasons. Stana was awesome this season and it wasn’t just a couple of episodes either. It was the journey of the season. Cable shows are short and sweet which is why they are considered “better quality” but making broadcast tv is hard. I would like to see cable shoot out 22 episode seasons and keep that quality. It just doesn’t happen. This is why i believe Cable and Broadcast need to be split into categories and then have 3 overall awards for best show, actress and actor regardless of genre.

      Comment by greysfan – June 7, 2012 11:39 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Emmy Rossum, Claire Danes, Katey Sagal, Elizabeth Moss, Lauren Graham, and Monica Potter would be my dream nominees. I’d love for Emmy to win an Emmy! But I’m positive Claire will, which is totally fine with me, she did amazing work!

    Comment by Melissa – June 7, 2012 12:09 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Anna Torv. That’s all.

    Comment by KC – June 7, 2012 09:28 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • where the hell is Stana katic from Castle????? she deserves one!!!

    Comment by caskett – June 8, 2012 03:00 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • STANA KATIC! STANA KATIC! STANA KATIC ! STANA KATIC! STANA KATIC! STANA KATIC! STANA KATIC! STANA KATIC! STANA KATIC! STANA KATIC! STANA KATIC! STANA KATIC! STANA KATIC! STANA KATIC! STANA KATIC! STANA KATIC! STANA KATIC! STANA KATIC! STANA KATIC! STANA KATIC! STANA KATIC! STANA KATIC! STANA KATIC! STANA KATIC! STANA KATIC! STANA KATIC! STANA KATIC! STANA KATIC!

    Comment by KenyAlways – June 8, 2012 07:01 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Stana Katic deserves to win this Emmy! Not only is she an extraordinary actress, she is extremely versatile and very intelligent! She has not been spoiled by all the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, and perhaps that is why she is too often overlooked! In Castle..she is the lead woman character and her dipiction of a cop suffering from PTSD was right on! I know! I have it and have known others with it! She was right on! Even when she ducked to the street! I had a college professor who did that if you dropped a book accidently in his class. He was a WWII vet! Get real, like Stana, and give her what she truly deserves!

    Comment by Stana Forever (@CelticLady_51) – June 8, 2012 09:30 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • this comment was brought to you by exclamation point!

      Comment by barf – June 8, 2012 11:14 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • VOTE FOR MARISKA HARGITAY

    Comment by SVUISFOREVER – June 8, 2012 07:11 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • STANA KATIC PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Comment by Caskett Forever – June 8, 2012 08:54 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • STANA…..

    Comment by Caskett Forever – June 8, 2012 08:55 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • VOTE FOR MARISKA HARGITAY …. VOTE FOR MARISKA HARGITAY …. VOTE FOR MARISKA HARGITAY …. VOTE FOR MARISKA HARGITAY ….. VOTE FOR MARISKA HARGITAY …. VOTE FOR MARISKA HARGITAY

    Comment by Brazil♥Mariska (@MariskaFan_BR) – June 9, 2012 09:56 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • VOTE FOR MARISKA HARGITAY …. VOTE FOR MARISKA HARGITAY …. VOTE FOR MARISKA HARGITAY …. VOTE FOR MARISKA HARGITAY ….. VOTE FOR MARISKA HARGITAY …. VOTE FOR MARISKA HARGITAY

    Comment by Brazil♥Mariska (@MariskaFan_BR) – June 9, 2012 10:01 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • There is no doubt in my mind that Maggie Q deserves this. Her performance in Nikita’s “Wrath” couldn’t have been done better by anyone else!

    Comment by Anita – June 9, 2012 10:23 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • One word, one name. “Wrath”, Maggie Q.

    Comment by Ducky (@forensicduck) – June 9, 2012 03:20 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Where is Stana Katic? Where???

    Comment by saragina85 – June 10, 2012 04:03 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Anna Torv !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    She is the best !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Comment by Andrés – June 10, 2012 09:18 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Jennifer Morrison

    Comment by Kristen – June 10, 2012 10:37 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Stana Katic

    Comment by Kate – June 10, 2012 06:28 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Agreed. She was the standout this season!

      Comment by Coco – June 13, 2012 05:08 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • where is S.T.A.N.A K.A.T.I.C?????? Her job is B.R.I.L.L.I.A.N.T. Maybe she isn´t in the list cos she is I.N.C.O.M.P.A.R.A.B.L.E., I can´t find another reason. ;)

    Comment by Paola – June 11, 2012 07:05 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • THAT MUST BE THE REASON BECAUSE ANY OTHER REASON DOES MAKE ANY SENSE

      Comment by KenyAlways – June 13, 2012 08:03 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Maggie Q deserves all the awards! For leading actress especially! She’s flawless and perfect! Why isn’t she nominated?

    Comment by patty – June 12, 2012 10:54 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I had never really thought about this candidate before but after watching her this season where the heck is Stana Katic?

    Comment by Coco – June 13, 2012 05:03 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I watch several prime time dramas for my job and what I will say is that Stana earned her Emmy in season 3 but season four it would be a crime for her to not make that ballot. Kill Shot was just one of the many episodes that she owned the show and showed just how much of a talent she is. Wake up Emmy voters! You have your lead actress right here!

    Comment by Coco – June 13, 2012 05:06 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Castle is an amazing show with extradinary actors and actresses that deserve to atleast be nominated I am very annoyed that the consider it a dramadey its not yes there is some comedy aspects but even comedies have some drama aspects and there not considered comedas or something Castle and Castle’s actress and actors should be included in any drama related nominations.

    Comment by KenyAlways – June 13, 2012 08:02 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Why is Jennifer Morrison even considered? Is this a serious poll?

    Comment by Mairn – June 13, 2012 09:10 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Jen got from several professional critics good performance reviews.She is beloved by the fans as you can see here and on other polls so it may be true that the poll is serious. Let it go, TVline commentators. The JMo b*tch fest was allways annoying at this place and is still annoying. Stop it,please!

      Comment by Gobby – June 13, 2012 02:27 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • It´s my opinion so get over it. She is good in one scene and bad in ten. That % doesn´t make her a good actress. I´m a fan of OUAT and most the time i find her performance embarrasing and over the top. Other times i think she nails her scenes but i can count those times with the fingers of my two hands.

        Comment by Mairn – June 15, 2012 04:25 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • Uhmmmm Lisa Edelstein-troll-fans stop it; no one cares about your delusional hatred

          Comment by sara – June 16, 2012 04:33 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
          • No, this is actually a person with a different opinion. Don´t try to justify it making me fan of other people. And reading reactions from other people and critics i know i´m not alone here. If you think she is amazing and Emmy worthy good for you. I think she is untalented and that her presence brings down the quality of the show.

            Comment by Mairn – June 20, 2012 04:37 PM PDT  
          • I feel the need to defend the poster above. As far i´ve seen on Twitter, the few people who actively hate on Jen are indeed LE fans. They are an awful, trollish bunch and are pretty obsessed with Jen. Something i can`t understand, if i don`t like someone, i don`t care about their career anymore and i wouldn`t comment here or somewhere else.
            I`ve read several good reviews of Jen too, so don`t generalize your opinion that everyone thinks she is untalented. She is performing a very difficult, flawed character and she is doing a good job with the material she gets and the writers didn`t mean it allways good with her, IMO, Who wants to be dumber than a potato-sac?
            Additionally, of course she is noticeable, Emma is no whimsical, theatrical fairytale character, she is rather realistically dark, informed by her real life environment.

            Comment by @Mairn – June 24, 2012 06:29 AM PDT  
  • IF MARISKA DOESN’T WIN I WILL RIOT!

    Comment by Adra – June 13, 2012 11:42 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • where the hell is Maggie Q on that list she should be on the top of the list she really desrve it she really incredible

    Comment by b.afifa (@foufana95) – June 13, 2012 04:48 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • WTF!!!! Where is Stana Katic…. I’m sorry but I think this women is brilliant, she conveys so much without even having to speak. Amazing performances this season, sad to think she will be over looked :(

    Comment by Sam – June 14, 2012 06:56 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I think Maggie Q has been Outstandingly great all throught the two seasons of Nikita and its time for her get some recognition.How can Shane and Lyndsy get nominated for the Supporting roles without their Lead? Maggie Q is amazing and people should know that already.

    Comment by Abigael – June 14, 2012 09:47 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Jennifer Morrison

    Comment by navistart – June 16, 2012 04:26 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • this def needs to go to Maggie Q. She is so amazingly perfect. you people obviously cant see that. i mean look at all the comments. most of them are wanting Maggie Q to be the one to get the emmy.

    Comment by Meghan – June 16, 2012 07:57 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Julianna Margulies, ‘The Good Wife’
    Jennifer Morrison, ‘Once Upon a Time’
    Elisabeth Moss, ‘Mad Men’
    Glenn Close, ‘Damages’

    Comment by M.G. – June 17, 2012 06:23 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Maggie Q should be on that list

    Comment by Sophie – June 19, 2012 02:43 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Someone needs to send the nominators a friggin link to “Kill Shot”. If that’s not Emmy material then i seriously don’t know WTF Emmy material is. Stana Katic is so underrated, :’(

    Comment by Lynsey – June 19, 2012 04:29 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • “Underated?” seriously??! About a decade ago- even longer- actresses considered ‘Emmy worthy’ actually were worth the title: Kelli Williams, Laura Innes, Camryn Manhein, Kim Delaney, Christine Lahti, Allison Janney, Stockard Channing, Calista Flockhart,Gillian Anderson, Sela Ward, to name a few.

      Stana Katic is by no means as strong an actress as any of the above. Her whole look is manufactured to manipulate the audience; she’s so unattainably attractive and styled. Take that away and she’s just another B-actress who could never hold her own on the big screen. I understand the appeal, and the two leads’ chemistry on Castle no doubt has a significant fandom like that of the X-Files. But you can’t even compare the level of talent from Katic to Gillian Anderson.

      This is what I mean by manipulation: since her role on The Walking Dead Sarah Wayne Callies has been harshly labelled as “ugly”, “whore”, etc by viewers and fans. Purely because her character (surviving a zombie apocalypse) is usually caked in dirt and sweat, and because Lori Grimes is often written with villainous qualities. Doesn’t matter that Callies delivers some of the best emotionally charged and stirring performances I’ve ever seen on the small screen- no less on a show that isn’t exactly based on reality. When Callies played Doctor Sara Tancredi on Prison Break she received a warmer reception by viewers and had a larger fanbase.Why? Nice hair, make up, girl next door appeal. It’s a trick networks have used for years, but for me a good actress doesn’t need to rely on wardrobe or sex appeal.
      Stana Katic is one of those actresses who- strip away her obvious physical attributes- is about as ‘Emmy worthy’ as Amanda Peet is ‘Oscar worthy’.

      Comment by Wilks – June 19, 2012 10:09 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Seriously????? You need to write all of that — hate much? Stana Katic is a superb actress.

        Comment by tim – June 22, 2012 10:56 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Sarah Wayne Callies is phenomenal. I’m constantly amazed by her dramatic abilities but also disappointed that just because TWD is a genre show Callies is always overlooked. It’s not her fault the show paints her in such an ugly light (her character borders on bipolar, thanks to inconsistent writing). People love to hate Lori Grimes, but I mostly put that down to viral venting of message board and tumblr trolls.
    Callies not only delivers powerful and brave performances but her character looks and acts like a real woman- not some formulated, cookie-cutter phony. I don’t know how people can get so into American TV shows sometimes- doesn’t the fact that most actresses don’t look like normal women look break the illusion of the character?

    Comment by Wilks – June 19, 2012 09:26 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I think it is pretty much a given that Claire Danes is going to win, and she deserves it too.

    Comment by Connor – June 22, 2012 07:21 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Nothing is a given, the emmys are a bit more serious, they have to submit one episode and it’s all based on that. Personally, I think Claire danes should NOT win.

      Comment by tim – June 22, 2012 10:57 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • ok, just finished watching Homeland — it is nowhere near best of anything — and Claire danes has got to be playing one of the most annoying characters on television.

    Comment by sam – June 22, 2012 10:55 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Ellen Pompeo
    Ginnifer Goodwin
    Jennifer Morrison

    Comment by Katy – June 23, 2012 05:07 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • ELLEN POMPEO!!!!! alll the way. she is one of my favorites on the best show on tv. <3 (grey's anatomy)

    Comment by Miranda – June 24, 2012 01:38 PM PDT  Reply To This Post

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