Reigning champ Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife ) will try to make it back-to-back wins, while Glenn Close goes for a hat trick after winning in 2008 and 2009 for Damages . (Margulies and Close each took home statuettes in different categories back in 1995 as well — the former as Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for ER, the latter as Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Special for Serving in Silence: The Margarethe Cammermeyer Story.)
Speaking of 1995, that’s the last time Claire Danes found herself in the Lead Actress in a Drama Series race — for the acclaimed but short-lived high-school drama My So-Called Life. In the interim, she’s picked up the prize as Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie for 2010’s Temple Grandin, and now returns to the Drama Series category as the star of Showtime’s riveting freshman drama Homeland.
Kathy Bates, meanwhile, finds herself in the race for the second straight year for her now canceled NBC drama Harry’s Law. That nomination, along with a second one as Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for Two and a Half Men, mark Bates’ tenth and eleventh chances to end her Emmy bridesmaid streak.
Mad Men‘s Elisabeth Moss will also seek to put to rest the phrase “it’s an honor just to be nominated,” as she’s celebrating her fourth straight nod (three in the Lead Actress race, one in the Supporting Actress category) as part of AMC’s acclaimed period drama.
Rounding out the race is Emmy newcomer Michelle Dockery of Downton Abbey, who’ll try to ride her PBS’ series wave of 16 nominations to a win over her better-known rivals.
What would you do if you had the power to send one of these fine actors to the podium when the Emmys are handed out in September? Take our poll below to vote for your favorite — TVLine voting closes Sept. 14, 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!