Emmys 2013: The Supporting Drama Actress Race in Review, Including Our 6 Dream Nominees

Emmy Best Supporting Actress Drama NomineesSince Downton Abbey’s Maggie Smith took home this award not only last year but the one before (though then, the show was competing in the miniseries/movie category), does it really matter who gets nominated? We already know who’s going to win. But, if there was going to be an upset (and no offense to the Dowager Countess, but we’re pulling for one) which actresses would be likeliest to pull it off?

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

Review the following slideshow of the major contenders — including TVLine’s Dream Nominees — then hit the comments to vote for who you think are the six best. And check back over the weekend as we tackle the Reality Series 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. Frank says:

    Where’s Linda Gray? She even made your Performer of the Week this year. Her performance at JR’s funeral was incredible!

    • Lauren says:

      I loved that scene too, but sadly, one “big” episode does not get an Emmy nod in this extremely competitive day and age. Sooo many good actresses out there now.

  2. Diogo says:

    I know its a loooooong shot, but I would really like to see Troian Belisario recognized! She was amazing last season.

    • Rob says:

      Oh honey.

    • Reece says:

      I totally agree! Obviously PLL gets a bad wrap, but she was amazing last season! If the show wasn’t on ABC Family, she would have gotten more recognition. People turn their noses up at that show because it’s marketed towards teens, but it’s a lot better than people realize. We won’t hear her name though. I’ll pull for Kate Mara or Emilia Clarke (she’s got dragons!).

      • A says:

        It’s a guilty pleasure at best and nowhere near quality television. Also, the creators and writers have no idea what they are doing more than half the itme. Troian did give a great performance, but overall the show is not really award-worthy

    • dude says:

      Agreed that she’s an amazing actress on a show undeserving of her talents but she deserves it even more for her performance in Lauren where she plays a rape victim in the military but she’ll never be recognized for it because its a web series. Either way, ABC Family means that they’ll never even bother to look at her submission.

  3. sara says:

    I always find supporting actress the hardest because with so many male-dominated shows it seems like there are more supporting actress roles than anything else. And it’s always SO filled with brilliant actresses. I love every one of these ladies.

  4. Tran says:

    Hayden was great and surprisingly so, but seriously a dream nominee? Of all the possible contenders? No , just no.

    • dude says:

      She doesn’t just deserve dream nominee, she deserves the award.

      • A says:

        Agreed! Without her, Connie Britton (who I still love) alone would not be able to make Nashville as interesting. Also, IMO Juliet’s story was way more interesting than Rayna’s.

    • cc says:

      Why is she considered a supporting actress… that girl’s storyline MADE this season. In reality, both Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere should both have been pushing for Best Actress. But Hayden acted the hell out of her storylines, so I’ll be happy if she’s shown any Emmy love at all…

  5. Monica Potter, Jennifer Carpenter, Hayden Panettiere, Anna Gunn, Archie Panjabi and Christina Hendricks

  6. awalker says:

    My vote is for Olivia Munn as Sloan Sabbith In the newsroom. I thought it was a huge breakout performance for her and one of the best on the entire series.

  7. Wild cards: Morena Baccarin, Olivia Munn and Regina King

  8. Bellamy Young is so unexpectedly amazing in such an unexpectedly complex character that I’d be so happy to see her nominated.

  9. LMSO says:

    No Sandra Oh? Her performance as Cristina Yang in the wake of the plane crash was spellbinding.

  10. tvaddict says:

    Hayden and Monica DEFINITELY need a nomination. Both were heartbreaking this season!

  11. Eric7740 says:

    Christina Hendricks
    Regina King
    Hayden Panitierre
    Sandra Oh
    Chandra Wilson

  12. Ryan says:

    I’m pulling for Rose Byrne! Glenn Close (deservedly) got loads of attention for DAMAGES, but Byrne was so good as Ellen Parsons, especially in the final season. This is our last chance to honor her for that great character!

    • Gm465271 says:

      YES!! I agree 100%. Would love to see both Byrne and Close nominated for an amazing and satisfying final season. Had me on the edge of my seat!

  13. marge says:

    Michelle Fairley and Monica Potter YES YES please!
    And not that anyone from Grey’s Anatomy will be nominated (network show + 9 years old = they don’t care), but I would substitute Chandra Wilson for Sara Ramirez or the ever-wonderful-but-never-honored Sandra Oh.

    • dude says:

      My vote would be Jessica Capshaw, especially for her work in the finale.

      • Sam says:

        Jessica Capshaw is good, but she doesn’t compare with Chandra Wilson, Sara Ramirez, and Sandra Oh. I doubt she will ever be considered over those three.

      • A says:

        I really found Jessica Capshaw one of the worst parts of the season. Maybe its because Arizona is one of my least favorite characters, but this season she made Arizona such an unlikable character. Well I guess the writing did, but I really think Sara Ramirez has performed superbly over several seasons and deserves recognition for that

  14. AB says:

    There should be a seperate catigory for cable channels. I’ve never seen most of these shows. Network channels have to adhere to diffenrt rules and regulations. Just doesn’t seem fair to regular channe l shows.

    • marge says:


    • C says:

      It’s all about quality though. Christine Baranski and Archie Panjabi have been nominated for three straight years for The Good Wife, which airs on broadcast AND is cable quality. I’m not saying that a lot of greats on network television don’t get snubbed – they do – but that’s the nature of the Emmys. Splitting the categories would open it up for more nominations and more wins, but take away this notion that strong acting is strong acting. I think Sandra Oh or Monica Potter or Archie Panjabi have acting chops and storylines comparable to Elizabeth Moss, Christina Hendricks, or Anna Gunn. They should compete against each other. I just think that the Academy should be more willing to look at a broader field of play. I think the only category that might truly benefit from a separate division is the Best Drama category (and maybe Best Comedy), mainly because the formatting is so different. 22 vs 13 episodes is a big gap. Budget and time to shoot are both drastically different so while I’m not sure that it affects the acting much, I do think it affects the pacing and structure of a show.

      • johnhelvete says:

        My understanding is that cable shows, at least hour long dramas, don’t on average get more days to shoot each episode than a network drama. There is a better chance that nearly all the scripts are done in advance when the show is 12 or 13 episodes, but if you read interviews with the creators/writers of cable shows they are often still writing episodes during filming of the season.

        As for the 22 episode vs 13, there is nothing stopping CBS from ordering fewer episodes of The Good Wife, for example 15 episodes like The Following is doing for Fox, and giving The Good Wife an even better chance to compete at the Emmys. Though the best drama shows trying to get an Emmy nomination are only allowed to send dvds of six episodes anyway and one could argue that by doing 22 episodes that a network show has more episodes to chose from.

        Also there is nothing stopping ABC, NBC and Fox from doing shorter runs of series, and next season several shows are doing that. Lastly when ABC and NBC programs roughly 18 hours a week of programming a week, and Fox programs around 13 hours, why can’t each network devote one hour a week to a prestige show?

    • greysfan says:

      Been saying this for years but it will never happen and in a way its kinda surprising considering the award show airs on a broadcast net. Why not split the awards up. You could have more awards more quickly instead of filling the show with so much fluff. As usual 85% of the nominees will come from cable and the great broadcast shows continually miss out when imo some of the best acting comes from broadcast tv.

      Cable is lucky because they get 10-12 episode seasons max (most of them anyway) Broadcast has to have 22-24 on average and its a tough gig. I really believe the awards should be split for this very reason. Could you imagine shows like Grey’s, Scandal, Castle, Once, Revenge, Bones, Parenthood and others with 10 episode seasons? They could have incredible seasons but because broadcast needs longer series this is what happens.

  15. Aimee says:

    I would love to see Lana Parrilla from once upon a time recognised, I think she is incredibly talented!

  16. Adam says:

    My predictions:

    Maggie Smith (I don’t particularly enjoy, but its inevitable)
    Anna Gunn
    Christina Hendricks
    Monica Potter
    Christine Baranski
    Wild Card – likely Elizabeth McGovern or Morena Baccarin

  17. Seth says:

    Michelle Fairley surely deserves a nomination, she was phenomenal this season. Whenever I watched her in the past I always wondered what the wonderful Jennifer Ehle would have been like in the role, but this season that never crossed my mind.

    I agree about Monica Potter though.

  18. Juan says:

    Monica Potter deserves to win this, she was increadibly amazing and she just has to. There are no words to describe how amazing she was. Following her I would have Hayden Panettierre as she was a surprisingly amazing actress, and no one can say differently, I mean the finale alone is just an increadible performance. Bellamy Young would be my next choice with the complex character she has created. My next choices would be Madeline Stowe, Chandra Wilson, and Sandra Oh. They were all freaking amazing as well. Though most of these are long shot this would be such an amazing line up

  19. Katie says:

    Michelle Fairley and Emilie Clark for sure. The show is fantastic, but their performances have carried so much of it. Love that these critically acclaimed shows have such powerful women.

  20. lyn says:

    Of all of these shows, I only watch Downton Abbey, so, Maggie Smith.

  21. MysteryObsessed says:

    Because I don’t watch most of those shows, I can only rate the actresses performances I’ve seen so – Jennifer Carpenter! That woman has been on fire for the last 7 years and the blind Emmys ignore her.
    Also Morena does a great job, and though I’m basically in love with Daenerys, Michelle Fairley did an amazing job this season

  22. MrMank says:

    I’m hearing so many good things about Monica Potter’s performance that I’m really pulling for her to get a nomination just on second hand accounts. But from what I’ve actually seen, I am 100% behind Jennifer Carpenter. This was her season on Dexter…from the first moment to the last. Absolutely brilliant performance.

    • F says:

      Yes to this! Jennifer Carpenter was amazing this season, she deserves at least a nomination. And I haven’t seen Parenthood but I’ve only heard great things about Monica Potter so I’m hoping she gets a nom too :)

  23. Bell says:

    BELLAMY YOUNG & HAYDEN PANETTIERE. i wish bellamy was one of your dream nominees too. hayden was shockingly good this season. no one expected to care for her at the start, but her material got better and meatier with each episode and she rocked it. the finale would be a PERFECT episode for her to submit.

    and bellamy was outstanding this season. mellie could TOTALLY have been an eye-roll-inducing and “get her off my screen!” villain, but the writing for her is just so delicious and bellamy rocks it. that scene where she tells fitz off and compares him to his dad could be her emmy reel.

    i am so rooting for new blood in these emmy categories. i know all the usual favorites and their actors (the good wife, mad men, etc) are all still great, but there are SO many good people on TV these days and it would be nice to have some darn diversity from the same damn names over and over.

  24. Sara says:

    Jennifer Carpenter, please! Pretty please!

  25. Anthony says:

    The absence of Linda Gray from this list is stunning. Her eulogy at JR’s funeral was one of the best dramatic performances of the year and had decades worth of emotion built into it.

  26. cjeffery7 says:


  27. Madeleine says:

    No Linda Gray??

    You’ve got to be kidding me.

  28. Sacha says:

    You forgot LANA PARRILLA from once upon a time!!

  29. Brigette says:

    Jennifer Carpenter owns this category. Period. If she’s not nominated, I’m not even sure if I can watch the telecast. (Who am I kidding? I’ll watch, but bitterly.)

  30. Paula says:

    Megan Hilty but NO Linda Gray? Wow…

  31. Matt says:

    Chandra Wilson’s performance in the last few epps of Greys was utterly amazing. Bellamy Young was phenomenal and Madeleine Stowe was very intriguing. And If Hayden Pannetiere and Monica Potter don’t score nominations, than there’s something wrong. Anna Gunn and the one from Homeland are also wonderful actresses. This is a toughy this year. I’d have to say tht Bellamy Young, Pannetiere, and Potter are the best and most likely to score nods for broadcast television. Wilson and Stowe could, but the other 3 are more likely

  32. Mike R. says:

    Michelle Fairley deserves the award even If only for her performance in episode 9. It was amazing.

    • Rivera says:

      that episode can overshadow ANYTHING! but she was amazing through out in her portrayal of her character.. but She NAILED it at the Red Wedding!

  33. ed says:

    blah blah is in a tv show? good for her!

  34. Bellamy Young, Hayden Panitierre and of course Lana Parilla!

  35. Leah says:

    Monica Potter, FTW. Couldn’t Hayden and Connie both justifibly submit themselves as lead actresses? Or does Emmy not allow that?

  36. Emily says:

    Jennifer Carpenter. She actually managed to balance the ick factor of her incestusous feelings and horror of finding out her brother’s actually a serial killer. I never would’ve thought it was possible, but she made it feel real. It was amazing.

    • MrMank says:

      In complete agreement! I was real skeptical as to how they would sell her not turning him in without being preposterous. Well, she made me a believer from start to finish!

  37. JJ says:

    I’m so glad that you recognized the brilliance of abigail spencer’s performance. More people need to watch Rectify.

  38. PFitzDC says:

    Hayden and Madeleine as SUPPORTING actresses? I think a better case could be made for them being co-leads… And while I loved, loved, loved Michelle Fairley’s last episode, let’s be honest…she didn’t have a whole lot to do in most episodes this season. Not only was she missing from a few, but there were some where she had only a single line!

  39. JAMANDAFAN says:

    I haven’t seen a lot of these shows this season so I don’t know who had the best performance. From the shows I did watch though, Monica Potter and Jennifer Carpenter deserve to be on that list of nominees.

  40. Mikael says:

    Jennifer Carpenter for the win. She was amazing this season on Dexter, especially in that climactic scene in the finale. If not her, then definitely Michelle Fairley. She SOLD that scene in Episode 9.

  41. carly says:

    Hayden Panettiere deserves a nom and the win IMO. Her performances in the last four episodes of this past season on Nashville were outstanding and Emmy worthy. The scene where she (Juliette) is backstage at the CMA Awards right after her mom died is perfection.

  42. Tyler says:


  43. CW says:

    Monica Potter, is incredibly deserving of recgnition. But really I’m really surprised you didn’t include Lana Parilla. She does an outstanding job week in and week out making us care for an extremely flawed character. Even when the writing is not up to snuff, her performance is always top notch.

  44. Ally Oop says:

    I always really disliked Hayden Panetierre before but this season on Nashville she was just awesome. She really was invested in her character and with such heavy storylines she pulled them off beyond expectations. She was fantastic this season and her performance throughout the season deserves an Emmy.

  45. tahina says:

    I’m joining the Chandra Wilson and Sandra Oh cheerleaders. :D

  46. dude says:

    Hayden Panettiere was one of the best performances on television this year (if not for Tatiana Maslany, she’d be THE performance of the year) she deserves to be nominated more than anyone. Unfortunately the award is practically pre-decided for Maggie Smith.

  47. RyanC says:

    I loved Jennifer Carpenter’s work last season on Dexter, but I would happily see her snubbed if it means Michelle Fairley gets a nomination. Her performance in episode 9 of Game of Thrones will stay with me probably for the rest of my life, and that’s not an exaggeration. The range of believable emotions that she displays in the space of 5 minutes is one of the greatest performances I think I’ve ever seen on television.

  48. grace says:

    Jessica Capshaw did a fabulous job with her characters amputee storyline on Grey’s Anatomy. Her work should have put her on that list!

  49. andyman says:

    um, Lily Rabe…?

  50. Bobby says:

    Monica Potter(!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), Jennifer Carpenter and Bellamy Young please! I’d also love Megan Hilty as I find her beyond worthy, but I don’t see them recognizing Smash at all.