Emmys 2015: Who Should Win Best Lead Actress in a Drama? Take Our Poll!

Anyone who complains that the Emmys nominate the same shows and actors year in and year out won’t find supporting evidence in the lineup of nominees for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.

Last year’s winner, The Good Wife‘s Julianna Margulies, got completely snubbed, as did Downton Abbey‘s Michelle Dockery and Scandal‘s Kerry Washington — who’d been in the race the last three and two years, respectively.

New to the 2015 proceedings are two actresses from freshman network dramas — How to Get Away With Murder‘s Viola Davis and Empire‘s Taraji P. Henson — as well as Tatiana Maslany, finally recognized for her work in Season 3 of BBC America’s Orphan Black.

Those newcomers will be up against Homeland‘s Claire Danes (the 2012-2013 champ), House of Cards‘ Robin Wright (in the running for the third consecutive year) and Mad Men‘s Elisabeth Moss (hoping to end her losing streak in the Lead Actress race on her fifth nomination, plus an additional nod as Supporting back in 2010).

What would you do if you had the power to honor one of these fine actresses when the Emmys are handed out on Sept. 20? Take our poll below to vote for your favorite, then hit the comments to justify your pick!

Every day for the next couple of weeks, we’ll launch another “Who Should Win?” Emmy poll, so come back to TVLine.com to weigh in on who’s most worthy of TV’s biggest honors!

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. Taylor says:

    I’d be okay with Robin Wright or Elisabeth Moss, but I can’t pick anyone but Tatiana.

  2. Quinn says:

    It should go to Viola Davis, hands down! BUT knowing the pattern the Emmys have followed all these years and continue to, she (and Taraji, for that matter), can forget it.

    • Tim says:

      I actually think Tatiana deserves it but Taraji will win.

      • Marie says:

        I actually think the opposite. Taraji deserves it but they’ll give it to Tatiana. I’d also be fine if Viola won. She had the best scene with pulling off that wig and questioning her husband.

  3. Steven says:

    I’m stuck between Tatiana Maslany, Viola Davis, and Taraji P. Henson. Any of them win and I’d be happy.

  4. TvLover says:

    I really wish that it could be a three way tie between Tatiana, Taraji, and Viola! But, since it can’t then I guess my first choice would be Tatiana!
    It is definitely a tough choice, with such a tremendously talented group of women!

  5. flo says:

    Tatiana x however many clones she plays.

  6. Eric7740 says:

    Viola Davis, everyday of the week and twice on Sunday!!!

  7. Chuck says:

    Tatiana Maslany played six different characters on Orphan Black. All other arguments are moot.

    • Olivia says:

      THIS. Although not recurring, she actually played 9 on-screen that I remember: Sarah, Helena, Cosima, Allison, Rachel, Beth, Katja, Krystal, Tony. She plays five of them on a regular basis. This woman even manages to play a clone passing for another one. If she doesn’t get it, there is no point in doling out acting awards whatsoever.

    • Dude says:

      Preach! She isn’t just carrying her show, she plays almost all of the major supporting roles too and does it flawlessly. There is no competition.

    • Ashbash says:

      That was immediately my first thought. The minute any of the rest of the actresses nominated can portray six completely different lead characters and to the point that you forget that it is only one actress and not six different actresses I would agree that one of the other nominees deserve this award. Until that happens the academy needs to just engrave Tatiana’s name on this award because she is literally THE best actress

      • Marie says:

        I like Tatiana, but I think she’s overhyped. The rest of the nominees CAN play multiple characters if required. I think Tatiana does a good job but it’s not seamless, and no I’m not bashing her. Like I said I like her.

  8. SO says:

    Should be more on this list. Some other talented people out there.

  9. Lizo says:

    Any other year, Tats would get my vote. But Viola Davis, like damn, the work she did on Murder this season was nothing short of brilliant.

  10. RD says:

    Viola Davis is an excellent actress,but that show was such a convoluted load of claptrap rubbish that it just does not serve her well. Even when the season wasn’t the best,Tatiana Mislay wins hands down in my book.

  11. Joey says:

    Tatiana Maslany, no question. Her submitted episode was fantastic. She got fantastic dramatic moments as both Sarah and Beth, plus that utterly hilarious storyline as Alison with the bedroom twerking scene as the highlight. There’s not a doubt in my mind about who should win this year.

  12. Ron says:

    This category gives me heart palpitations. I’m over Claire Danes, so she’s a non-factor to me (and hopefully to the Academy as well). I love Robin Wright, but can’t get behind her winning this year. Honestly, I’m not sure how she didn’t win last year; her performance in season 2 was spectacular. While I think she pretty much single handedly held season 3 together, the entire season just wasn’t good enough for a win (the writers’ faults, not hers). Elisabeth Moss, while good, I don’t consider to be a serious competitor in this year’s packed field. Personally, I thought she should’ve won for Top of the Lake, but no changing the past, I suppose. That leaves Tatiana, Viola, and Taraji. Holy crap on a stick, that’s the magnificent triumvirate right there. I want all three to win, but if I have to pick, I guess it’d be Viola. It’s hard to justify why I pick Viola, because it would just be extremely nitpicking to say anything bad about Tatiana or Taraji. But Viola gave me that strength and vulnerability, that subtlety and power, those small glances and over-the-top actions that took me on an emotional roller coaster for the whole season. Ugh, just three way tie between Viola, Tatiana, and Taraji, please! I think we can all get behind that.

    • Faye says:

      I would vote for Moss but it would be because of her work in Top of the Lake.

    • Marie says:

      Great post. It’s definitely between those 3. I voted Taraji because I think she had more work to do in improving the material given, but Tatiana has much to do with many characters and like you said Viola was just basically a powerhouse. If I go with who moved me the most? Viola. Viola. Viola. This is hard…

  13. xmelaniexthomasx says:

    Tatiana Maslany deserves all of the awards. All. Of. Them.

  14. msb says:

    Tatiana is out of everyone’s league. She basically deserves her own category.

  15. Jay says:

    I doubt Tatiana will win, and it’s truly an honor just to be nominated situation, but Episode 6 of last year’s Orphan Black was practically an entire demo reel in itself. 6 characters all in different situations and emotional states. If that isn’t enough to win then it’s never happening.

    • Dude says:

      I agree. As much as I’m pulling for a surprise win (the Emmys usually try to pull off one “shocker”) I think the Academy nominated Tat as a consolation prize. The race is likely between Viola and Taraji. In that case, Taraji deserves it and certainly has the buzzier role but I feel like they’ll go for Viola because she’s the bigger/more accomplished actress.

  16. Dude says:

    Tatiana Maslany for sure. No other actress comes close to that performance and the work ethic required alone to pull that off makes Tatiana all the more deserving. Of the actresses nominated, I’d say Viola is the best but her performance is not a good showcase of her talent. Her material is very thin and I don’t think she’s able to overcome the writing. If it can’t go to Tat, I hope Taraji takes it home.

  17. Roberta says:

    Two words. Tatiana Maslany. No one else matters

  18. Antwon303 says:

    It’s a tough category full of talented and worthy actresses but I have to go to Taraji P. Henson. What she did with the role of “Cookie” was fantastic. She has definitely showcased her range by playing drama and comedy thisclose to perfection. And add to that the ton of stuff she improvised and that should garner her an Emmy. She steals every scene she’s in!

    • Marie says:

      It’s true. She is a scene stealer, and I do think she made her character much better than what was written on the page. That’s what actors can bring to the job right? She did that better than anyone.

  19. Yolanda says:

    If Academy actually wants to award someone who truly has given the best performance of the season they should go with Tatiana. They would also make all the internet as happy as Christmas. But somehow I fell they will be political this year and award either Viola or Taraji. But I’m gonna believe I live in a fair world and Tatiana is gonna rightfully win.

  20. Mr. Tran K says:

    Taraji P. Henson over Viola Davis. Complain if you dare.

  21. Sil says:

    Tatiana, Viola or Taraji. Only. I hope it’s Tatiana this year. She’s been over looked for 3 seasons. Viola and Taraji have new shows, they should win next year.

  22. Dennis says:

    I can’t comment on Tatiana because I have never seen Orphan Black although I do hear she is perfect!!!!
    Thus my vote goes to
    VIOLA in the amazing HTGAWM!!

  23. Ro says:

    I’ve never seen Orphan Black… so I vote for Elizabeth Moss.

  24. I’ll take anyone but Danes. Homeland used to be good and she used to be good in it, but the last season sucked and performance, while not terrible, was a far cry from earlier seasons.

  25. Doug says:

    Not only does Tatiana play multiple clones, her brilliance comes through when she plays clones pretending to be other clones. And don’t forget — she also voiced the creepy scorpion. No one has come close to earning this award more than Tatiana.

  26. webly3 says:

    While Tatiana Maslany is definitely my number one pick, I also wouldn’t be mad if Viola Davis or Taraji P. Henson won. Claire Danes did well in season 4 as well. Also, it wasn’t Elisabeth Moss’s strongest season – but she definitely deserved one over the course of Mad Men. So basically… the only person that I wouldn’t be okay with winning is Robin Wright who didn’t do anything special (or even nomination worthy) in season 3 of HoC (at least not in the 4 episodes that I’ve seen).

  27. A.M says:

    Tatiana will not win..that’s for sure. It’s Viola or Taraji..

  28. John Davis says:

    Viola Davis, of course.

  29. Jon says:

    Was Tatiana nominated for season 2? Because there were 2 episodes there where she killed it in just 1 scene. The shower scene with Helena, and the next episode where she stopped Helena from shooting Rachel/Paul. Having said that though, I think the voters will think her nomination was her award.

    I think Viola’s taking off the wig episode would be hard to beat. But then again, if enough voters love Taraji in Empire, I feel they could give her the Emmy even if she doesn’t have an episode that’s strong enough for a win and give her the award for the whole season.

  30. Anne says:

    All of them are really talented, but it’s easily Tatiana for me.

  31. Spence says:

    Tat has my heart and my vote. However, if Viola or Taraji win, I won’t be upset.

  32. Wiredream says:

    I’d be happy if Viola wins only because she’s a great force of nature in a terrible show, where she’s surrounded by the worst supporting cast on TV. But Tatiana deserves it. (And as much as I love Taraji, “Empire” is trash TV. She should have been nominated for her work on “Person Of Interest,” not this junk.

  33. A fan of TV says:

    I will declare this for Tatiana Maslany until the day she actually wins. It may never come, so my answer will always be ‘the clones!!!’

  34. b says:

    Viola will win. She’s a respected actress. Ms. Henson is a force of nature but Empire being a soap hurts her chances. Viola or Henson will win or they will cancel each other out and Danes or Robin will win.

  35. Christina1 says:

    I think it’s hilarious – and very telling – that some of the posters think that a Davis or a Henson win would just be ‘politics’ and not a sign that they were the best of the bunch. Geez – I liked Orphan Black, but Tatiana losing would not be simply satisfying anything ‘political.’