Emmys

Emmys 2016: Who Should Win Best Lead Actress in a Drama? Take Our Poll!

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it — at least when it comes to the Emmy race for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.

Though The Americans‘ Keri Russell is a fresh contender (filling the void left by Mad Men‘s Elisabeth Moss), her five competitors were all up for the same consideration in 2015.

Russell isn’t the only nominee seeking her first win. Empire‘s Taraji P. Henson, Orphan Black‘s Tatiana Maslany (entering the race for the second consecutive year) and House of Cards‘ Robin Wright (scoring her fourth straight nom) have yet to pick up Emmy gold. Claire Danes, meanwhile, is a three-time Emmy champ.

In the end, voters may ultimately choose to award Viola Davis again for her performance in How to Get Away With Murder (although she’d face an uphill battle trying to top last year’s acceptance speech).

What would you do if you had the opportunity to recognize one of the aforementioned leads when the Emmys are handed out on Sept. 18? Take our poll below to vote for your favorite, then hit the comments to defend your pick.

Every day for the next couple of weeks, we’ll launch another “Who Should Win?” Emmy poll, so visit TVLine.com daily to weigh in on who’s most worthy of TV’s most distinguished honor.

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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47 Comments
  1. TvLover says:

    Definitely Keri Russell, or Tatiana Maslany.
    I don’t feel Taraji really had much to do on Empire this season and although I think Viola is great, she already won last year, so I’d like to see someone new win, again preferably Russell or Maslany because I felt their performances were better.
    Just anyone but Claire Danes really.
    Regardless who wins, this is a very tough category with some great actresses.

  2. Spence says:

    This is easily the hardest poll of the Emmy season. I mentioned it on my commentary of the nominees at my website, and I’ll say it again: how am I supposed to choose between Tatiana and Keri?!?!?

  3. Amy J says:

    I voted for Tatiana but would ok with a Keri win too.

  4. Simon Jester says:

    I love Tatiana… but Keri gets my vote. She had an astonishing season.

  5. Sarah says:

    I love Keri, i love Taraji, and I love Tatiana. So happy they are getting the credit they deserve.

    However, Viola Davis is just so spectacular in HTGAWM. The diversity in her acting, how she easily shifts from powerful to weak in a spilt second is insane.
    I’m still team Viola this year.

  6. Vera Famiga, Eva Green, Catriona Balfe were all deserving of nominations. Empire and Murder were not as good as their previous season, and while Homeland improved, Clare Danes added little more to her chin quivering than previous years. So, in this revised field, I would want a tie between Eva and Vera. In the real field, my vote goes to Tatiana, hands down. Her roles as Helena and Allison alone would beat all the others.

  7. Jimmy says:

    As much as I’d like to see Tatiana Maslany win I think Keri Russell has earned this win. Not only because of the great performance she gave this year, but for every year she’s been on The Americans.

  8. Dorian Banks says:

    No question Viola Davis should repeat. Her episode submission is brilliant and even better than the one she won with last year!

  9. Bryan says:

    I want it to be Tatiana. SHe is just too good in Orphan Black. WOuldny be too mad id Keri gets it but then Viola really hit it out of the park in that baby episode that she submitted. Taraji is talented but I dont think she shouldve been nominated this year. Claire Danes already has enough. Maybe next year for RObin Wright

  10. Dude says:

    In my books it’s all Tat (although Keri is amazing). But I’m more interested in who will win. Last year it seemed like a foregone conclusion that Viola Davis would take it home but now I’m not so sure. Claire and Taraji feel like “also ran” nominees and Viola could certainly win again but I don’t feel like she has it locked up this year the way she did last year. Really hoping this is Tatiana’s year but I think Keri has the best chance outside the returning champ.

  11. TAB says:

    Tatiana for sure. She plays each clone so well I forget it’s the same actress.

  12. HTGAWMFan says:

    Viola Davis hands down!!

  13. RD says:

    It ought to be Tatiana’s year. No one works as hard for it as she does-with incredible results. I would be ecstatic if she pulls it off

  14. Me says:

    Tatiana – no discussion!!!!!!!!

  15. I’d be happy with either Keri, Tatiana, Robin, or Viola. I’d be really happy with Keri and Tat.

  16. Jax&Juice's Girl says:

    I voted for Viola, but I think it’s time Tatiana Maslany wins I love OrphanBlack!!! She really deserves it now that the show is coming to an end.

  17. CK says:

    I think it’s going to be Viola Davis, but it really depends on episode submission. If she picks the episode where Annaliese loses her baby, then it’s her’s to lose imo.

  18. Julia says:

    How Vera Farmiga was not nominated in this category is insane! She is amazing in Bates Motel!! I wonder if the Emmy Voters even watch the show. I love Claire Danes but in my opinion, this was not her year to be nominated. Vera was totally snubbed of a nomination!!

  19. IheartTV says:

    Having watched all of the submissions, if voter’s are REALLY voting on episodes, Viola Davis should be in that elite company of actresses who’ve won back to back emmy’s in this category. Her work in “There’s My Baby” is in a league of it’s own.

    • Lorelei says:

      Agreed. I remember watching it, tears streaming down my face, thinking “Give her the awards. All the awards.” She is brilliant & so convincing.

  20. Joey says:

    What’s funny is that the way the poll on this article looks right now, that’s kind of exactly where I am in thinking who should win this award.

  21. Iris says:

    A no brainer here. I don’t even like Orphan Black, but the little I’ve seen of T.Maslany’s performance is already above everything else on TV. She should have won every year since S1.

  22. V. says:

    Keri should. Viola will. Robin may be a steal. And either one is worthy.

    • Dude says:

      I don’t think Robin’s really in this anymore. Even the critics have pretty much soured on House of Cards. Her nomination is more of a space filler.

  23. B says:

    Tatiana. After four seasons, I still have trouble remembering that it’s all her. When there’s interaction between a character and a clone they haven’t had screen time with before, I think: Oh, it’s nice they get to work with her now — even though they’ve been working with her all along as a different character. Other actors on the set have had similar reactions. She is, simply, phenomenal. I love Viola and was very happy for her last year (and I don’t watch The Americans), but what Tatiana does every week is beyond anything.

  24. kmw says:

    Keri Russell for The Americans

  25. A fan of TV says:

    I will vote for Maslany until she wins. Over to the Emmy’s now to do the same with their votes that count ;)

  26. Frank Visage says:

    There are some talented actresses here but Tatiana does things I’ve never seen an actor/actress do.

  27. hank ronson says:

    give the emmy to Tatiana its done its over the others dont even get close

  28. Lizz says:

    Keri Russell all the way.

  29. Luis says:

    The only suprising thing is that Tatiana doesn’t have more than 50% of the vote here.

  30. Audrey Wyatt says:

    Taraji is a Phenomenal Actress! She puts her ALL into Cookie as well as every character that she has played! It’s her SEASON! Taraji ROCKS!! GOD IS

  31. Tatiana Maslany without ANY DOUBT.

  32. Pat says:

    Tatiana by far the best, who else is playing multiple roles all worthy of nominations.

  33. S Daniel says:

    Without question and with appreciation of all the other nominees, it has to be Tatiana Maslany. Sure there is the quantity of characters played, but more importantly the quality of each is so believable and well portrayed. As a Londoner, a genuinely faultless accent, (not posh or worse the ‘Dick Van-Dyke’ syndrome, as most tend to play) is very welcome to the ears…..and this is just one of many she plays brilliantly. Another reason being the genre has been historically overlooked and ignored – John Noble in Fringe a glaring example. Here’s to excellent Sci-Fi Drama winning the day!

  34. Was stuck between Keri and Tatiana, I’d be happy with either of them winning but I went with Keri. Happy to see the Americans finally getting some more recognition this year.

  35. MEL says:

    My vote is for Tatiana, she is so amazing that every time I see the cast in an interview I keep thinking “is this All the cast?” she is so good that you forget that is one actress doing a lot of characters

  36. CaptainOats says:

    This is by far the hardest category to pick. They are all doing amazing work.

  37. Mikkilee says:

    Tatiana playing so many roles, the work that goes into that is just mind boggling. Sarah, Allison, Cosima, Helana just those 4 characters alone is crazy, not to mention all the other ‘side’ characters. Different styles, mannerisms, personalities it’s difficult to make them all believable, that she can make each one their ‘own’. I also think Viola did a remarkable job on How to get away with murder. I really enjoyed that show a lot.

  38. chinedu arinze says:

    Viola Davies should win for her second time, she nailed the in the episode this is my baby