Emmys 2012: The Supporting Drama Actress Race in Review, Including Our Dream Nominees
Morena Baccarin, Homeland
Pro: Baccarin's portrayal of a down-to-earth, conflicted wife and mom is a thing of beauty, and she's unafraid to be emotionally (and sometimes physically) naked.
Con:Homeland lead Claire Danes has gotten a lot of press; buzz about Baccarin, though positive, is much quieter and could affect her chances.
Christine Baranski, The Good Wife
Pro: Baranski's performance as haughty Diane has already garnered two nominations in the past two years.
Con: Emmy voters love putting Baranski's name on the ballot, but they may be inclined to spread the wealth this year.
Rose Byrne, Damages
Pro: It's always fun to watch a clearly defined character blur her edges when circumstance requires, and this season, the twice-nominated Byrne didn't disappoint.
Con: With Damages on DirecTV and nowhere else, it's easy to forget about the former FX show and its players.
Jennifer Carpenter, Dexter
Pro: Debra's realization that she was in love with her adopted brother could've been really icky; in Carpenter's capable hands, it was just icky (minus the really).
Con: Carpenter has never been nominated before.
Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones
Pro: Daenerys is a badass dragon mama who, under Clarke's watch, has truly come into her own this season.
Con: If Emmy voters maintain their traditional aversion to fantasy shows, they probably won't want to nominate someone whose character has scaly, fire-breathing babies.
Michelle Forbes, The Killing
Pro: Prolonged grief is a tough thing to play, but as Rosie's tortured mom, Forbes did it with aplomb.
Con: She’s had roughly five minutes of screen time this season.
Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad
Pro: Crossed by Ted and with Gus gunning for her family, Skyler spent the season spinning. Gunn was mesmerizing.
Con: Emmy's love for Breaking Bad hasn't extended to its ladies, at least not yet.
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men
Pro: Between booting Greg and becoming partner, Hendricks has turned in some fine performances in the show's fifth season.
Con: If Emmy voters didn't like the tawdry way Joan became a Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce partner, they may be disinclined to give her portrayer the credit she deserves.
Megan Hilty, Smash
Pro: Vulnerable-yet-ruthless chorus girl + jilted by lover + possibly ODing on pills + an amazing set of pipes = Emmy bait
Con: If Emmy sings Smash's tune, it may be in co-star Anjelica Huston's key.
Anjelica Huston, Smash
Pro: The Oscar winner brought a regal balance to the NBC drama's uneven first season.
Con: Huston's scenes — tossing drinks, talking talent off the ledge, and bedding bartenders — weren't the substantive stuff Emmy generally rewards.
January Jones, Mad Men
Pro: Take Betty down a few pegs (by adding a few pounds) and it turns out she's much more human than we thought, thanks to Jones' ever-developing take on the icy character.
Con: It's hard to love Betty. If voters can't get around that, she's unlikely to grab a nom.
Regina King, Southland
Pro: Lydia's soul-searching last season led to her pregnancy this season, and allowed King to show us another side of the tough lady cop. Emmy loves that kind of stuff.
Con: As Lydia, King's a workhorse: steady, reliable… and not likely to be feted by the Academy.
Kelly MacDonald, Boardwalk Empire
Pro: The way MacDonald played Margaret's devotion and calculation made Mrs. Nucky supremely watchable this season.
Con: Can't think of one. She’s a lock.
Connie Nielsen, Boss
Pro: It would be easy to ignore Mayor Kane's buttoned-up wife if Nielsen didn't infuse her with such delicious tension.
Con: "Buttoned-up" may work against Nielsen; the Academy tends to like big, messy emotions from the players it honors.
Sandra Oh, Grey’s Anatomy
Pro: Oh's a pro, and Cristina's abortion, breakdown of epic proportion, and severe relationship woes gave her plenty of chances to wow this season. She didn't disappoint.
Con:Grey's melodrama may be a little much if Emmy voters are looking to go a more refined route, and Oh could suffer because of it. Also, there may be a feeling that the show’s time has passed.
Archie Panjabi, The Good Wife
Pro: As her character keeps unfolding, Panjabi keeps wowing us. She nabbed the prize in 2010 and was nominated in 2011; we'd put our money on her getting a nod this year, too.
Con: Kalinda spent much of the season on the backburner.
Lana Parrilla, Once Upon a Time
Pro: Parrilla is wicked good at pulling double duty as vicious Regina and her queenly alter ego.
Con: The fantasy problem rears its sparkly head: Shows set in other realities don't tend to earn nominations in this one.
Monica Potter, Parenthood
Pro: Potter plays a harried mom and wife so well, you want to get her a pedicure and a glass of merlot, STAT.
Con:Parenthood has been around for three seasons, with nary an Emmy nod for anything. This year may be no different.
Kiernan Shipka, Mad Men
Pro: Shipka's deft handling of Sally's complicated relationships with the adults in her life is so satisfying. This little girl's growing up, folks!
Con: She's a kid, she has plenty of time ahead of her to be considered — and that kind of thinking may keep her off this year's nomination list.
Maggie Siff, Sons of Anarchy
Pro: Everything that led up to Tara becoming SAMCRO's new First Lady — the realization that she and Jax were never getting out of Charming, her possibly-career-ending injury, her psychotic break — put Siff in good stead for a statuette.
Con: If the Academy has it in its heart to grace a gritty, basic cable drama with a supporting actress nomination, it may go with Breaking Bad's Anna Gunn over Siff.
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Pro: Emmy voters clearly love Smith as the Dowager Countess of Grantham; they gave her the award last year, and her performance as the meddling matriarch has been just as worthy this season.
Con: There aren't any. To anyone who doesn't think this one's a pretty safe bet, we give you a raised eyebrow of incredulity.