WHY SHE DESERVES A NOD: If it’s been hard to imagine how Coon could be passed over for a nomination for Seasons 1 and 2, it’s downright impossible to imagine how Emmy could snub her after Season 3. As Nora dealt with the loss of her adopted daughter by ferociously chasing after a chance to reunite with her “departed” biological children, her portrayer shattered parts of our hearts that we didn’t even realize existed. And if you’re not yet saying, “They’re right, she should get a nod!” wait until you get a load of her glorious work in the series finale.
VIOLA DAVIS, HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER
WHY SHE DESERVES A NOD:Murder‘s third season was bookended by two stunning, Annalise-centric moments of grief: first, when she first learned Wes had died in a house fire; then, 14 episodes later, when she finally mourned his loss. And Davis crushed both scenes like the newly-minted Oscar champ she is. But Davis brought her A-game to the other 13 episodes too, as Annalise navigated her calculating law professor through her most harrowing, emotionally frought semester yet.
CLAIRE FOY, THE CROWN
WHY SHE DESERVES A NOD: Netflix’s sumptuous period piece was a feast for the eyes throughout, but it could’ve easily slipped into snoozeville without the grace and gravity Foy brought to the role of Queen Elizabeth. A young princess thrust into leading the British Empire after her father’s death, Elizabeth grew and evolved over the course of The Crown‘s first season — and so did Foy’s performance, from wide-eyed naïf to steel-spined monarch. Foy balanced Liz’s rigid formality and her hot-blooded rebellious streak with a deftness we can only describe as, well, regal.
MANDY MOORE, THIS IS US
WHY SHE DESERVES A NOD: Because Moore somehow manages to play Pittsburgh mother/housewife Rebecca Pearson at every age — from giddy newlywed to subdued grandmother — with total believability. Her warmth and humor make young Rebecca a sunny, steady presence in the young family’s life, and Moore subtly shades her performance with darker notes as the character watches her children grow up and her dreams begin to fade. We knew Moore could be funny and winning, but this devastatingly good? This is… a revelation.
ELISABETH MOSS, THE HANDMAID’S TALE
WHY SHE DESERVES A NOD: Yes, the parallels between Hulu’s dystopian drama and our current political climate are downright chilling. But it’s Moss’ haunting, emotionally raw performance as Offred that truly gets under our skin. Subjected to horrifying abuse by her Gilead captors, Offred is beaten down, but never defeated, and Moss portrays both her human fragility and her ferocious inner strength with exquisite empathy. She never won Emmy gold as Mad Men‘s Peggy Olson — a travesty! — but this might be the year Moss finally gets the accolades she deserves.
EVAN RACHEL WOOD, WESTWORLD
WHY SHE DESERVES A NOD: How can a creature devoid of true emotion so completely harness every single one of ours? Simple: When that creature — a robot named Dolores — is played with captivating dexterity by an actress as talented as Wood. Thanks to the HBO sci-fi drama’s complex story structure, we didn’t always know which Dolores Wood was playing at any given time. But it didn’t really matter: Whether she was portraying Peter Abernathy’s naïve daughter, Bernard’s accomplice or Dr. Ford’s cold assassin, Wood so beautifully embodied each iteration of her character, we were ready to buy a season pass to the park just to see what she’d do next.