WHY SHE DESERVES A NOD: What Biel managed to accomplish in USA Network’s limited series was no small feat. Her sublime, understated performance made us feel for Cora Tannetti, even in moments when we weren’t meant to empathize with her. We couldn’t help but be devastated for Cora as we watched her battle a tortured subconscious — and for that, Biel deserves all the credit, as well as the recognition of the TV Academy.
LAURA DERN, THE TALE
WHY SHE DESERVES A NOD: Dern was utterly devastating in her portrayal of Jennifer, a woman forced to confront sexual abuse from her childhood in HBO’s harrowing film. As Jennifer’s unsettling memories flooded back to her, Dern etched her character’s mounting panic and disgust all over her face; the actress made Jennifer’s trauma so palpable, in fact, that we could barely watch as she finally confronted her abuser in person. Here’s hoping Emmy voters reward Dern’s fearless, captivating work.
ROSEMARIE DEWITT, BLACK MIRROR
WHY SHE DESERVES A NOD: DeWitt lived out every mother’s nightmare in the nail-bitingly tense Season 4 installment “Arkangel,” starring as high-strung mom Marie. Desperate to keep her daughter safe, Marie had a chip inserted in the girl’s skull to monitor her every movement… but soon learned to be careful what she wished for. Marie wasn’t always sympathetic, and the episode’s twists certainly put DeWitt through the emotional wringer, but she not only survived — she thrived, with a heartbreakingly vulnerable performance.
SARAH GADON, ALIAS GRACE
WHY SHE DESERVES A NOD: We knew Gadon from supporting roles in shows like 11.22.63, but nothing could’ve prepared us for her stunning work in Netflix’s elegant crime drama. An Irish immigrant maid accused of a sensational double murder, Gadon’s Grace was a fascinating enigma, leaving us to wonder about her guilt up until the final frames. Showing off an impressive versatility and an unexpected toughness, Gadon grabbed our attention and didn’t let go in a true breakout performance.
CRISTIN MILIOTI, BLACK MIRROR
WHY SHE DESERVES A NOD: The zippy sci-fi adventure “USS Callister” began with Jesse Plemons’ starship captain as the hero, but by the end, we were rooting for Milioti’s plucky Nanette to save the day. Trapped in a Star Trek-like computer simulation by her creepy boss, Nanette first got mad — “Stealing my p—y is a red f—ing line!” — and then rallied the troops, as Milioti revealed a gutsy, resourceful side to the seemingly naive new hire. Spinoff, please!
ELISABETH MOSS, TOP OF THE LAKE: CHINA GIRL
WHY SHE DESERVES A NOD: We know, we’re getting greedy… but we’d love to see Moss score a second nomination on top of her expected Handmaid’s Tale nod, because she is just that good here. Moss was ferocious in her second go-around as Australian detective Robin Griffin, who reconnected with the daughter she gave up for adoption while investigating a grisly murder. Nursing old wounds while battling a male-dominated system, Robin had a lot in common with Offred, actually — including the supremely talented woman playing her.