WHY SHE DESERVES A NOD: Three words: that knighting scene. Christie’s finest moment (of many) on the fantasy drama came in Episode 2 of its final season, when valiant warrior Brienne finally became an official knight. The wonder shining in her eyes! The disbelief that her dream had finally become a reality! Couple that with her portrayal of Brienne’s desolation as Jaime rode south to Cersei, and you might as well just stick Oathkeeper through our hearts… just don’t forget to give her a nom, first.
AUDRA MCDONALD, THE GOOD FIGHT
WHY SHE DESERVES A NOD: Because she delivered some of the most powerfully restrained work of her career as Liz came to grips with the harsh reality that her much revered late father was a serial #MeToo perpetrator. The episode in which Liz learned of her dad’s misdeeds found McDonald expertly — and, in some cases, simultaneously — navigating grief’s myriad stages. And she made it look easy.
INDYA MOORE, POSE
WHY THEY DESERVE A NOD: Every relationship in the FX drama’s first season was uniquely fraught and tragic, but few told as complete a tale of heartache and triumph as the love affair between Angel, a transgender sex worker, and Stan, a married cisgender man. Even when all hope seemed lost, we found ourselves relentlessly rallying behind this unlikely ingenue, a refreshingly complicated character brought to life through Moore’s consistently affecting (and irrefutably Emmy-worthy) performances.
RHEA SEEHORN, BETTER CALL SAUL
WHY SHE DESERVES A NOD: Seehorn’s buttoned-up attorney Kim Wexler has always been the steady anchor holding the starry-eyed Jimmy McGill in place… but in Season 4, even she couldn’t keep him tethered. Seehorn responded with her strongest season yet, with Kim watching in horror as the Jimmy she thought she knew slipped through her fingers. Kim is far from perfect — in fact, she still gets a rush out of pulling petty scams with Jimmy — but thanks to Seehorn’s masterfully subtle work, she’s never less than relatable.
SOPHIE TURNER, GAME OF THRONES
WHY SHE DESERVES A NOD: In Thrones‘ first season, would you have predicted that simpering Sansa would’ve turned out the stone cold Queen in the North? The character’s evolution worked so well, particularly in the HBO series’ final run, thanks to her portrayer’s skill at honing the polite, highborn lady into a cool, pragmatic ruler. Turner shone throughout, but our favorite moments were when Sansa’s crown slipped just a little: We won’t be able to stop thinking about her pinning the Stark sigil on Theon’s corpse, for instance, for a very long time.
SUSAN KELECHI WATSON, THIS IS US
WHY SHE DESERVES A NOD: Her on-screen husband Sterling K. Brown has received plenty of Emmys love, and it’s long past time for Watson to join him on the nominees list. In Season 3, Beth bristled at Randall’s impulsive run for office, resentful that she had to put her own dreams on hold, and in one showcase episode, Watson absolutely shined as we learned about Beth’s lifelong passion for dance. It was beautiful to see Beth (and Watson) stretch her legs a little.