Wait! I can’t do this. I can’t simply break this category down by offering insights into the nominees, snubs, good bets, who should win, and who will. No, it’s just not right to talk about this category without talking in-depth about the biggest snub in the history of the Primetime Emmy Awards, Tatiana Maslany not getting nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. Maslany not winning would be highway robbery, the fact that she is not nominated is just flat out absurd.
The extreme nature of my stance is not an indictment on the other actresses nominated or eligible for this award. In fact, the only two questionable nominees are Dockery, only because she operates in a more supporting matter for a large ensemble cast, and Claire Danes, thanks to Homeland and Carrie Mathison fatigue. My hatred of House of Cards, more on this in my Drama Series breakdown, makes me inclined to add Wright to that list, but her acting is the only bright spot left.
Additionally it would be easy to fill out a list with another six candidates just as, if not more worthy than the women that will be seen on Monday. Names such as Elizabeth Moss, Keri Russell, Vera Farmiga, Diane Kruger, and former winner Connie Britton could have joined Maslany to be an even more formidable group. The fact that Lead Actress in a Drama Series has become a deep category should be applauded. Especially after being overshadowed by a dominant era from their male counterparts. But the applause comes with a Barry Bonds-sized asterisk next to it since the Emmys failed to nominate the best acting performance in TV history.
For anyone that hasn’t jumped on the bandwagon of the thrilling series Orphan Black, first off, for shame! Secondly, you are all missing out on the brilliance of Tat Maslany. You’re also thinking that all this hyperbole is a bit much and that no one could possibly be that great. Some of you may even be calling the authorities to inform them that there is a crazy man going on and on about some actress on a weird sci-fi show and the obsession appears dangerous. But I assure all non-watchers that this article will make total sense once you take the plunge.
The basic conceit of the series is that a troubled English grifter, Sarah Manning, returns home and witnesses a woman, whom looks eerily similar to her, kill herself by jumping in front of a train. Sensing an opportunity to make a quick buck Sarah steals the woman’s identity, only to discover that they look eerily similar because they are clones. As the show progresses Sarah meets and runs into more and more of her clones, which are all played flawlessly by Maslany.
However, Maslany doesn’t deserve the Emmy simply for playing multiple characters on the same show, as impressive a feat as that is on its own, but rather she deserves it because each of the characters are unique, memorable, and brilliantly acted out. She is so good at delving into each character that despite having knowledge to the contrary and being of sane mind there are times I’m convinced there are separate actors that play each role. Case in point, I watched an interview with an actor that plays the husband of the suburban “Soccer Mom” clone and he was talking about how amazing it is to work with Maslany. I found this perturbing. “Wait a second, what is this guy talking about? He’s only had one scene with Sarah and it was for like 10 seconds. He hasn’t really worked with Tat, oh wait, shit, she plays his wife too. She plays all the clones. Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!”
Need video proof? Check out this remarkable scene that gives me chills every time I watch it.
If the Emmys made a rule change where characters were nominated instead of actors, then the last year and this she should’ve swept the Guest, Supporting, and Lead Actress in a Drama series category. Last year taking home the Guest award for her creepy, yet strangely amusing performance of Ukrainian Convent torture victim turned cold blooded assassin, Helena. Then pulling the major upset over Anna Gunn for bottle hiding, wine drinking, pill popping, Soccer Mom Clone, Allison Hendrix. While at the same time receiving huge sympathy for lesbian, genius scientist Cosima Niehaus being snubbed from the proceedings. And finally completing the trifecta by taking home lead actress as well.
This year she would’ve out done herself by having Proclone, power hungry, head of the evil Dyad Institute, Rachel Duncan win the Guest award. While getting three nominations in the Supporting Actress category with Cosima getting a nom this year as she stared in the face of her own mortality due to the autoimmune disease that has been spreading amongst clones. While Helena knocks off Allison thanks to an arc that revealed the humanity beneath the decades of abuse. Then capping off the historic night by making it back to back Lead Actress wins, giving her six Emmys in two years.
It sounds ridiculous, but consider this, TV Icon Ted Danson delivered three memorable television characters in 40 years, while Maslany has delivered four in just two seasons. Potentially five, depending on where the show takes Rachel next season. This is uncharted territory and the Emmys are completely ignoring it, unlike the Critics Choice Awards honored her with back-to-back victories for the same show.
Critics can be snobby, obnoxious douche bags at times, especially the one’s that love the sound of their own voice, but they are better equipped to judge television because it is their job to watch all of it or at the very least be aware of everything. Unlike the group of industry insiders that make up the Emmy Awards selection process. Having received some insight into the process the last two years I can tell you that a lot of voters don’t even bother watching the screeners they’re sent to watch.
It is a faulty system. Award Shows are about the spectacle of having so many celebrities in one place, not the actual practice of rewarding the year’s best work. It is important to keep that in mind when your favorite doesn’t bring home the gold. But it can still be annoying since so many people watch the Emmys and no one besides TV critics and nerds like me have any idea that the Critics Choice Awards air on television at all, let alone when it does. To any and all that are upset by their favorites being snubbed, I feel your pain and I’m here for you whenever. And to the Emmys, giving you the Johnny Manziel is just cruel and useless. There is nothing that can be said to change the way the process works. There is also obviously no shaming them if only nominating the greatest TV series of all time, The Wire, twice with no wins has led to no apology. The Emmys are what they are and we’ll all just have to learn to live with it.
After that long tangent, here is a super quick breakdown.
Robing Wright, “House of Cards” (4/7)
Julianna Margulies, “The Good Wife” (5/2)
Kerry Washington, “Scandal” (7/1)
Clare Danes, “Homeland” (15/1)
Michelle Dockery, “Downton Abbey” (20/1)
Lizzy Caplan, “Masters of Sex” (20/1)
It is difficult to like any of these bets as there is no clear winner in this category and the only name that would shock me if it were to be announced is Michelle Dockery’s. Clare Danes has won two years in a row and with the decline of Homeland voters should be looking to chose a new winner. The person to put the money on is Kerry Washington at (7/1). A great payout and with no clear winner voters could go with the historic choice.
Emmy voters clearly do not share my feelings on House of Cards considering that both Kevin Spacey and Wright are nominated along with the series as whole for Outstanding Drama, which it currently has the third best betting odds to win. Wright has move start cache and after Corey Stoll’s character kicked the bucket last year her character becoming the most interesting one left. Call it an unwanted and disliked hunch, but Jenny is going to be taking this Emmy on the road with her. Let’s all hope Emmy doesn’t suffer the same fate. Although, now that I re-read this article maybe not…