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Emmys Predictions: Who Will Win Best Actress in a Drama?

Will Elisabeth Moss repeat or will Keri Russell finally get her due?

Kaitlin Thomas

While the race for Best Actress in a Comedy has been rather boring the last decade because of Julia Louis-Dreyfus' dominance, the race for Best Actress in a Drama has been a lot more varied and exciting. And this year's Emmys could actually end up being one for the history books if Killing Eve's Sandra Oh takes home the golden statuette. However, she'll first have to defeat last year's winner, The Handmaid's Tale's Elisabeth Moss, who once again turned in an amazing performance (even if the season was only so-so). Of course, Hulu's dystopian drama isn't just making a strong showing in the lead actress race, but the supporting race too. Let's break down who has the best chance at taking home the Emmy this year.


Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid's Tale

Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid's Tale

George Kraychyk, Hulu

The Nominees:
Claire Foy, The Crown
Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black
Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid's Tale
Sandra Oh, Killing Eve
Keri Russell, The Americans
Evan Rachel Wood, Westworld

Who Will Win: Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid's Tale
It's not that the other women in this category aren't talented or deserving, it's that Elisabeth Moss' performance in the second season of The Handmaid's Taleis the kind of performance that makes viewers stand up and take notice. She managed to take every single thing that won her this same award last year and then somehow did more. Whether she was stark naked portraying the agonizing pains of childbirth in an abandoned house or mentally going toe-to-toe with Yvonne Strahovski's headstrong Serena, Moss put on a master class in a TV show that was full of incredible performances, as a peek at the supporting actress category below will show.

Who Should Win: Keri Russell, The Americans
Having said all that, Keri Russell should be this year's Emmy winner. She submitted "The Summit," an episode in which she mercy smothers a terminally ill woman while posing as her nurse, seduces a young government intern while undercover as a consultant, faces off with her handler Claudia and has a massive blowup with her husband Phillip. It's a whirlwind performance showing incredible range, but the best part is that while she's able to deceive her marks or stand up for what she believes is right, Russell allows the slightest glimmer of doubt in Elizabeth's eye as the hardened spy begins to question her role in everything.

Watch Out For: Sandra Oh, Killing Eve
As previously mentioned, Sandra Oh's nomination was historic -- a Korean-Canadian, she was the first woman of Asian descent to ever be nominated in this category -- and her performance as Killing Eve's Eve Polastri was riveting from start to finish. Her bored MI5 agent engaged in a dangerous game of cat and mouse with a psychopathic serial killer in the BBC America series, and it gave her plenty of meaty material to showcase her range. Don't be surprised if Oh, who was previously nominated five times in the supporting category for her work on Grey's Anatomy, finally takes home an Emmy here.



Yvonne Strahovski, The Handmaid's Tale

George Kraychyk/Hulu

The Nominees:
Alexis Bledel, The Handmaid's Tale
Millie Bobby Brown, Stranger Things
Ann Dowd, The Handmaid's Tale
Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
Vanessa Kirby, The Crown
Thandie Newton,Westworld
Yvonne Strahovski, The Handmaid's Tale

Who Will Win: Yvonne Strahovski, The Handmaid's Tale
The Handmaid's Tale rightfully dominates this category -- the strength of its impressive female cast makes up for the fact the show's second season didn't live up to the first -- but Yvonne Strahovski is the clear standout in a crowded field. She gave the best performance of her career as Serena, adding richness and depth to a formerly unlikable character who could have easily been one note.

Who Should Win: Yvonne Strahovski, The Handmaid's Tale
Serena was a woman whose head was sometimes warring with her heart in Season 2, and the result was that Strahovski had to pivot, often within the same scene, from a softer, more vulnerable version of the character in private to a cold and unfeeling woman when she was confronted by other people. However, once the mask cracked, it was impossible to ignore how Strahovski was always able to let just a hint of her character's pain through in every single scene. All of this was done exceptionally well in "Women's Work," the episode she has submitted for consideration.

Watch Out For: Vanessa Kirby, The Crown
You could easily make the case for Strahovski's cast mate Ann Dowd, who took home the Emmy last year for her performance as Aunt Lydia, but it's equally easy to predict The Crown's Vanessa Kirby. Not only did the Netflix series pull off two surprising upsets at the Creative Arts Emmys over the weekend, but her performance in "Beryl," the episode she submitted for consideration, also makes her a strong contender. This is also her final shot at taking home an Emmy for The Crown, since the show is jumping forward in time and the cast is turning over.

The 70th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards air Monday, Sept. 17 at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT on NBC