Emmy season is upon us! Voters have until June 26 to fill out their nomination ballots before the big announcement on July 16. We have a few selections in mind ourselves. Up next: our wish list for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.
Hayley Atwell, Marvel's Agent Carter
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s tagline was "Not all heroes are super." That's more applicable to its superior Marvel sibling Agent Carter. Avoiding all the usual super-spy trap tropes and crutches, Atwell has constructed a fully realized character who's first and foremost confident, strong, smart, fun, vulnerable... and she just so happens to kick major ass. Peggy Carter is simply the female TV hero we've been waiting for.
Viola Davis, How to Get Away with Murder
Explaining her decision to do TV, Davis repeatedly said she was tired of being the "third girl from the left" and wanted to be "the show." And that she was. Davis commands every frame she's in, but her most powerful moments last season came when Annalise was at her least guarded. The famous wig scene. Confronting Sam on Murder Night. Regressing to a wounded little girl in fetal position as her mother did her hair. Annalise is a mess, but you also don't wanna mess with her.
Vera Farmiga, Bates Motel
Farmiga was nominated two years ago and needs to get another look-in. As Norma and Norman's relationship (and their minds) continued to unravel in Season 3, while Norma dealt with her own traumatic past with Caleb, Farmiga's ferociously unhinged performance only amplified. The intensity with which she plays the neurotic, overprotective and sympathetic single mother is the kind of electric stuff that's impossible to ignore.
Eva Green, Penny Dreadful
There is an element of danger to the way Green plays Vanessa Ives — and we're not just talking about her jaw-dropping back-breaking contortion when Vanessa was possessed. Like the psycho-horror show itself, Green throws the kitchen sink and then some into her razor's edge of a performance. It's ballsy, frightening, seductive, impassioned and unlike anything we've ever seen before.
Taraji P. Henson, Empire
Has anyone entered the TV Character Hall of Fame faster than Cookie? From the second Cookie strutted into our lives, we couldn't believe we went so long without her. Henson goes all in on Cookie's soapy theatrics, literal punches and zinging one-liners while never letting us forget that at her core, Cookie's just a mama bear looking out for her cubs (in animal prints, naturally). Plus, we'll forever be grateful for "Boo Boo Kitty."
Keri Russell, The Americans
Elizabeth masks much of her vulnerability, which Russell has played with steely ruthlessness. In Season 3, though, she chipped some of that robotic armor away in "Do Mail Robots Dream of Electric Sheep?", thanks to the wrong-place-at-the-wrong-time Betty. The doomed old lady knew the right buttons to push, forcing Elizabeth to think twice about her resolute belief in the cause. "That's what evil people tell themselves when they do evil things," Betty says. The mix of confusion, doubt and sadness in Russell's face, as she watched a woman she forced to kill herself, is utter perfection.
Who would you nominate?