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Who will win the Emmy for Supporting Actress in a Drama?

By Spencer Coile 

Emmy voting is currently underway (ballots are due on the 27th), so it’s time to start digging into some of the more exciting categories this year has to offer. The Supporting Actress in a Drama field is always tricky to navigate – we hope for inspired wins, but end up with repeat winners, such as Anna Gunn for Breaking Bad or Maggie Smith for Downton Abbey. 

That’s why it is exhilarating when an unexpected name is called on Emmy night, for instance: Archie Panjabi on The Good Wife or Ann Dowd last year for The Handmaid’s Tale. This year, Dowd is back. Will she repeat or will someone else be victorious? 

Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Nominees: 

Alexis Bledel as “Emily/ Ofglen” on The Handmaid’s Tale: “Unwomen” 

Millie Bobby Brown as “Eleven” on Stranger Things: “The Pollywog” 

Ann Dowd as “Aunt Lydia” on The Handmaid’s Tale: “June” 

Lena Headey as “Cersei Lannister” on Game of Thrones: “The Dragon and the Wolf”

Vanessa Kirby as “Princess Margaret” on The Crown: “Beryl” 

Thandie Newton as “Maeve” on Westworld: “Akane no Mai” 

Yvonne Strahovski as “Serena Joy Waterford” on The Handmaid’s Tale: “Women’s Work” 

Will Win: If Brown couldn’t win for her breakout performance on the first season of Stranger Things, it seems unlikely she takes it this time. The same argument could be made for Headey. It seemed as though the best time to award the queen of Game of Thrones was for her buzzed about season five performance in “Mother’s Mercy,” but she couldn’t even win that year (Uzo Aduba took her 2nd Emmy instead). 

Bledel, Kirby, and Newton all seem to be in the middle of the pack. Bledel won Guest Actress in a Drama Series last year, but now she is bumped up to series regular. While her submission is fantastic, she doesn’t get much to do beyond it within the season. Newton remains the heart and soul of Westworld and Kirby definitely has the tape to win, but I predict this to be a battle between the two Handmaid’s Tale villains. Let’s count our lucky stars that Strahovski got in and although she seems to be building momentum… 

The Emmy’s love repeat winners and Dowd is just as good as she was in the first season. My money is on a double Dowd victory (giving us a chance to hear her say “Hulu” again). 

Should Win: In an ensemble full of impeccable and nuanced performances, Strahovski crafted one of the most complicated characters on television with her portrayal as Serena Joy on The Handmaid's Tale. One second you want so desperately to sympathize with her and the next you are repulsed by her. It’s a tricky role to pull off, and Strahovski makes it look effortless. That Emmy belongs to her. 

Could Spoil: Even after an overwrought second season, Westworld still raked in a whopping 21 nominations, so never count out Newton. Same goes for Kirby – many are still raving about her performance in “Beryl.”

Your turn! Will Dowd repeat or will we see a new winner? Who do you think deserves it?

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Reader Comments (33)

Will win: Either Dowd or Bledel
Should win: Any of the Handmains girls
Could win: no one else, but Newton and Headey are very much the closest. And even then they're longshots.

August 22, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterChris

Hereditary has ruined Dowd for me. She'll always be a witch.

August 22, 2018 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

Strahovski should win. But I bet Dowd repeats.

August 22, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew Carden

Probably my favorite Emmy category. Not the strongest year, in my opinion.

I'm a Strahovski voter so she won't win.

I hope Maura Tierney gets nominated for The Affair next year. Amazing work this season.

August 22, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Vanessa Kirby is brilliant as Princess Margaret. She just won the BAFTA, but I really want Yvonne Strahovski to win (even though I couldn't deal with Season 2).

August 22, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPam

Holly Williams deserves to be in this group.

August 22, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterHayden

Holly Taylor* yikes

August 22, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterHayden

Strahovski, possibly Newton should. Dowd will repeat, as emmy is wont to do.

August 22, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPros

This is the most interesting race for me this year.
I've seen all nominated shows and pray to God Strahovski wins. Kirby would also be a deserving winner though.

Not exactly related, but hopefully Oh or Foy can pull of a surprise over Moss. I would not want the same show to win all 3 drama actress races again.

August 22, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterpawel

Newton goes all in with the Japanese in her tape. It's violent though. But she's my pick.

August 22, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMorgan (the 1st)

There's too much good TV for them to not spread the wealth. But the Emmys aren't known for spreading the wealth now are they?

Moss and Dowd won last year. Let someone else win especially when it's the last time to honour Foy or Russell.

August 22, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoseph

I haven't finished everything, but since Dowd won, Strahovski deserves it. That is one complicated lady.... :"lady"...?

August 22, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterforever1267

Where's the love for Lena? It wasn't her greatest season but she's been so consistently good across the whole show she deserves it.

August 22, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterevangelina

Just a great group. I pulling for Kirby because she was amazing and it's the last chance to honor her.

August 22, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterGian

Newton was terrific con Westworld. She does not get the support she deserves for this role.

August 22, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMe34

I'm not wild about Brown (I'm either not getting this or she's just getting in based on her character), but subtract her and this is one of the best acting lineups I've ever seen. Each of these performances are terrific, and I'd be fine with any of them winning.

August 22, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJohn T

They might be waiting to give it to Lena next year for the season finale. It would be the last time to honor her and it worked for Jon Hamm and Kyle Chandler.

August 22, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterTom G.

I am rooting for Yvonne Strahovski to win for her remarkable turn as Serena. Dowd is formidable, but a repeat win is boring and unnecessary given her competition this year. Kirby would be fantastic too.

August 22, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJROCK1772

Strahovski (and Serena Joy) was the subject of most of the Handmaid buzz this season, and she seems to have gained even more momentum since the finale. I think it’s hers to lose.

August 23, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

Strahovski was jaw droppingly good this year. To the point that I didn't even know she had that in her.

But, I'm fully pulling for Kirby, who was great all season, but especially in her complicated performance in Beryl.

August 23, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoe

Strahovski, of course. She should and will win.

August 23, 2018 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

I know this site doesn't like Breaking Bad, but ragging on Anna Gunn for winning twice in a row feels slightly unfair. Two in a run isn't even that bad by Emmy standards, and Gunn had to endure the misogyny of a lot of BB fans over the years so those two Emmys (and she's fantastic on the show) felt earned to me.

Whilst you can never bet against Ann Dowd repeating, my sense is that if Yvonne Strahovski got in then it's because voters like her rather than that they're just keen to reward the show, so I hope she pulls it off.

August 23, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterben1283

Condragulations ben1283, you are the winner of this week’s challenge. Gunn earned her Emmys, unless it was Hendrick’s The Other Woman tape. Also it should be Strahovski’s, but Emmys gonna Emmy...

August 23, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterKirk

I also think that Yvonne Strahovski should win ... what a season. She was brilliant.

I think right behind is Lena Headey. She has to win an Emmy eventually, right!? But time is running out.

The Crown is my favourite show, so I'd love for Vanessa Kirby to surprise and win.

Ann Dowd and Thandie Newton didn't have the meatiest role this season. Same with Alexis Bledel. But I love all three.

Millie Bobby Brown should be happy to be nominated.

August 23, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRod

Should win: Vanessa Kirby
Will win: Lena Headey

August 23, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterSTFU

ben123 I think the disliking of breaking bad comes from the love for mad men. They don’t like that bad grew to overshadow mad and their defense for mad men turned to attacks on breaking bad. Same reason they never gave much love to the sopranos or the wire because they were six feet under people, even though all the shows are brilliant. I think if breaking bad has remained the small cult following show it was early on they’d be nicer to it.

August 23, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMike Troutman

I assume Dowd will win again - but I'd love it if Kirby won.

August 23, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterScottC

I really, really hope Strahovski takes this. Bledel and Dowd are great but I don't think their best episodes compare to what Strahovski had to do this season. That one scene in the nursery where she has to tell Moss she can't see her daughter - the conflict in her face as she spits the words out - was stunning.

Newton was also great so I wouldn't be mad if she wins, but really it should be Strahovski.

Brown was good but her first season was better.

August 23, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterDJDeeJay

Should: Vanessa Kirby (she has been the MVP in both seasons of The Crown and the material she was given this season was fantastic)

Will: either Dowd (if laziness factor) or Strahovski (if they're actually watching THT)

August 23, 2018 | Unregistered Commentereduardo

@ben1283 - Oh, I thought Anna Gunn was fantastic on Breaking Bad! She was an absolutely worthy winner - especially for "Ozymandias." I simply mean that, not only was she a repeat winner (which the Emmy's really do love), but she was the frontrunner all Emmy season. I expect Dowd to be the same way, and while she is great, would love to see someone unexpected take it.

@Mike Troutman - If we're talking about Mad Men exclusively in the Drama Supporting Actress race, the year Christina Hendricks should have won was for her Season 5 performance in "The Other Woman," and Maggie Smith won. So it has nothing to do with Mad Men v. Breaking Bad - two shows I greatly admire.

August 23, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterSpencer

I am rooting for Lena Headey - she is the only one nominated from GOT in this category without williams and clark no vote split will happen unlike the handmaid tale girls... kirby and newton cant be counted out as well. I think far behind is brown.
Lena has this in the bag with 4 nominations in this category without a win... im sure they give it to her this time. Then next yr they could reward maise williams if she steals the show as it looks like she will be the one to kill cersei

August 23, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterVal

The scenes between Strahovski and Moss are the most compelling of the series, and it’s impossible not to look away from the conflict on Serena Joy’s face. The scene in the finale between the two was torment, and Strahovski calculated every nuance perfectly. I really hope her work is recognised.

August 24, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Devus: Vanessa Kibi (She is MVP in both seasons of the crown, she received great elements in this season)

I think: Dowd (if lazy) or Strahovski (they really look at THT)

Read my blog: highest paid actresses

August 25, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterTop10

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