April 10, 2023

Emmy Predictions: Lead Actress (Drama) – Jennifer Coolidge, Rhea Seehorn and Sarah Snook Could Call an Audible With Their Campaigns

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Variety Awards Circuit section is the home for all awards news and related content throughout the year, featuring the following: the official predictions for the upcoming Oscars, Emmys, Grammys and Tony Awards ceremonies, curated by Variety senior awards editor Clayton Davis. The prediction pages reflect the current standings in the race and do not reflect personal preferences for any individual contender. As other formal (and informal) polls suggest, competitions are fluid and subject to change based on buzz and events. Predictions are updated every Thursday.

Visit the prediction pages for the respective ceremonies via the links below:

OSCARS | EMMYS | GRAMMYS | TONYS

UPDATED: April 10, 2023

2023 Emmy Predictions:
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Melanie Lynskey as Shauna in YELLOWJACKETS Season 2
Courtesy of Kimberley French/Showtime

Weekly Commentary: Jennifer Coolidge, Rhea Seehorn and Sarah Snook are among the supporting contenders who see an opportunity to be seen as leading ladies, which could lead to critical campaign switches.

Variety has exclusively reported discussions surrounding Coolidge (“The White Lotus”), Seehorn (“Better Call Saul”) and Snook (“Succession”), potentially opting to seek lead drama actress bids for their respective shows. Interestingly, it’s a change that could benefit the previously nominated actresses due to the seeming lack of typically obvious and buzzy contenders. More so, any of them can potentially win, with each having just as many risks that don’t necessarily outweigh the rewards.

In phase one, Melanie Lynskey has emerged as the early favorite for her second outing as the traumatized plane crash survivor Shauna for Showtime’s “Yellowjackets.” While other acclaimed and respected names such as Emma D’Arcy (“House of the Dragon”), Bella Ramsey (“The Last of Us”) and Imelda Staunton (“The Crown”) are also in the running, they are far from locks (for the moment).

Snook, who plays the political fixer daughter Shiv, has been nominated twice but has yet to win the prize. Arguably a leading character for the entire series, the love for the Australian sensation has been palpable, and many feel she’s due for some overdue recognition. An added benefit, it will also allow her co-star J. Smith Cameron, who nabbed her first nom last year, to vie for her first career Emmy.

When it comes to Seehorn, she’s also a respected actor, playing a beloved character, Kim Wexler, the confidante of Saul Goodman. The second part of the sixth and final season of the “Breaking Bad” spinoff aired last July. And while Seehorn appeared in four of the six episodes, voters could view her as a packaged deal with her co-star Bob Odenkirk, who is competing in his lead drama actor race. In addition, the show created by Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould has received an astounding 46 total Emmy noms but has yet to secure a single prize. It’s about time that changes.

Snook and Seehorn opting for leading attention will now create an opportunity for their respective series to be nominated in every major acting race, following in the footsteps of achievers like “The Crown” (in 2021, nearly sweeping, losing Charles Dance for guest drama actor). An across-the-board nominee such as that seldom results in none of the actors winning.

And then there’s the magical delight of Jennifer Coolidge as Tanya McQuoid in “The White Lotus: Sicily.” Coming off her win last year for the show’s inaugural season (but in limited series, which the show cannot compete), the 61-year-old sensation has been cleaning up on the circuit this season, albeit across different categorizations. At the Golden Globes, she won in the supporting actress (limited) race, along with the show, while at Critics Choice, she picked up the drama side prize. Most notably, Coolidge took home the SAG Award for female drama actress, which suggests she could succeed there with the TV Academy.

Noteworthy, SAG doesn’t hand out awards for supporting, and three of her four fellow nominees — Julia Garner, Laura Linney (“Ozark”) and Zendaya (“Euphoria”) — are not eligible this season, with only Elizabeth Debicki (“The Crown”) competing, also in supporting.

HBO

A critical difference between the Oscars and Emmys is how they treat category submissions. With the Oscars, a member is allowed vote for an actor in either lead or supporting, despite FYC campaigns. With the Emmys, where the actor submits is the only spot they can be chosen.

Finally, we should point out the changed voting method that makes all races even more unknown. In previous years, there wasn’t a cap for how many contenders a member could vote in any given category (that wasn’t juried). For instance, the lead drama actress had 114 performers submitted in 2022, which would yield six nominees. However, a member voting for nominations could check all 114 names if desired. When ballots are filled out in June, only up to six submissions can be chosen (as it should have always been). That makes every race more competitive and even more unknown.

To quote the knight from “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” (1989), “Choose wisely.”

Emmy Nominations voting runs from June 15-26. The Primetime Emmy nominations will be announced on July 12. Check back every Thursday for the latest updates. All information is preliminary and is subject to change.

And the Predicted Nominees Are:


  1. Emma D’Arcy — “House of the Dragon” (HBO)
  2. Elisabeth Moss — “The Handmaid’s Tale” (Hulu)
  3. Sharon Horgan — “Bad Sisters” (Apple TV+)
  4. Sophie Nélisse — “Yellowjackets” (Showtime)

Other Top-Tier Possibilities


  1. Tawny Cypress — “Yellowjackets” (Showtime)
  2. Juliette Lewis — “Yellowjackets” (Showtime)
  3. Keri Russell — “The Diplomat” (Netflix)
  4. Christine Baranski — “The Good Fight” (Paramount+)
  5. Helen Mirren — “1923” (Paramount+)
  6. Hilary Swank — “Alaska Daily” (ABC)
  7. Betty Gilpin — “Mrs. Davis” (Peacock)
  8. Toni Collette The Power” (Prime Video)
  9. India Amarteifio — “Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story” (Netflix)
  10. Morfydd Clark — “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” (Prime Video)

All Eligible Titles (Alphabetized by Network)**


** This official list and category submission is not yet complete or confirmed and is subject to change.

2022 category winner: Zendaya, “Euphoria” (HBO)


Emmy Awards Predictions Categories

DRAMA SERIES | COMEDY SERIES | LIMITED OR ANTHOLOGY SERIES | TV MOVIE | LEAD ACTOR (DRAMA) | LEAD ACTOR (COMEDY) | LEAD ACTOR (LIMITED/TV MOVIE) | LEAD ACTRESS (DRAMA) | LEAD ACTRESS (COMEDY) | LEAD ACTRESS (LIMITED/TV MOVIE) | SUPPORTING ACTOR (DRAMA) | SUPPORTING ACTOR (COMEDY) | SUPPORTING ACTOR (LIMITED/TV MOVIE) | SUPPORTING ACTRESS (DRAMA) | SUPPORTING ACTRESS (COMEDY) | SUPPORTING ACTRESS (LIMITED/TV MOVIE) | TALK SERIES | SCRIPTED VARIETY SERIES | GAME SHOW | DIRECTING (DRAMA, COMEDY, LIMITED/TV MOVIE) | WRITING (DRAMA, COMEDY, LIMITED/TV MOVIE) | VARIETY SKETCH, SERIES, SPECIALS |

Creative Arts and Other Emmy Categories

GUEST ACTING, VOICE-OVER | SHORT FORM | DOCUMENTARY | MUSIC | ANIMATED |

About the Primetime Emmy Awards

The Primetime Emmy Awards, better known as the Emmys, are given out by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS). Since 1949, the awards have recognized excellence in American primetime television programming. They are divided into three classes – Primetime Emmy Awards, the Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards (honors artisan achievements), and the Primetime Engineering Emmy Awards (recognizes significant engineering and technological contributions). The typical eligibility period is between June 1 and May 31 of any given year. The Television Academy comprises over 25,000 members, representing 30 professional peer groups, including performers, directors, producers, art directors, artisans, and executives.



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