Unlike the series categories, there are no ‘returning champs’ in the Limited Series/TV categories…well, not exactly. Anthologies such as American Horror Story feature returning actors (like Sarah Paulson, below) but not necessarily in recurring roles. Then there is the case of Elisabeth Moss in Top of the Lake. While not an anthology, but a continuation of a short-form miniseries, she plays the same character in another storyline. Last year, Big Little Lies debuted as a Limited Series where Nicole Kidman won here. That show has since been renewed and will now compete in the Drama Series categories for the 2019 Emmys.
When Jennifer Fox’s The Tale debuted at Sundance earlier this year it created a firestorm of buzz. But it’s highly sensitive material (involving a truly sinister molestation) and presentation of it kept the studios at bay, even the indies. HBO came in and gave it a home and with it gave Laura Dern a clear path to another Emmy (she won last year for Big Little Lies in supporting). She’s this category’s one true lock.
The aforementioned Moss should easily return for another nomination in this category, especially on the heels of her first Emmy win last year (for Lead Actress in Drama Series – The Handmaid’s Tale).
Jessica Biel has been trying to shed her pinup girl persona to pursue a legitimate acting career and her performance in The Sinner gave her that. Critically lauded, this should get her out of the Teen Choice and Razzie Award basement and get her her first Emmy nomination.
After that it’s a bit of a gamble; Queen Latifah (Flint) should be in – she’s a two-time nominee in this category and won Outstanding Television Movie as a producer on Bessie. Sarah Paulson is an Emmy darling. She was a five-time nominee before finally winning on her 6th nomination for American Crime Story: The People v O.J. Simpson in 2016. Four of her six Emmy nominations come from seasons of American Horror Story. Hayley Atwell has never been Emmy-nominated but the television remake of Howards End is the type of miniseries and performance the Television Academy loves to honor almost as much as The Oscars do. At least they used to…
As you can see below, the Other Contenders list is jammed with possible upsets in the form of Emmy-winning favorites like Edie Falco (Law & Order: True Crime – The Menendez Murders) and Kelly Macdonald (The Child in Time) to Oscar winners like Anna Paquin (The Commuter) and Catherine Zeta-Jones (Cocaine Godmother). I’m keeping my eye out for the never-nominated but respected Anna Deveare Smith in Notes from the Field, her searing one-woman presentation of America’s youth, racism and justice system from her own play.
Here’s how I see the Lead Actress in a Limited Series/TV Movie race right now.
|1. Laura Dern, The Tale (HBO)|
|2. Elisabeth Moss, Top of the Lake: China Girl (Sundance)|
|3. Jessica Biel, The Sinner (USA)|
|4. Queen Latifah, Flint (Lifetime)|
|5. Sarah Paulson, American Horror Story: Cult (FX)|
|6. Hayley Atwell, Howards End (Starz)|
|Clare-Hope Ashitey, Seven Seconds (Netflix)|
|Sofia Boutella, Fahrenheit 451 (HBO)|
|Anna Deavere Smith, Notes from the Field (HBO)|
|Carmen Ejogo, The Girlfriend Experience (Starz)|
|Edie Falco: Law & Order: True Crime – The Menendez Murders (NBC)|
|Kelly Macdonald, The Child in Time (BBC America)|
|Carey Mulligan, Collateral (Netflix)|
|Anna Paquin, Electric Dreams: The Commuter (Amazon)|
|Catherine Zeta-Jones, Cocaine Godmother (Lifetime)|