Sandra Oh, as expected, received her second back-to-back Emmy nomination for Best Drama Actress for Killing Eve. Oh made history last year as the first Asian actress to be nominated in the lead category. As the only returning nominee, Oh should be the odds on favorite to win, especially when you factor in her performance at the beginning of this year’s awards season winning a Golden Globe and SAG Award. But the race for Best Drama Actress is far from over. And Oh, a six-time nominee, could again be denied her chance at history.
Oh has actually been in this exact position before in 2006 for Grey’s Anatomy picking up both the Globe and SAG Award, but the Emmy for Best Drama Supporting Actress went to Blythe Danner (Huff). Simply put, the more you win the more likely your chance of losing at the Emmys. Since the SAG Awards began in 1995 there have been nine occurrences where the same actress won both the Globe and SAG Award but only four of those ladies were able to complete the trifecta with an Emmy.
In 1997, Gillian Anderson (X-Files) was the first to sweep. Six years later in 2003, Edie Falco (The Sopranos) won all major televised awards. Nine years later, in 2013, Jessica Lange (American Horror Story: Murder House) was the first to sweep for a supporting role. And the following year in 2013, Claire Danes (Homeland) took home every award up for grabs.
Oh is joined by four others that came up short at the Emmys. In 2000, Falco was denied the Emmy by Sela Ward (Once and Again). Four years later, in 2004, Frances Conroy (Six Feet Under) was stopped by Allison Janney (The West Wing). Six years later, in 2010, Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife) was denied by perennial nominee Kyra Sedgwick. And fast forward to 2017 where everything was going Claire Foy’s (The Crown) way until Elisabeth Moss (The Handmaid’s Tale) swooped in and nabbed the Emmy.
If Oh’s fate is sealed and she’s going to lose—then who will win? Three ladies have a legit chance at staging an upset and one just happens to be her co-star. Jodie Comer was snubbed last year at the Emmys for her performance opposite Oh on Killing Eve. However, both Oh’s Globe and SAG Award were for the first season. Comer, in the show’s second season, had much more to do and could slay the competition. Keep in mind the TCA (Television Critics Association) nominated both Comer and Oh for their work last year — and this year, Oh was snubbed.
Emilia Clarke is another possibility for her work as Daenerys on Game of Thrones. While Clarke was snubbed last year, she is a past three-time nominee for Best Drama Supporting Actress (2013, 2015-2016). Daenerys’s storyline has been one of the most polarizing aspects of the final season. However, GoT just received a whopping record-breaking 32 nominations, of which 10 were for acting. The overwhelming love for the show’s performers could bode well for her chances of a possible upset. Drogon may have melted the Iron Throne into an Emmy statue for his mother.
But the one to look out for is Laura Linney for Ozark. Linney was snubbed for the first season — but she has an Emmy record that should make the rest of the ladies nominated nervous. Linney is currently batting four out of five and she has a proven history of surprise wins.
Linney’s first win was Best Mini/Movie Supporting Actress for Wild Iris, in 2002 besting her co-star Gena Rowlands and Oscar winner Vanessa Redgrave (The Gathering Storm). Her next victory was for Best Comedy Guest Actress for Frasier, in 2004 besting the previous two winners; Christina Applegate (Friends) and Emmy favorite Cloris Leachman (Malcolm in the Middle). Another trophy came Linney’s way for Best Limited Series/Movie Actress for John Adams, in 2008 and while this series made history as the most awarded ever with 13 wins—Linney was not a sure-thing. Most believed that Phylicia Rashad would add an Emmy to go with her Tony winning performance in A Raisin in the Sun but it was not to be. When Linney’s series The Big C was cancelled ending with a Limited Series to wrap up the story, once again she was awarded Best Limited Series/Movie Actress in 2013. This was her biggest upset to date besting; Elisabeth Moss (Top of the Lake), Jessica Lange (AHS: Asylum) and the all-time champ in this category Helen Mirren (Phil Spector). Her only loss was for Best Comedy Actress for The Big C first season. This loss was dealt to her by Melissa McCarthy (Mike & Molly) coming off her breakthrough performance and future Oscar nomination for Bridesmaids.
Oh should still be considered the favorite though, especially after nabbing a second nomination this year for Best Comedy Guest Actress for Saturday Night Live, showing she has range and broad support in the television academy. Oh has been everywhere this year, from hosting the Golden Globes to winning awards, and after six losses her time may have finally come.