This year’s top two contenders took a gap year in 2021. 2020 winner Zendaya (Euphoria) and Laura Linney (a two–time nominee for Ozark) return to the competition with clear and far out in front frontrunner status. It will be a head–to–head once again for the two, who were arguably the top two contenders in 2020 with Linney providing what seemed like a winning submission against Zendaya’s but losing while the latter made Emmy history.
No one nominated last year is eligible to return this year…at least for the show they got nominated for. One show ended its run (FX’s Pose), two were not renewed (HBO’s In Treatment and Lovecraft Country) and two that have given us previous winners in this category didn’t air seasons within the eligibility window (Netflix’s The Crown, Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale). Only Elisabeth Moss, nominated last year for The Handmaid’s Tale and a previous winner for it, could break through with her new show, Shining Girls on AppleTV+.
In fact, 2022 might look very much like 2020 as Linney, Zendaya, Jennifer Aniston (The Morning Show) and both Sandra Oh and 2019 winner Jodie Comer (Killing Eve) could all reclaim their spots. If that’s the case, the question is…who lands that last spot? My bet is on Critics’ Choice winner Melanie Lynskey (Yellowjackets) but up and comer Simone Ashley (Bridgerton) and Mandy Moore in the final season of This Is Us (who was nominated in 2019 and whose buzz has been deafening this week) or even Britt Lower, of the breakout hit Severance, could take it.
Here are my predictions for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.
- Zendaya – Euphoria (HBO)
- Laura Linney – Ozark (Netflix)
- Melanie Lynskey – Yellowjackets (Showtime)
- Jennifer Aniston – The Morning Show (AppleTV+)
- Jodie Comer – Killing Eve (AMC/BBC America)
- Sandra Oh – Killing Eve (AMC/BBC America)
Look out for: Simone Ashley – Bridgerton (Netflix), Christine Baranski – The Good Fight (Paramount+), Carrie Coon – The Gilded Age (HBO/HBO Max), Britt Lower – Severance (AppleTV+), Mandy Moore – This Is Us (NBC), Elisabeth Moss – Shining Girls (AppleTV+)
Photo courtesy of Netflix