With consecutive Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series victories under her belt for Ozark, Julia Garner has emerged one of the most celebrated actors of late at the Emmys. This year, Garner could keep that streak going – and with not just one but two nominated performances.
Garner is again in Drama Supporting Actress contention for her iconic turn as Ruth Langmore on the final season of Ozark, a performance that brought her Emmy wins in 2019 and 2020. Moreover, Garner has scored her first career nomination outside that category, earning a Limited Series Lead Actress bid for her acclaimed portrayal of Instagram legend/con artist Anna Delvey on Inventing Anna.
Should she triumph for both turns, Garner will join an elite group of Emmy favorites who’ve earned multiple trophies in the same year for different performances. She would be the seventh actor to achieve this feat, following in the footsteps of Cloris Leachman (for The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Cher in 1975), Colleen Dewhurst (for Those She Left Behind and Murphy Brown in 1989), James Earl Jones (for Gabriel’s Fire and Heat Wave in 1991), Shirley Knight (for Indictment: The McMartin Trial and NYPD Blue in 1995), Stockard Channing (for The West Wing and The Matthew Shepard Story in 2002) and Allison Janney (for Mom and Masters of Sex in 2014).
What are the odds Garner pulls off both wins and keeps this remarkable streak alive? Let’s dive into her two categories.
The eight-nominee Drama Supporting Actress field is a crowded and competitive affair, largely packed with Emmy newcomers. Among Garner’s rivals are fellow two-time winner Patricia Arquette (Severance), as well as Christina Ricci (Yellowjackets) and Sarah Snook (Succession), both on their second career Emmy bids. The rest of the lineup – Jung Ho-yeon (Squid Game), Rhea Seehorn (Better Call Saul), J. Smith-Cameron (Succession) and Sydney Sweeney (Euphoria) – is comprised of first-time nominees.
All of these performers have earned raves for their turns on programs that have broad, passionate support, so it’s not easy forecasting how the race will go down. Scoring a record 25 overall nominations, support for Succession and its performers is at an all-time high – and passion for the likes of Euphoria (16 nominations), Severance (14 nominations) and Squid Game (also 14 nominations) is also scorching hot. Consider the enthusiastic fanbases of Better Call Saul and Yellowjackets, both earning seven nominations this year, and you’ve got a lineup where a case could truly be made for any of the contenders.
That said, there is scant reason to doubt Garner can again emerge victorious here. She has overcome formidable competition in her past races, earned series-best notices for her devastating work on Ozark’s final season, and her series scored 13 nominations – perhaps not a Succession-level performance but a robust show of support, nonetheless. That Garner’s turn on Inventing Anna is such a striking departure from her work on Ozark is bound to leave voters even more impressed.
If Garner indeed pulls off a third win, she’ll mark only the third performer to date, on the heels of Nancy Marchand (a four-time winner for Lou Grant) and Ellen Corby (a three-time winner for The Waltons), to score a trio of Drama Supporting Actress wins.
More daunting may be Garner’s odds of triumphing in her other category, Limited Series Lead Actress. While Garner herself scored sterling notices for her turn in the titular role, reviews for Inventing Anna itself were middling and the program sports just a trio of nominations overall – not the most commanding show of support.
There are, however, reasons to not count Garner out. Unlike rivals Toni Collette (The Staircase), Sarah Paulson (Impeachment: American Crime Story) and Margaret Qualley (Maid), her program made the cut in the top Limited Series category. Moreover, despite its lukewarm critical reception, Inventing Anna quickly emerged one of the most viewed programs in Netflix history, a testament to the hearty interest in this story and Garner’s engrossing turn.
Amanda Seyfried (The Dropout), whose performance and program garnered widespread acclaim and attention, likely enters Emmy night as the favorite in this category – but perhaps a modest one at that. Her program was outpaced in nominations, 10 to 6, by Pam & Tommy, so rival Lily James must be taken seriously. And intrigue for Inventing Anna, which was hardly seen as a shoo-in for its Limited Series nomination, may just be potent enough for Garner to prove formidable.
Given the competitive nature of these categories and rarity of a performer scoring two Emmys in the same year for different turns, it may prove challenging for Garner to go all the way and keep her winning streak going 4-for-4. Nonetheless, odds are decent she repeats in Drama Supporting Actress and Limited Series Lead Actress lacks a commanding favorite. The bottom line – underestimate Garner at your own peril.
Photo: Nicole Rivelli/Netflix