Every year, SAG-AFTRA nominates five women in the Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series category. These five actresses are examples of the true talent that is on current television, actresses who go beyond themselves to find the character they’re portraying. These women are diverse and nuanced, the actors bringing their words to life.
One such performance is from Elisabeth Moss from The Handmaid’s Tale. There’s no denying that Moss is giving one of the fiercest performances on television right now. The Handmaid’s Tale continued with its fourth season in 2021, enrapturing its audience even further. Moss has been nominated for all three previous seasons of the show, so it would only make sense for SAG-AFTRA to keep nominating her – they obviously love her!
Another performance to look out for is from Mj Rodriguez in FX’s final season of Pose. Rodriguez made history at the 2021 Emmys by becoming the first trans actor to be nominated in Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series and looks to do the same at the upcoming SAGs. Her co-star, Billy Porter, will likely be nominated for his performance, as well as the series getting a nod in Outstanding Ensemble in a Drama Series. Rodriguez is in a pretty good position, and it seems likely she will get a nomination in this category. She also just won her first Golden Globe award on Sunday, for lead actress in a drama series.
Succession has had a SAG curse on it for its first two seasons, unable to garner a single nomination at the awards show despite winning several Emmys, including Outstanding Drama Series. Could this year break that curse? It seems likely. It also seems likely that Sarah Snook could get a nomination for her work in the show this year. The show is almost a lock for Ensemble in a Drama Series, so it would only make sense to bring its individual actors along for the ride, and Snook is terrific and just scored a Golden Globe award this weekend for supporting actress.
Right behind her is Jennifer Aniston, a previous winner in this category for The Morning Show. Aniston won in 2020 for the first season of the show, and with the series likely to be nominated for Ensemble in a Drama (or at least be very competitive in that category), she’s likely to receive another nomination for her work in the show. Could her co-star, Reese Witherspoon, join her in the category this year? It seems unlikely, but SAG-AFTRA could surprise when the nominations come out. As with Aniston, it does boost Witherspoon’s chances that the series is competitive in the Ensemble category.
Four-time nominee and two-time winner at the SAG Awards, Uzo Aduba, gave a brilliant and thoughtful performance in 2021’s new season of In Treatment, which put Aduba in the therapist’s chair as she helped clients navigate their troubles. Aduba is clearly beloved by her fellow actors, and this could be their chance to give her another nomination, so it’s entirely possible that she gets a nomination even with In Treatment not generating as much buzz as its competitors.
A major spoiler in this category could be Melanie Lynskey, whose new series Yellowjackets has been much discussed in the past few weeks. Perhaps handicapped by how new the series is (and if it’s generating enough buzz around its actors), Lynskey is being discussed as a potential Emmy nominee next year – why not SAG, too?
My predictions for the nominations for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series:
- Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid’s Tale
- Sarah Snook, Succession
- Mj Rodriguez, Pose
- Jennifer Aniston, The Morning Show
- Uzo Aduba, In Treatment
Spoilers: Reese Witherspoon, The Morning Show; Melanie Lynskey, Yellowjackets
Photo: David Russell/HBO