Emmy Predictions: Lead Actress in a Limited Series or TV Movie – Could Lily James or Sarah Paulson Pull Off a Surprise Win on Emmy Night?


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UPDATED: August 4, 2022



In a transformative performance, Lily James captures the essence of actor and model Pamela Anderson in the Hulu series “Pam & Tommy.” Making magic with her nominated co-star Sebastian Stan, she slices through the ’90s period easily, capturing the nuance and heart of the story being told. This is only the beginning for the English star, but a win may have to wait until the next one.

Picking up her first Oscar nomination in 2021, Amanda Seyfried followed it up with a career best performance in Hulu’s “The Dropout.” Aside from Michael Keaton’s assured win for “Dopesick,” she’s long been considered one of the closest “locks” of the evening. While her co-star Naveen Andrews egregiously missed out, additional “Dropout” acting noms only reinforce her front-runner status.

An Emmy winner for “United States of Tara,” Toni Collette picked up her fifth career nom for her turn as the deceased (murdered?) wife, Kathleen, in the HBO Max adaptation of the documentary. While the show didn’t perform as well as many had expected, only picking up another mention for co-star Colin Firth, the commitment by Collette is undeniable. It could be a shocking upset waiting in the wings.

Read moreVariety’s Awards Circuit Emmys Predictions Hub

Portraying O.J. Simpson prosecutor Marcia Clark brought Sarah Paulson to the Emmy stage. As Linda Tripp, another real-life person, she surprised many by landing her eighth acting nom for the FX limited series. The Ryan Murphy production focusing on the impeachment of Bill Clinton popped up in a few categories, and Paulson’s industry respect was a big part of why “Impeachment” got a foot in the race.

Julia Garner picked up two acting bids this year — supporting actress drama for “Ozark” and her riveting and buzzy turn as Anna Delvey in “Inventing Anna,” both from Netflix. With two Emmy wins thus far and “Anna” getting a surprise nom for limited series, could one of those noms help the other, leading to a double win? The thesp who may play Madonna sees her star continue to rise.

One of the surviving entities of the Netflix drama that fell off the Emmy wagon, Margaret Qualley earned a deserved second career nom for her turn as a single mother. Three years after her inaugural entry for “Fosse/Verdon,” Qualley was long perceived to be the spoiler in the race, and since there aren’t many other ways to reward the series, she could be an easy box for voters to check.

The complete television awards season calendar is linked here.

Read moreVariety’s Awards Circuit Oscars Predictions Hub

The 74th Primetime Emmy Awards will take place on Monday, Sept. 12, and air on NBC.

2021 category winner: Kate Winslet, “Mare of Easttown” (HBO)


Sarah Paulson as Linda Tripp. - Credit: Courtesy of FX
Sarah Paulson as Linda Tripp. - Credit: Courtesy of FX

Courtesy of FX

And The Nominees Are:




Show and Network


Amanda Seyfried

Elizabeth Holmes

“The Dropout” (Hulu)

Key facts: First nomination


Sarah Paulson

Linda Tripp

“Impeachment: American Crime Story” (FX)

Key facts: Eighth nomination, with one previous win in lead actress limited for “The People vs. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story”


Lily James

Pamela Anderson

“Pam & Tommy” (Hulu)

Key facts: First nomination


Toni Collette


“The Staircase” (HBO Max)

Key facts: Fifth nomination, one previous win for lead actress comedy for “United States of Tara.”


Julia Garner

Anna Delvey

“Inventing Anna” (Netflix)

Key facts: Double nominee this year, along with supporting actress drama for “Ozark,” for which she won two Emmys previously.


Margaret Qualley


“MAID” (Netflix)

Key facts: First nomination

AWARDS CATEGORY HISTORY (Lead Actress Limited Series)

The Primetime Emmy Awards, better known simply as the Emmys, is television’s most prestigious artistic award. Many records have been held for wins and nominations in the near eight decades.

For wins: Helen Mirren has the most wins in this category with four – “Prime Suspect: The Scent of Darkness” (1995), “The Passion of Ayn Rand” (1999), “Elizabeth I” (2005) and “Prime Suspect: The Final Act” (2006). Patty Duke and Laura Linney each have the second most with three.

For nominations: Helen Mirren is the most nominated actress in this category with 10. Judy Davis and Jessica Lange are second with seven each.

2022 Primetime Emmy Awards Predictions

2022 Creative Arts Emmys Predictions

About the Primetime Emmy Awards (Emmys)

The Primetime Emmy Awards, better known as the Emmys, are given out by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS). Since 1949, the awards have recognized excellence in American primetime television programming. They are divided into three classes – Primetime Emmy Awards, the Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards (honors artisan achievements), and the Primetime Engineering Emmy Awards (recognizes significant engineering and technological contributions). The typical eligibility period is between June 1 and May 31 of any given year. The Television Academy comprises over 25,000 members, representing 30 professional peer groups, including performers, directors, producers, art directors and various artisans and executives.

  • The 74th Emmy Awards will take place on Monday, Sept. 12, and air on NBC.

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