Emmy Predictions: Supporting Actress in a Drama Series – Multiple ‘Crown’ and ‘Handmaid’s’ Seeking Acting Recognition

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Variety's Awards Circuit is home to the official predictions for the upcoming Emmys ceremonies from film awards editor Clayton Davis. Following history, buzz, news, reviews and sources, the Emmy predictions are updated regularly with the current year's list of contenders in all categories. Variety's Awards Circuit Prediction schedule consists of four phases, running all year long: Draft, Pre-Season, Regular Season and Post Season. The eligibility calendar and dates of awards will determine how long each phase lasts and is subject to change.

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DRAFT>>>PRE-SEASON>>>REGULAR SEASON>>>POST SEASON

2021 EMMYS PREDICTIONS:
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES

UPDATED: Aug 19, 2021

AWARDS PREDICTION COMMENTARY: Portraying the former U.K. prime minister is proving to be an awards magnet (see Meryl Streep’s 2011 turn in “The Iron Lady”). Now Gillian Anderson is destined to win her second Emmy, 24 years after her first. She’s been a force the entire awards season, picking up prizes from Critics Choice, Globes and SAG. That, and her submission of “Favourites,” makes her the most surefire lock of the presumed front-runners.

Helena Bonham Carter nabbed her second consecutive nod as Princess Margaret, but while there is no denying her talent, timing never seems to be on her side for award wins. Last year she lost after being the front-runner for most of the season, and now she is up against multiple co-stars. Bonham Carter’s submission (“The Hereditary Principle”) is strong, but it would still be a big upset if she won.

Madeline Brewer finally got a chance to break out and establish herself as a force just as strong as the titular character, but with very different methods, in Season 4 of “The Handmaid’s Tale.” She submitted “Testimony,” which appears in a few other places, but while she will certainly have eyes on her, attention will be divided between her and three other co-stars, which is likely a hurdle too great to conquer this time around.

Ann Dowd is one of the industry’s most gifted actors and someone who is well-respected among her peers. That certainly has won her votes in the past, and she does have an Emmy win for this role (from 2017). She is in early Oscar conversations for “Mass” and that kind of buzz has its own momentum, but this year it looks like TV will assist film. She’s chosen the episode “Progress” as her submission.

Aunjanue Ellis landed a surprise Emmy nom in 2019 for “When They See Us” and has continued to turn in scene-stealing performances ever since. Ellis is helped here by early Oscar buzz for her role as Venus and Serena Williams’ mother opposite Will Smith in “King Richard.” If voters want to simultaneously reward the show and chide HBO for its cancelation of “Lovecraft Country,” Ellis, who submitted “I Am,” could be a beneficiary

Earlier this year, the multi-hyphenate Emerald Fennell won an Oscar for “Promising Young Woman.” If she wins this Emmy, she will be one of only a few who have earned both coveted awards in the same year. But as impactful as her performance as Camilla Parker Bowles was, especially in her submitted episode “Fairytale,” it was also subtle. For that reason, it would be quite a shocker to see her win over her co-stars.

Yvonne Strahovski returned to this ballot for the first time since 2018 after a season that gave her an opportunity to play her “Handmaid’s Tale” character outside the confines of her marriage. With her submission being “Home,” she could be the leading contender among her co-stars. The problem is that there are so many of her co-stars on the ballot, and “The Crown’s” Anderson still has so much heat off the winter awards circuit. She may just have to wait a little longer before getting the gold.

Samira Wiley has been nominated four times overall for the Hulu dystopian tale, but the only time she won was when she was in the guest race in 2018. She has proven to be an Academy favorite (only one of three performers to be celebrated for every season of this series), but she faces a near-impossible feat of overtaking a lot of noisier performances this year.

The viewing platform for Emmy nominees opens on Aug. 13, with final-round voting beginning on Aug. 19 at 9 a.m. PT until Aug. 30 at 10 p.m. PT.

Check out the full rankings of the category’s nominees in the chart below.

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ALL SUBMISSIONS & RANKINGS:

AWARDS CATEGORY HISTORY (Supporting Actress in a Drama Series)

The Primetime Emmy Awards, better known simply as the Emmys, is television's most prestigious artistic award. There are many records held for both wins and nominations in the near eight decades.

For wins: Nancy Marchand has the most wins in this category with four, all for her work as Margaret Pynchon in "Lou Grant," three of which were consecutive. Ellen Corby is second in line with three.

For an entire series, "Lou Grant" has the most wins with four while "St. Elsewhere," "The Waltons" and "The West Wing" with three apiece.

For nominations: Tyne Daly has the most nominations with eight, with Nancy Marchand and Betty Thomas close behind with seven.

"Hill Street Blues" is the series that has received the most nominations in this category over its run, with 13 nominations, with "Game of Thrones" close behind with 12.

2021 Primetime Emmy Awards Predictions

About the Primetime Emmy Awards (Emmys)

The Primetime Emmy Awards, better known as the Emmys, is given out by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS). Since 1949, the awards recognize 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 73rd Emmy Awards are scheduled to air on Sunday, Sept. 19 at 8:00 pm est on CBS and on-demand on sister streamer Paramount Plus.

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