Emmy voting is underway! This week, voters will be checking off names and shows they think are worthy of getting a nomination come July 10. We at TVGuide.com have a few selections in mind ourselves. Next up: our dream ballot for Best Lead Actress in a Drama Series.
Lizzy Caplan, Masters of Sex
The Mean Girls and Party Down star has been simply revelatory on the Showtime drama and arguably has never been better. As sex research pioneer Dr. Virginia Johnson, Caplan is fearlessly confident, sensual, ambitious and flawed in capturing a true woman ahead of her time but not out of place in hers.
Vera Farminga, Bates Motel
Bates Motel is still Norman's story, but we're watching it all for Farmiga right now. Smothering and smoldering, the actress, who was nominated last year, completely sells Norma's deliriously wounded, ferociously protective personas to put a unique twist on a woman we all thought we already knew.
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Snubbed last year (despite seven nominees), the 2011 champ ought to return to the shortlist after one helluva season. The "Education of Alicia Florrick" carried on with her striking out on her own and later struggling to make sense out of Will's senseless death — all played with poised and pained perfection by Margulies. It's hard, but not impossible for a snubbee to return the following year — Jane Lynch and Jane Krakowski most recently accomplished it last year.
Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black
We will cut the Emmys a little slack for overlooking Maslany last year since Orphan Blackwas just starting to take off during voting. But there is no excuse this year to ignore the Golden Globe nominee, who continues to imbue each clone with surprising, coherent subtlety. C'mon, guys. Join the Clone Club!
Keri Russell, The Americans
If Season 1 established Elizabeth Jennings as a steely spy, Season 2 chipped away at that icy exterior to show the woman underneath. As her marriage to Philip became complicatedly real and Elizabeth felt her daughter Paige slip away (to God, no less), Russell found new shades of vulnerability, which only makes the finale twist resonate even more.
Robin Wright, House of Cards
The Golden Globe champ's modern-day Lady Macbeth managed to out-Macbeth Frank in Season 2. Look no further than Wright's surefire Emmy tape, "Chapter 17," in which Claire masterfully changes the message by saying (re: lying) during her CNN interview that she had an abortion after getting impregnated by her rapist, General McGinnis. It's a cold, calculating move, deftly played by Wright, that elicits both disbelief and sympathy.
Who would you nominate?