After a week off, Daily Arts Writers and Editors are back to continue our series on who we think should be among the nominees announced this Thursday. Here’s our look at Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series:
Matthew Barnauskas, Daily TV/New Media Editor:
Ann Dowd, “The Leftovers” — Returning to haunt the mind of Kevin Garvey, Dowd’s character, Patti, moved from being a mostly silent presence in the first season to a much more verbal, yet equally hostile, figure as she drove her way into Kevin’s psyche. Dowd formed an authoritative embodiment of the worst fears of Kevin, but also had the chance to display Patti’s vulnerability in “International Assassin,” revealing the deeply sad origins of the character, giving sympathy and closure to a truly complex antagonist.
Regina King, “The Leftovers” — Everyone is supposed to be fine in the town of Jarden. Untouched by The Great Departure, the town puts on an image of happiness, but several residents hurt deeply inside, yet are unable to shatter the town’s idealistic image. King’s Erika Murphy is one such person, but when her daughter goes missing all those buried demons come forth. Notably peaking in the fantastic episode “Lens,” King spilled forth all the guilt, confusion, sadness and rage that Erika was supposed to hide away as she tried to find certainty in a world where there often is none.
Taryn Manning, “Orange is the New Black” — Formerly one of the more antagonistic characters in OITNB, the evolution of Tiffany “Pennsatucky” Doggett came to a head in season three. Manning ushered her character through the process of changing for the better but also guided her through some of the most difficult material OITNB has tackled as the character came to grips with her own history of sexual assault after being raped by an abusive guard. Sincere and heartbreaking, Manning grounded a story arc that tackled the horrors of sexual abuse with blunt honesty that isn’t often seen on television.
Rhea Seehorn, “Better Call Saul” — Kim Wexler is almost the exact opposite of Jimmy McGill, yet she’s his biggest supporter and partner. Serving as a constant foil and ally, Seehorn brings a character that often sees the best and worst in “Better Call Saul,” yet resolutely remains true to herself and her ethics. Driven to achieve the highest goals, but determined to reach them the right way, Kim is a character often caught in the middle of the conflict around her, but never capitulates to it, taking the high ground when sinking to the lowest levels may be the easier thing to do.
Sophie Turner, “Game of Thrones” — After years of torment and abuse, the character of Sansa Stark returned with a vengeance in the sixth season of “Game of Thrones.” While award stalwarts like Emilia Clarke and Lena Headey continued their excellence, Turner’s transformation through the years, from a naïve girl to a calculating young woman, finally seemed to reach its zenith as Sansa became a force to be reckoned with as she fought to take her home back. Bearing the burden of Sansa’s trauma, Turner has gradually built her character into one of the most resilient and complex characters in Westeros as “Game of Thrones” enters its final seasons.
Constance Zimmer, “UnReal” — As reality showrunner Quinn, Zimmer is a dominating figure. Callously manipulative, Quinn runs “Everlasting” like Walter White ran his meth empire: with a single-minded determination, trampling any challengers that get in her way. Meanwhile, her relationship with Rachel forms the twisted backbone of the show, one marked by contention, blackmail and a dark friendship that made “UnReal” one of the most intriguing offerings of last year.
Alex Intner, Summer Managing Arts Editor:
Uzo Aduba — “Orange is the New Black”
Taryn Manning — “Orange is the New Black”
Rhea Seehorn — “Better Call Saul”
Holly Taylor — “The Americans”
Alison Wright — “The Americans”
Constance Zimmer — “UnREAL”
The amount of talent working in television drama right now is ridiculous; narrowing this list down to six names was extremely difficult. I could easily fill this ballot with the insanely talented cast of “Orange is the New Black,” but I included Aduba because of her hysterical and deep work while Suzanne found herself writing an erotic fantasy series from prison and Manning because of how she handled her character’s rape by a guard. Seehorn was one of the biggest and best surprises of “Saul” ’s second season, as she embraced her character’s larger role. She brought nuance to Kim’s dealing with Jimmy’s actions that made the season infinitely better. It was impossible not to include two actress from “The Americans” ’s remarkable fourth season. Taylor has proven time-and-time again that she’s one of the best child actresses on television as she showed Paige’s struggles with learning more about her parents and her pastor’s actions. Wright had an extremely difficult role to play in this season, and she handled it with genuine emotion. Her last scene this season made me tear up. Zimmer also brings emotion to her performance, but it’s cooler and more calculated than the others. She plays a cold-hearted character and a master of manipulation in a way that’s everything from terrifying to hysterically funny.
Anay Katyal, Summer Senior Arts Editor:
Uzo Aduba — “Orange is the New Black”
Sophie Turner — “Game of Thrones”
Rhea Seehorn — “Better Call Saul”
Edie Falco — “Horace and Pete”
Ann Dowd — “The Leftovers”
Linda Cardellini — “Bloodline”
Uzo Aduba’s continued consistency and dedication to her character of Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren on “Orange is the New Black” is what makes her a favorite to win the award (once again), and her continued character development and presence on the show is an integral component of “OITNB.” Relative to the continued laudable performances of her female colleagues, Sophie Turner’s time on the sixth season of “Game of Thrones” is a welcome shift in the show’s character development, showcasing a once meek character turn into a vengeful presence on screen; “GoT” has an excellent ensemble cast to say the least, but Turner’s transformation in the show’s latest iteration is deserving of recognition. Though her performance hasn’t garnered the kind of attention that the other actresses on this list enjoy, Rhea Seehorn’s time on “Better Call Saul” is noteworthy, providing a fierce yet endearing element to the otherwise thrilling show. Edie Falco’s role on “Horace and Pete” harkens back to her days in “The Sopranos” — it’s probably not the most conventional pick, but thanks to a mix of my weakness for nostalgia and Falco’s return to form, it’s a performance that I think deserves a fair bit of attention. In its latest season, Ann Dowd returns to “The Leftovers” with a more towering and menacing presence on screen, exchanging her muted persona for a more verbal one, making for a complex and enthralling performance. Linda Cardellini continues being an integral aspect of the wicked family dynamic portrayed in “Bloodline,” providing a performance that leaves audiences wanting more.
Sam Rosenberg, Daily Arts Writer:
Uzo Aduba, “Orange is the New Black”
Rhea Seehorn, “Better Call Saul”
Laverne Cox, “Orange is the New Black”
Carrie-Anne Moss, “Jessica Jones”
Constance Zimmer, “UnREAL”
Though I’ve chosen only four supporting actresses from a drama series, their performances are nevertheless deserving of praise and accolades. Uzo Aduba is bound to win this award yet again as Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren on “Orange is the New Black,” but she still remains extremely committed to her character and consequently furthers Suzanne’s development even more than before. Another performance from “OITNB” worth noting is that of Laverne Cox, who continues to demonstrate her progressive stance in television as Sophia Burset. In one of the more under-the-radar performances of the year, Rhea Seehorn of AMC’s “Better Call Saul” has the acting chops to pull off the enchanting look and fierceness of HHM lawyer and Jimmy McGill’s love interest Kim Wexler. Carrie-Anne Moss also does impressive work as strong-willed queer attorney Jeri Hogarth, balancing her character’s seriousness with elegance. But perhaps the most compelling dramatic acting from a supporting role in television currently belongs to Constance Zimmer, who is equally stirring and captivating to watch as the blunt, conniving showrunner on the “Bachelor”-esque reality competition show “Everlasting.”