Emmy Predictions 2021: Outstanding Lead Actress In A Limited Or Anthology Series Or Movie – Can Veteran Kate Winslet Prevail Over 4 First Timers?
An incredibly rich category where, fortunately, no one from the five year old production of Hamilton qualified, leaving room for one of the strongest fields in a long time, boasting a shortlist that cut out the likes of Nicole Kidman in The Undoing, Thuso Mbedu in The Underground Railroad, Kate Mara in A Teacher, Tessa Thompson in Sylvie’s Love and more. There is no question that, in terms of quality, the Limited Series category offers such a range of great work that this it truly deserves to be expanded to allow more nominees. It has become just too much of a heartache to limit it to just five finalists, but here we are with a lineup of four first-time Primetime Emmy nominees, and one very veteran Oscar and Emmy winner looking to do it again. Scroll down to bottom to find out the predicted winner as well as a rundown and predicted winner for the corresponding Supporting Actress in these categories.
Michaela Coel, I May Destroy You
After sweeping the BAFTAs, this virtuoso series has picked up great momentum in this race, landing this star with writing, directing, and producing nominations. Her performance is stunning, but might Academy voters decide she could win Emmys in any number of other categories and spread the wealth by giving this prize to a less versatile nominee?
Cynthia Erivo, Genius: Aretha
Erivo actually has a Daytime Emmy for a Color Purple performance on The Today Show, an odd feat that helped her become a near EGOT winner with a Tony, Grammy, and Emmy all due to the same Broadway turn in Color Purple. But like everyone other than Kate Winslet in this category, this is her first time at the Primetime Emmys so it is a different ballgame. Playing a well-known star is almost always a guaranteed ticket to awards buzz, and although critics were mixed on the overall bio series on Aretha Franklin, they were all agreed that Erivo knocked it out of the park. What will be more interesting is what the effect is of the theatrical movie of Franklin’s life, Respect, starring Erivo’s The Color Purple co-star Jennifer Hudson, which opened just as balloting began for the Emmys. Erivo could be helped by the comparisons or possibly hurt.
Elizabeth Olsen, WandaVision
Like Paul Bettany, Olsen gets to show her range in paying tribute to some of the great comedy stars in American television history, and proving she is more than up to the assignment while also recreating her beloved character from the MCU. The sheer number of nominations—at 23, the most for any Limited Series this year—could mean that WandaVision might be seen by more voters than any other, and that could also help Olsen pull off a win.
Anya Taylor-Joy, The Queen’s Gambit
No one came into this race with more momentum than Taylor-Joy, who swept every precursor award she could win in this role of the chess wunderkind. In the natural scheme of things, the Emmy would seem to be hers, making her the favorite. But since all those earlier awards shows, the competition has truly heated up—and it’s no slam dunk.
Kate Winslet, Mare of Easttown
Winslet is a previous Emmy winner in this category for Mildred Pierce, and she remains the only one of this year’s new class of Emmy nominees to be repeating. Mare of Easttown was late to the race and made a lot of noise—now some pundits are saying the great Kate may be well be set up to win her second Emmy here in what is certainly her most complex role in years. This really is a toss-up, but can she beat Taylor-Joy?
THE WINNER: ANYA TAYLOR-JOY, THE QUEEN’S GAMBIT. I originally thought Winslet, the only previous Emmy winner in this category would triumph again, especially with all the late breaking excitement around Mare, and her widespread media campaign. But Netflix rallied to put Taylor-Joy prominently out there as well with numerous media interviews reminding voters of the power of her performance that cleaned up at awards shows much earlier in the season, but remember that she didn’t compete directly with Winslet at any of them. The massive Creative Arts sweep over the weekend of Queen’s Gambit with 9 wins didn’t gives us a direct clue on what on the actors branch may have done, but I wouldn’t want to bet against her right now, just as I wouldn’t want to bet against her character Beth in a game of chess.
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A LIMITED OR ANTHOLOGY SERIES OR MOVIE
The Hamilton effect strikes here again, with voters showering two of their seven acting nominations for that 2016 filmed version of the play on Renee Elise Goldsberry and Phillipa Soo, but I don’t expect either to triumph here (although Goldsberry could be helped by her non- nominated but acclaimed turn in new Peacock comedy series Girls5eva). Kathryn Hahn is one to carefully watch here for her delicious work in WandaVision, and she is well liked by her fellow actors. Moses Ingram turned up toward the final episodes of The Queen’s Gambit and was memorable, but it is a head-scratcher to me that Marielle Heller was not also nominated, as she made even more of an impression in that series.
If there is the kind of Queen’s Gambit sweep that happened with those 9 wins at the Creative Arts this weekend then Ingram (like we indicated for Thomas Brodie-Sangster in the Supporting Actor category) could be swept along with an overwhelming wave for the series. But, like Supporting Actor, the really deserving candidate is from Mare Of Easttown which brings us to extraordinary work from both Julianne Nicholson and Jean Smart, nominated against each other here and bringing up the possibility of cancelling each other out and handing it to Ingram, or possibly Hahn. But since Smart is almost certainly going to win Lead Comedy Actress for Hacks, voters may feel they can reward her there, and leave breathing room for Nicholson who really brought it all home in the harrowing finale of Mare of Easttown. I am betting on her.
THE PREDICTED WINNER: JULIANNE NICHOLSON, MARE OF EASTTOWN
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