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The 2014 Emmy nominations ballots are out, which means it's time to decide whose names we'd like to hear called on Thursday, July 10 when the Television Academy of Arts and Sciences announces the shows and actors who're officially in the running for the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards.

I asked some of my fellow staffers to join me in choosing our dream nominees, and after hours of internal debates and monologues that would make even Scrubs' JD tell us to shut up already, we've boldly narrowed down our picks—and as you'll see at the bottom of this page, we're prepared to defend them, too!

Each day for the next couple weeks, we'll be bringing you our highly sought-after, well-respected, and very prolific thoughts and opinions on which shows and actors should make the cut. We've already revealed our selections for Supporting Actress in a Comedy and Supporting Actor in a Comedy, and today we're discussing leading ladies.

Editors' Note: You may notice that some of our nominees don't match up with the official Emmy ballots. That's not a mistake; we've taken a few liberties because we're only "dreaming" about the 10 "major" categories, and we didn't want to leave out deserving performers based simply on their submission strategies and our coverage plans. In come cases you may see folks from the miniseries and guest-star races in our lead and supporting wish lists.


WHY TAYLOR SCHILLING: I was initially against Schilling's performance in Orange Is the New Black, if only because it, along with her character Piper, were the least interesting and least sympathetic aspect of the show. I can't tell you exactly when that changed for me, but the reason it did is that I realized that despite being the lead in this massively talented ensemble, Schilling was doing what we normally find great supporting actors doing: reacting to everyone else around her, and grounding her reactions in some dramatic honesty. The show's bigger, meatier performances work in no small part because Schilling treats them exactly like how we'd imagine a white, privileged lady from Brooklyn would treat them. Throughout Season 1, Piper refused to make eye contact and plodded along, quietly flummoxed and deferential... until she snapped, and Schilling let all of Piper's confusion, isolation, and denied privilege come pouring out. — Noel Kirkpatrick

WHY EMMY ROSSUM: Showtime is hoping that submitting Shameless as a comedy will give the show and its cast a better chance at getting nominated, but Rossum's work feels especially odd on this side of the race. Still, there's a reason she's one of those performers who constantly appears on dream Emmy ballots, and I couldn't not include her. Shameless's fourth season took Fiona on a journey that began with a good job and health perks, led to an alcohol-infused tailspin, and concluded with a short stint in prison, and Rossum killed it every step of the way. The show's wild swings in tone can be frustrating, but with Rossum holding things together (even while Fiona is falling apart), Shameless, much like the Gallaghers, makes it work. — Cory Barker

Who would YOU nominate for Lead Actress in a Comedy?

Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 8/25/2014

Season 66 : Episode 1

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