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 TV.com 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 conquered the comedy categories, revealing our selections for Supporting Actress, Supporting Actor, Lead Actress, Lead Actor, and Comedy Series. Now we're working our way through the drama categories; we've highlighted our picks for Supporting Actress and Supporting Actor, and today we move on to 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 TATIANA MASLANY:I'm a relatively new Orphan Black fan—I marathoned Season 1 over the course of a few days in the lead-up to Season 2—and while I wouldn't call myself a diehard, there's no denying that what Maslany has accomplished while singlehandedly portraying every member of the Clone Club is pretty dang astonishing. And it's not just the feat of keeping the various storylines straight, or the crazy amount of work that playing several different characters (sometimes in the same scene) entails. Maslany is the sole reason that Orphan Black's themes of identity and nature vs. nurture are so compelling; she is playing multiple wholly different people, seemingly unique individuals with different motivations, challenges, aspirations, and needs. In the hands of a lesser actress, the show flat-out wouldn't work, but thanks to Maslany's nuanced, extremely layered performances (just the thought of playing one clone impersonating another one makes my head spin), it's actually pretty easy to forget that a majority of Orphan Black's cast literally has the same face. — Jen Trolio
WHY ALLISON TOLMAN: Raise your hand if you knew who Allison Tolman was before seeing her play Molly Solverson on FX's Fargo. *Allison Tolman's mom raises her hand* Yep, that's it. Tolman was unemployed when she auditioned for the part, working as a post-production manager at a photography studio when she landed it, and now she's not only acting alongside A-listers like Martin Freeman, Billy Bob Thornton, Colin Hanks, and Kate Walsh, she's more than holding her own. Thanks to a combination of vulnerability, determination, and an elastic face in the role of Molly, Tolman is easily television's brightest new star—and she's just getting started. — Tim Surette
Who would YOU nominate for Lead Actress in a Drama?