Emmy Spotlight 2007: Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Jun 4, 2007  •  Post A Comment

Ensemble drama is the great equalizer, making it difficult to decide who’s a leading actor and who’s supporting. That dilemma is especially obvious this year in the category of supporting actress in a drama series.
“There are a lot of potential nominees from a lot of these shows,” said Brad Adgate, senior VP of research, Horizon Media. “But they can eat each other up.”
Take ABC’s freshman ensemble drama “Brothers and Sisters.” Sally Field, Calista Flockhart, Patricia Wettig and Rachel Griffiths are all stand-outs. “They could cannibalize each other,” said Mr. Adgate.
According to former CNN senior entertainment correspondent Bill Tush, Ms. Flockhart is a shoo-in for whichever category she chooses. “She lives with Harrison Ford, so if she gets nominated, he’ll show up with her, which will add star power to the show,” he said.
Though Fox’s “24” and ABC’s “Lost” both appear to be long shots for a nomination in the drama series category, there’s always the chance that Emmy voters will recognize a supporting actress: “24’s” Mary Lynn Rajskub, who plays the indomitable computer analyst Chloe, or “Lost’s” Evangeline Lilly, who plays Kate Austen, and Elizabeth Mitchell, who plays Juliet Burke, one of the “Others.”
There’s more potential for cannibalization in ensemble drama ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy,” where Sandra Oh, Chandra Wilson, Katherine Heigl and Kate Walsh have all been tapped as potential nominees by industry insiders.
And although HBO’s “The Sopranos” features a strong female character in Edie Falco, the series is woefully short on female supporting actresses, with the exception of Lorraine Bracco, who plays Tony’s psychiatrist Dr. Jennifer Melfi.
But there are intriguing possibilities from other, less obvious shows. Marisa Tomei just won the 2007 Gracie Allen Award for supporting actress in a drama for FX’s “Rescue Me,” on which she played Angie in a single, memorable episode. And HBO’s drama “Big Love,” about a polygamous family, provides multiple opportunities for a supporting actress nomination, including the three wives, played by Jeanne Tripplehorn, Chloe Sevigny and Ginnifer Goodwin. Also notable is Grace Zabriskie, who plays a feisty and unpredictable ex-wife of Harry Dean Stanton and mother of Bill Paxton.
Jill Rosengard Hill, vice president of Frank N. Magid Associates, noted the confusion that can arise with viewers over the lead versus supporting role. “They may not agree with the nominations or the outcome,” she said.
At a Glance
Leading Contender
Sandra Oh, “Grey’s Anatomy” (ABC)
Other Likely Nominees
Lorraine Bracco, “The Sopranos” (HBO)
Mary Lynn Rajskub, “24” (Fox)
Evangeline Lilly, “Lost” (ABC)
Calista Flockhart, “Brothers and Sisters” (ABC)
Strong Picks
Sally Field, “Brothers and Sisters” (ABC)
Rachel Griffiths, “Brothers and Sisters” (ABC)
Katherine Heigl, “Grey’s Anatomy” (ABC)
Chandra Wilson, “Grey’s Anatomy” (ABC)
Jeanne Tripplehorn, “Big Love” (HBO)


  1. It’s fucking ridiculous that they list Sandra Oh as the leading contender. She’s is LEAST talented actress on Grey’s Anatomy and should not be nominated what so ever.

  2. I don’t think it’s ridiculous at all- in fact I hope she does win. It can’t be easy playing such an unlikeable character with such vulnerability and defensiveness simultaneuously. So well done to Sandra for this nomination!

Your Comment

Email (will not be published)