By Gene Williams

This year’s Emmys race for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries is brought to you by HBO and BBC, oh yeah and Lifetime too. Over ten years cable juggernaut HBO, has won seven times in this category, awarding Emmys to actresses such as Halle Berry, Helen Mirren, Laura Linney and last year’s winner Jessica Lange. This year HBO has another commanding lead with three of its films nominated, with PBS and Lifetime each with one film nomination.

It’s been fifteen years since we have seen Claire Danes at the Primetime Emmys at that time for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Television Drama as Angela Chase in 90’s teen-drama My So-Called Life. This year Emmy recognizes Danes in HBO’s Temple Grandin who plays the title character. This biopic of ranch handler Temple Grandin tells her story and practices for humane handling of livestock on cattle ranches and slaughterhouses, while overcoming obstacles as a woman with autism. Gaining mostly positive reviews Danes’ portrayal of Grandin is a stand out in this category, as this film touches on the seldom mentioned topic of Autism. Temple Grandin received 10 nominations and David Strathairn is also nominated for Supporting Actor for the film.

This year Lifetime has eleven chances to earn its first Primetime Emmy in the networks 26-year history, thanks to Oscar and Emmy nominee Joan Allen. This year Lifetime presents to us the life of acclaimed American painter Georgia O’Keeffe, known for her vibrant works of flowers, rocks, and animal bones. This film is more of a two person film which focuses on O’Keeffe’s relationship and her love of husband Alfred Stieglitz, played by highly acclaimed Jeremy Irons, who by the way is unfortunately snubbed this year for his performance. Allen receives the only acting nomination of nine for Georgia O’Keeffe.

As former first lady, Hillary Clinton, Hope Davis stars in HBO’s history drama The Special Relationship. The film follows the relationship between the Blair’s and Clintons during the 90’s and early part of 2000’s. The film receiving mainly mixed reviews in regards to Michael Sheen’s Tony Blair. Davis anchors the film putting her superb acting abilities to use. Her portrayal of Mia in HBO’s In Treatment should get her notice by academy voters, showcasing her versatility as an actress. Davis is also joined by fellow nominees Dennis Quaid and Michael Sheen. The Special Relationship receives a total of five nominations.

Shakespeare in Love (1999) was the first time I have ever seen a film with Dame Judi Dench. I enjoyed her Academy Award winning portrayal of Queen Elisabeth. This year the Emmys recognize Dench in PBS’s drama Return to Cranford, a follow up to 2008’s Cranford. In the many years of excellent acting it’s hard to comprehend that Dench has only one Academy Award and been nominated for two Primetime Emmy in her fifty years in the business.  Losing to Laura Linney as Abigail Adams in John Adams two years ago, I don’t think this is a year that Denche’s Matty Jenkyns will see Emmy gold. Return to Cranford is up for seven nominations including Outstanding Miniseries.

Lastly, HBO’s Capturing Mary receives its sole Emmy nomination in Maggie Smith who plays Mary Gilbert, former journalist and socialite who recounts her memories of her childhood home. Smith is a great character actress playing mostly strong elderly heroines, but unfortunately I think this category goes to the two other HBO nominated films. Smith anchors the film but that’s all I see as significant in this film.

So it’s a race between Danes and Davis. My prediction for Emmy gold is Danes edging out Davis, mainly because of her portrayal of Temple. It’s a unique biopic that raises awareness for Autism, proclaiming that this is not a debilitating disease; people with the disease can still succeed with passion and love for what you do in life. The real life Temple, now in her early sixties is an acclaimed professor at Colorado State University, and activist in Autism Spectrum Disorder, who promotes early intervention to address autism. I hope to see a win for Danes as she deserved to be given this role and deserves to win.

Road to the Emmys Series

July 5: Nomination Preview Podcast – Lilit Marcus, Andrew Payne, Rebecca Rose, and Phil Wallace

July 8: Nomination Analysis Podcast – Rebecca Rose, Dantzler Smith, Phil Wallace, and Bryce Van Kooten

July 12: Outstanding Host: Reality Show or Reality Competition – Adam Spunberg

July 14: Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie – Adam Spunberg

July 15: Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie – Phil Wallace

July 19: Outstanding Actor in a Miniseries or Movie – Phil Wallace

July 21: Outstanding Actress in a Miniseries or Movie – Gene Williams

July 26: Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Special – Savanna New

July 28: Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series – Dantzler Smith

August 2: Outstanding Reality Program – Gene Williams

August 4: Outstanding Reality Competition Program – Savanna New

August 7: Outstanding Made for TV Movie – Savanna New

August 8: Outstanding Miniseries – Adam Spunberg

August 9: Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series – Colin Campbell

August 10: Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series – Kit Bowen

August 11: Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series – Rebecca Rose

August 12: Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series – Andrew Payne

August 16: Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series – Phil Wallace

August 17: Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series – Steve Neumann

August 18: Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series – Andrew Payne

August 19: Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series – Bryce Van Kooten

August 23: Outstanding Comedy Series – Kit Bowen

August 25: Outstanding Drama Series – Adam Spunberg

August 29: 62nd Annual Prime Time Emmy Awards