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Emmy Predictions 2017: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

Updated July 19: Question: Can anyone stop Nicole Kidman? Answer: Oh, yeah.

"Big Little Lies" Nicole Kidman Episode 1

Hilary Bronwyn Gayle/courtesy of HBO

Last Year’s Winner: Sarah Paulson, “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”
Still Eligible: No.
Hot Streak: Helen Mirren has the most nominations and wins of any actress in this category. She’s also the only actress to ever win in back-to-back years.
Fun Fact: We all remember Meryl Streep winning for “Angels in America,” but she also won for the NBC miniseries “Holocaust” in 1978. Despite just three nominations, Streep is one of only 12 women to win more than once in this category.

With 11 Golden Globe nominations, four Oscar nods, three wins for the former, and one for the latter, it’s a little surprising to learn Nicole Kidman only had one Emmy nomination until 2017: She was up for “Hemingway and Gelhorn,” the HBO movie from 2012, and she lost (to fellow HBO nominee Julianne Moore of “Game Change”).

Now she’s up against another heralded member of the HBO family: “Big Little Lies” co-star Reese Witherspoon. Who voters prefer from the stacked cast of Jean-Marc Vallee’s red hot limited series is anyone’s guess: We could find out on Emmys night when one nominee takes the stage, or vote splitting could lead to a surprise victor.

…like Carrie Coon? TV’s favored daughter during the spring of 2017 failed to land a double nomination for “Fargo” and “The Leftovers,” but fans of her work in both could fuel voters to support her here. Plus, you know, she deserves it: Gloria Burgle was arguably the best character — and Coon the best performer — of “Fargo” Season 3, so a victory here would be wholly meritorious.

That is, unless two past winners have anything to say about it. Felicity Huffman won for her first nomination: “Desperate Housewives” in 2004, and her 2017 nod for “American Crime” marks her fifth overall. That’s a lot, but it’s nothing compared to Jessica Lange’s three wins and eight nominations. As Joan Crawford in “Feud,” Lange could find herself basking in the warm glow of Emmy voters’ love yet again. Or they could honor her co-star, Susan Sarandon. The “Bette” in “”Bette & Joan” has five nominations over her career, but zero wins. Perhaps this is the year her cold streak snaps.

Below are IndieWire TV Critic Ben Travers’ predictions for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series, which will be updated throughout the awards season. Make sure to keep checking IndieWire for all the latest buzz and highlights from the 2017 race, and read the rest of the predictions in all categories, as well.

The Nominees:

  1. Carrie Coon, “Fargo”
  2. Felicity Huffman, “American Crime”
  3. Nicole Kidman, “Big Little Lies”
  4. Jessica Lange, “Feud: Bette & Joan”
  5. Susan Sarandon, “Feud: Bette & Joan”
  6. Reese Witherspoon, “Big Little Lies”

Will Win: Nicole Kidman, “Big Little Lies”
Could Win: Jessica Lange, “Feud: Bette & Joan”
Should Win: Carrie Coon, “Fargo”

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