Last Year’s Winner: Nicole Kidman, “Big Little Lies”
Still Eligible: No.
Hot Streak: A nominee from HBO or FX has won this category nine times in the last 10 years — Laura Linney’s victory for “The Big C: Hereafter” in 2013 is the lone standout.
Fun Fact: Helen Mirren has the most trophies in this category. She’s won four times, including two for the “Prime Suspect” series.
Can Laura Dern become an Emmy winner two years in a row? After snagging her first trophy last year for “Big Little Lies,” Dern snagged another nomination for her hailed turn in HBO’s “The Tale.” The film earned rave reviews out of Sundance before the premium cable network picked it up, and the beloved Dern is front-and-center in the landmark cinematic memoir.
But, as if this were an option, Dern isn’t alone in her category. Jessica Biel made heads turn in the summer of 2017 when “The Sinner” debuted — and caught fire. Though her episodes ended a while ago, the second season is airing now without her and even though she’s not in it, a) the series is still earning strong reviews, and b) just having it in the conversation could boost Biel’s profile during voting.
Michelle Dockery will be looking to remind the TV Academy why they nominated her three times for “Downton Abbey,” as well as why they should vote her to win for “Godless.” After all, the Netflix drama has been out for many months. “Seven Seconds” is in a similar boat. Not only did it drop way back in February, but the last bit of news — before Regina King scored a nomination — was that Netflix cancelled its original series after one season.
Still, King is as beloved as two more dark horse contenders. Sarah Paulson is back in the race for the latest season of “American Horror Story.” The franchise hasn’t been the hot hand at the Emmys for some time now, but Paulson is a fire that never stops burning. Edie Falco, meanwhile, is representing her fourth series at the Emmys; she won for “The Sopranos” and “Nurse Jackie,” and snagged a nomination for her guest spot on “30 Rock.” Will “Law & Order True Crime” be her ticket back to the stage?
Below are IndieWire TV Critic Ben Travers’ predictions for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or TV Movie (listed in alphabetical order), which will be updated throughout the season. Make sure to keep checking IndieWire for all the latest buzz and highlights from the 2018 race, and read predictions for the rest of the categories, as well.
- Jessica Biel, “The Sinner”
- Laura Dern, “The Tale”
- Michelle Dockery, “Godless”
- Edie Falco, “Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders”
- Regina King, “Seven Seconds”
- Sarah Paulson, “American Horror Story: Cult”
Will Win: Laura Dern, “The Tale”
Could Win: Jessica Biel, “The Sinner”
Should Win: Laura Dern, “The Tale”