Emmy Predictions 2019: Best Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or TV Movie

Can Patricia Clarkson hold on for "Sharp Objects," or is another upset brewing? [Updated September 16]
Sharp Objects HBO Patricia Clarkson
Patricia Clarkson in "Sharp Objects"
Anne Marie Fox/HBO

Last Year’s Winner: Merritt Wever, “Godless”
Still Eligible: No.
Hot Streak: No actress has ever won this category more than twice — Jane Alexander (“Playing for Time” and “Warm Springs”), Judy Davis (“Serving in Silence: The Margarethe Cammermeyer Story” and “The Starter Wife”), Colleen Dewhurst (“Between Two Women” and “Those She Left Behind”), and Mare Winningham (“Amber Waves” and “George Wallace”) are the only actresses to win twice for Best Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or TV Movie, and Regina King (“American Crime”) is the only actress to win two trophies consecutively.
Fun Fact: The Best Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or TV Movie race has been somewhat immune to the streaming and premium cable dominance seen in other Emmy categories. Over the last five years, winners have come from broadcast, basic cable, premium cable, and streaming. If you expand the timeframe to this decade, two additional networks are represented, making for six different networks in eight years.
Notable Ineligible Series: Laura Dern, Shailene Woodley, and Zoe Kravitz in “Big Little Lies”; anyone from “American Horror Story”; anyone from “American Crime Story”

At the bottom of this page are IndieWire TV Critic Ben Travers’ predictions for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or TV Movie. This article will be updated throughout the season, so make sure to keep checking IndieWire for all the latest buzz from the 2019 race, and read predictions in the other categories as well. The Creative Arts Emmy Awards take place, Sept. 14 and Sept. 15. The 71st Annual Primetime Emmy Awards will take place at the Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles, Calif., Sept. 22. Fox will broadcast the ceremony.

The State of the Race

Patricia Clarkson has been poised to win an Emmy since Eliza Scanlen uttered the iconic phrase, “Don’t tell Mama.” But that was in August 2018, which will be more than a year ago once voting starts. “Sharp Objects” has certainly lost steam, garnering only eight Emmy nominations compared to the 19 “Chernobyl” snagged, 17 for “Fosse/Verdon,” and 16 for “When They See Us.” Clarkson might be the HBO series’ best shot at a prominent trophy, given she held on to win the Golden Globe despite Amy Adams and the series itself falling short.

That being said, those awards were doled out before any of the other nominees made their debut. Emily Watson is a big part of the “Chernobyl” phenomenon, holding down a prominent storyline and earning her first Emmy nod in the process. That’s right: The two-time Oscar nominee and four-time Golden Globe nominee has yet to be up for television’s highest honor. That’s not a slight; it’s an advantage. Watson is a respected veteran and could go one-for-one at the Emmys with the right surge.

Still, she’ll have to topple the duo from “When They See Us.” Not only did Vera Farmiga earn her second Emmy nod for playing the conflicted Central Park Five prosecutor Elizabeth Lederer, but Marsha Stephanie Blake was nominated for her role as Linda McCray, one of the boys’ devastated mothers. Together, they represent a show that’s on a big upswing, as Netflix is reporting high viewership while giving it quite a campaign push. If the show threatens to sweep, one of these performers could benefit.

And then there’s Patricia Arquette. A favorite in the Lead Actress category and one of the year’s more prominent dual nominees, Arquette’s two transformations in “Escape at Dannemora” and “The Act” are even more impressive considering how she did them back-to-back. She’s got a real shot at two wins. Margaret Qualley has a tougher road ahead, though her inclusion in this category is a sign of support for “Fosse/Verdon.” Perhaps the FX drama has more pull with Hollywood voters than we expect.

Power Ranking the Nominees:

  1. Patricia Clarkson, “Sharp Objects”
  2. Emily Watson, “Chernobyl”
  3. Patricia Arquette, “The Act”
  4. Vera Farmiga, “When They See Us”
  5. Margaret Qualley, “Fosse/Verdon”
  6. Marsha Stephanie Blake, “When They See Us”

Will Win: Patricia Clarkson, “Sharp Objects”
Could Win: Emily Watson, “Chernobyl”
Should Win: Patricia Clarkson, “Sharp Objects”

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