With Margo Martindale gone, will this be Christina Hendricks' year?
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Lena Headey of 'Game of Thrones'
Lena Headey, "Game of Thrones"
Nomination Status: Probably the strongest Emmy contender in this category from a show that's already an Emmy favorite.
In Her Favor: Last year, I had Emilia Clarke fairly high up in this category, but Emmy voters snubbed her. That was a bad decision. They won't get another chance to snub her this time around, because Daenerys had such a padded, disconnected season that Clarke didn't have much to do. Headey, however, evolved into one of the most pleasant surprises in the "GoT" cast. I actually liked Headey just fine in the first season, as she went a long way towards dimensionalizing Cersei Lannister well beyond what might have been in the first book. She was even better in the second season. I'd point to long conversational showdowns with Peter Dinklage's Tyrion and Sophie Turner's Sansa, especially in the "Blackwater" episode. Headey wasn't nominated last year in the Lead Actress category and she wisely chose to drop down to the more appropriate Supporting category, which may help her chances.
Working Against Her: It's really subtle what Headey is doing in "Game of Thrones." She's a villain, but she's letting us glimpse the woman behind the facade. Subtle probably doesn't play well in this category, though I wish it would. In any case, Peter Dinklage remains the representative individual "Game of Thrones" actor recognized when awards are given out. That probably won't change here.