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Lizzy Caplan, 'Masters of Sex'
Nomination Status: The strongest contender of the new entries, but still a dark horse.
In Her Favor: In a different year in a slightly weaker category, Lizzy Caplan's sexy, complicated, funny and emotional performance as Virginia Johnson would be an easy bet for a nomination. It's a performance that works well in different contexts and that brings out the best in a variety of co-stars particularly Michael Sheen, who is also going to be right on the edge of an Emmy nomination. Caplan is a veteran performer with a long pedigree of both dramatic and comedic roles, but "Masters of Sex" represents a huge leap forward for her and this is the kind of career-in-transition performance that award-giving organizations love to honor.
Working Against Her: Unfortunately, the Golden Globes ignored her and the TCA Awards ignored her. Is it the show's frank sexual content that's alienating people? Probably not, since Sheen and the series got Golden Globe nods. Is "Masters of Sex" just not a big enough hit to be crossing over with voters? Probably not, since I'm narrowly projecting a Tatiana Maslany nomination and Robin Wright keeps getting nominated for things even though there's no statistical evidence that "House of Cards" has even a single viewer. So is it just a category that's very, very difficult to crack? Yup. I'd guess that's about it.