Emmy Category Analysis: Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Anthology or Movie – Blog

By Abe Friedtanzer

Lily James in Pam and Tommy

That’s quite a lineup, though only one of its six nominees is from an anthology series and none are from TV movies (Jenna Ortega would have made a phenomenal choice for HBO Max’s The consequences). Each character depicted is based on a real person, with only Margaret Qualley’s Alex Russell adapted from author Stephanie Land as someone slightly fictional. Exactly half of those women star in projects nominated for Best Limited or Anthology Series, but there’s still support for the other three, even though their projects underperformed. Only Lily James and Amanda Seyfried are new to the Emmys, and of the others, all but Qualley have already won. I think it’s probably a race between beginners, but let’s take a look at the composition…

Toni Collette in The Staircase


  • Toni Collette as Kathleen Peterson – The staircase

  • Julia Garner as Anna Delvey – Invent Anna

  • Lily James as Pamela Anderson – Pam and Tommy

  • Sarah Paulson as Linda Tripp – Impeachment: A History of American Crime

  • Margaret Qualley as Alex Russel – Housemaid

  • Amanda Seyfried as Elizabeth Holmes – The stall


Sarah Paulson with Beanie Feldstein in Impeachment: American Crime Story

The only actress previously nominated in this category and for the same anthology series is Paulson. Of his last seven nominations, six have been for collaborations with creator Ryan Murphy, and his only win comes from the first iteration of American crime historywhen she played Marcia Clark. The People v. OJ Simpson fought for 22 Emmys, The Assassination of Gianni Versace was up for 18, while the third season, Accused, by comparison, is up for just 5 Emmys. Paulson won the Hollywood Critics Association TV award, but she was in her own category with most of her Emmy competition in a separate race. I admit that when I watched the first episode of AccusedI was struck by Paulson’s transformative performance, burying himself in character more than a big, controversial costume.

Margaret Qualley in Maid

There’s certainly passion surrounding Margaret Qualley and her performance, but the show’s big failure in the top category and the absence of her co-star and real-life mother Andie MacDowell suggests she doesn’t have the chance. momentum to win. The same goes for Collette, a former winner of United States of Tarawho has died admirably on the titular stairs so many times, since her show only received two nominations.

I don’t think we should underestimate Garner, though, who I’ve already predicted will earn her other nomination (Supporting Actress, Drama Series). This role is totally different, so voters will understandably be impressed with its range.

Anthony Edwards with Julia Garner in Inventing Anna

But, barring an upset Paulson or Garner, I think the race goes to Lily James and Amanda Seyfried. The latter, who won the HCA award, might have been the surefire favorite if James’ series hadn’t put on a surprisingly strong performance with endorsements for costar Sebastian Stan as well as the top prize. Surprisingly The stall got fewer nominations overall than Pam and Tommy thanks to a few technical nominations. James makes a physical transformation but also excels in the role, and so it’s hard to say which of them is ahead. The fact that both shows are on Hulu makes it even harder to get behind one of them. I think it will eventually be Seyfried, but I’m far from confident.

Amanda Seyfried in The Dropout

will win: Amanda Seyfried – The stall
should win:Julia Garner- Invent Anna
disclose: Lily James- Pam and Tommy