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Emmy prediction: Glenn Close is a shoo-in to win again for 'Damages'

September 12, 2009 |  3:44 pm

The Emmy race for best drama actress isn't a contest at all, according to our gurus Chris "Boomer" Beachum and Robert "Rob L" Licuria ( After viewing the sample episodes submitted to Emmy judges by all nominees, both of our tough pundits say that last year's champ, Glenn Close ("Damages"), will easily triumph again.

Also check out Rob's and Boomer's in-depth critiques of these categories: best comedy series, lead comedy actor, lead comedy actress, supporting comedy actor, supporting comedy actress, guest comedy actor, guest comedy actress, comedy writing, comedy directing, best lead drama actorlead drama actresslead actor in movie/mini and lead actress in a movie/mini. See Boomer, Rob and I battle over  which shows may win best comedy series in our video slugfest here. See a chart of predix by top journalists here. Read more predix in our forums.

Glenn close damages

1.  Glenn Close, "Damages" ("Trust Me")
2.  Kyra Sedgwick, "The Closer" ("Cherry Bomb")
3.  Mariska Hargitay, "Law & Order: SVU" ("PTSD")
4.  Elisabeth Moss, "Mad Men" ("Meditations in an Emergency")
5.  Holly Hunter, "Saving Grace" ("Have a Seat Earl")
6.  Sally Field, "Brothers and Sisters" ("A Father Dreams")

ROB'S COMMENTARY: This category was difficult for me to pin down because it seems to be a forgone conclusion that Glenn Close — in one of the best roles on TV, and as one of the most heralded and respected actors in any medium — is the shoo-in to win.

And then I re-watched the finale of "Damages," which was ever so slightly disappointing for me, and that's saying something, seeing as I am a manic fan of the show and its cast. As far as I'm concerned, Rose Byrne is the star of the show in this episode, and Glenn Close, excellent as usual, doesn't blow my socks off like she normally does. However, that might not really mean much, as she is poised to repeat her win from last year unless one of three possible contenders surprises us all.

Firstly, I think it is safe to say that Sally Field and Holly Hunter are probably not in the running. In the episode she submitted to Emmy judges, Sally Field just isn't given very much to do, and it lacks the impact needed to overcome Glenn Close. Holly Hunter, on the other hand, clearly throws herself into this role with such obvious passion, she plays all kinds of crazy and is given plenty to do. It's just that I personally find the show a bit trying to sit through, and not at all appealing enough to warrant an Emmy win. Again, which is saying something, seeing as I think Holly Hunter is such an amazing actor.

Elisabeth Moss is barely in the "Mad Men" season finale. It might have been a better bet to compete as a supporting actress. However, when she is on screen, the quality of the material she is given is so good, and she plays this character so note perfect, that anything is possible. Re-watching the scene where Peggy opens up to Pete is absolute gold. But, again, I don't think it is enough to get her over the line.

Then we have an uncanny similarity — two female cops dealing with similar rape/homicide crimes against young women. Kyra Sedgwick chose by far the best episode of last season for her character, as did Mariska Hargitay. The full range of emotions and impact are on show in both episodes, and as a casual viewer, you can't help but be drawn to each of them as you cheer for them to solve their case and apprehend the offender. In differentiating between the two, I found Sedgwick to have the edge, mainly because of the quality of the writing she is given, and the few slightly more comedic moments where her character hams it up to get information out of a witness. Given that Hargitay is a previous winner and Sedgwick is overdue, perhaps this might also tip the scales in her favor. It must also be said that I am really not a big fan of the "Law & Order" franchise, so for me to be so invested in this episode must say something for the quality on display in that episode too.

At the end of the day, can anyone really win this category over the dynamite of Glenn Close? Probably not.

1.  Glenn Close, "Damages" ("Trust Me")
2.  Kyra Sedgwick, "The Closer" ("Cherry Bomb")
3.  Elisabeth Moss, "Mad Men" ("Meditations in an Emergency")
4.  Holly Hunter, "Saving Grace" ("Have a Seat Earl")
5.  Mariska Hargitay, "Law & Order: SVU" ("PTSD")
6.  Sally Field, "Brothers and Sisters" ("A Father Dreams")

BOOMER'S COMMENTARY: I thought this category would be tougher to predict this year, but it really isn't. The other ladies can only dream to have a role and series as well-written and complex as "Damages." Glenn Close gives an amazing performance in the season finale, offering rich layers of a woman both in control and fearful of what is going to happen next. Just her facial expressions alone are a joy to behold. 

Kyra Sedgwick has an outside shot at winning, but this episode does not give her the emotional scenes of previous submissions. It winds up being a fairly typical procedural episode that can't possibly hold up to the kind of work Close gets to do.

My single favorite scene of all these submissions is Elisabeth Moss' confession near the end of her episode. It is perfectly played by her and has lots of underlying emotions just under the surface. Emmy voters don't often go for underplayed and calmer performances, though, and her screen time is limited within the episode.

I have never understood the attraction of voting for Holly Hunter (except for the fact that they love to nominate Oscar winners and nominees), but she has her typically frantic, scenery-chewing moments in an immensely bland series.

As for Mariska Hargitay and Sally Field, I think their episode choices are the worst they have made so far.  I would be very surprised if either of them won this time.


VIDEO: Emmy predictions slugfest -- What will win best comedy series?

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Emmy predix: Which episode of '30 Rock' will win best comedy writing?

Emmy predix: 'The Office' will win best comedy directing

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Uh, oh! Beware: Last year's top Emmys winners may repeat

Why try to fix the Emmycast? It's not broken!

Strategic DVD releases at Emmy time: 'Dexter,' 'Flight of the Conchords,' 'House M.D.,' 'Mad Men' and . . .

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