The Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series category at this year's Emmys will certainly be one of the most anticipated awards of the night.
There are many strong actresses nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie this year. From Sarah Paulson's fierce turn as Marcia Clark in The People v. O.J. Simpson to Lili Taylor's role as a sympathetic mother in American Crime to Kirsten Dunst's kooky yet complex character in Fargo, Emmy voters will have a hard time picking the best.
With the Emmys only a few weeks away, let's make our picks for who we think will win this award from least likely to most likely.
6. Felicity Huffman as Leslie Graham in American Crime
Huffman is a beloved actress within the Television Academy, previously winning for her performance as Lynette Scavo in ABC's Desperate Housewives. This is her second consecutive nomination for American Crime, though she plays a different character, private school headmaster Leslie Graham, this time around. While Huffman is undoubtedly respected in the industry and gives an excellent subtle performance, she is ultimately overshadowed by co-star Lili Taylor and doesn't have the type of commanding performance to win here.
5. Audra McDonald as Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill
This is McDonald's first Emmy nomination, playing the iconic singer Billie Holiday in the filmed stage play Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill. McDonald gives an incredible performance as the singer, winning a Tony for the role in 2014. This puts her a step above Huffman, but ultimately, Lady Day is probably too small of a production for her to overcome her more widely-seen competition.
4. Kerry Washington as Anita Hill in Confirmation
Washington portrayal of Anita Hill, the woman who in 1991 accused Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas of sexual harassing her, earned the actress strong critical attention. Washington creates a compelling portrait of a three-dimensional woman dealing with hounds of newfound attention in the TV movie. Yet, her performance may not be as strong and commanding as Emmy voters typically look for, so she will probably be overlooked for flashier performances.
3. Lili Taylor as Anne Blaine in American Crime
Despite years of working in the industry, Taylor is still the least familiar name in this category. As such, her getting nominated is a sign that voters really did watch and like American Crime this season. Widely regarded as one of the best performances on the show, Taylor's role as Anne Blaine, the mother to a sexual assault victim, is emotional, full of range and certainly compelling. What's ultimately holding her back, though, is the popular vote. With actresses like Sarah Paulson and Kirsten Dunst in the mix, can she overcome her underdog status?
2. Kirsten Dunst as Peggy Blumquist in Fargo
Dunst's casting in season 2 of Fargo was certainly unexpected compared to her usual career choices, but it paid off big time. Her character, the bored yet slightly psychotic housewife Peggy Blumquist, was one of the most interesting to watch in show's second season. She received a huge amount of critic attention, which ultimately resulted in a Critics' Choice Award earlier in the year. Emmy voters also really liked Fargo, nominating three of Dunst's co-stars as well, suggesting broad support. But there's one actress who just has everything in her corner who will probably beat Dunst.
1. Sarah Paulson as Marcia Clark in The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
Paulson has the right combination of elements to win this Emmy. She's playing a real-life character - to whom she helped inject new sympathy. She's overdue, with four Emmy losses in the past four years. She's also double nominated, with her second nomination being for American Horror Story: Hotel in Supporting Actress. She also has loads of critical attention, having won the Television Critics Association Award for Individual Achievement in Drama. Needless to say, Paulson has exactly what it takes to finally win that elusive Emmy she's been hoping for.
But of course, stranger things have happened at the Emmys, so you never know.
What do you think?
The 2016 Primetime Emmys will take place Sunday, Sept. 18 at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT on ABC.