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Before Emmy Gold: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

This month, we’re taking a look at this year’s Emmy nominees and digging into their past work to find hidden gems that you may have overlooked. This year’s Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series nominees have portrayed a vast amount of captivating characters and never cease to amaze audiences with their work. Here we’ll look at a few of their lesser known gems that may have just been overlooked.

Jodie Comer

Nominated For: Killing Eve

Previous Nominations: Killing Eve (win)

Hidden Gem: My Mad Fat Diary (2013-2015)

Jodie Comer has been blowing up into the scene with her fierce and strong performances. From her Emmy winning turn in Killing Eve to her roles in The Last Duel and Free Guy, she has demonstrated skill in both dramatic and comedic acting. Such is true in the TV series My Mad Fat Diary. Comer played Chloe, the best friend of the Rae who was release from a mental institution after a suicide attempt, to which Chloe and Rae’s other friends are unaware of. No doubt having a role to play in this darker comedy-drama has prepared Comer for the strong work she puts on screen today.

Laura Linney

Nominated For: Ozark

Previous Nominations: Wild Iris, Frasier, John Adams, The Big C (win), Ozark

Hidden Gem: Congo (1995)

The many times Oscar and Emmy-nominated actress Laura Linney never fails to deliver a memorable performance. Whether it’s her turn in Ozark or in films like The Savages, Linney never fails to give a memorable performance. Such remains true when looking at one of her earlier prominent roles in the film Congo. While Tim Curry often steals the show, Laura Linney holds her own opposite him as Dr. Karen Ross. Amassing a body of work spanning a few decades, Linney certainly has shown no signs of slowing down.

Melanie Lynskey

Nominated For: Yellowjackets

Previous Nominations: N/A

Hidden Gem: Heavenly Creatures (1994)

With decades of amazing work behind her Melanie Lynskey is fast on her way to becoming a household name, especially after captivating audiences as Shauna in the Showtime series Yellowjackets. Even before this, and before the likes of Don’t Look Up, Castle Rock, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower, she starred opposite Kate Winslet in the film Heavenly Creatures. In this film, Lynskey and Winslet play two teenagers who choose to get revenge on their parents for separating them. Despite the film featuring the likes of Lynskey and Winslet as well as the talent of director Peter Jackson, it seems the film’s notoriety has not withstood the test of time. Lynskey on the other hand, continues to amaze and certainly will for years to come.

Sandra Oh

Nominated For: Killing Eve

Previous Nominations: Grey’s Anatomy, Killing Eve

Hidden Gem: Sideways (2004)

Sandra Oh won over audiences with her long-running performance on Grey’s Anatomy and has yet to lose their attention. With her stunning turn on Killing Eve earning her multiple Emmy nominations, she has cemented herself as a juggernaut of the industry. In less of a hidden gem, but a gem worth noting, Oh really exploded onto the scene with her performance in Alexander Payne’s Sideways. Ever since her noteworthy appearance in that film, Oh has been steadily rising as one of the most excellent performers working today.

Reese Witherspoon

Nominated For: The Morning Show

Previous Nominations: Big Little Lies (win), Little Fire Everywhere

Hidden Gem: The Man in the Moon (1991)

Reese Witherspoon has been a beloved actress practically since she graced the screen. Before The Morning Show and Walk the Line, and even before the iconic Legally Blonde, Witherspoon starred in the coming of age movie The Man in the Moon way back in 1991. It was her leading performance as Dani Trant in this film that showed that she had star power, star power that has yet to even remotely fade from her and her performances.


Nominated For: Euphoria

Previous Nominations: Euphoria (win)

Hidden Gem: Shake It Up (2010-2013)

There is likely very little protest to the fact that Zendaya is one of the most talented actresses working right now. In just 26 years of life, she has impressed so many with her humanity and power she puts behind many of her performances. Whether it’s her performances in Malcolm & Marie or Dune or the MCU’s Spider-Man films, she never fails to deliver on fully fleshed-out and relatable characters. Everybody must start somewhere, though, and Zendaya got her start on the Disney Channel family series Shake It Up as Rocky Blue opposite Bella Thorne’s CeCe Jones, two teenagers who land a spot on a popular local dancing show. Whether it’s bringing lighthearted fun, or powerhouse dramatic performances, Zendaya is certainly gifted in her ability to do it all.


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Written by Miles Foster

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