Yvonne Strahovski surprised many awards pundits when she earned a Best Drama Supporting Actress Emmy nomination this year for Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” but not me. I had warned everyone that she would beat the odds and come away with her first career bid for playing Serena Joy, the wife of the Commander (Joseph Fiennes) for whom Offred (Elisabeth Moss) was carrying a child. Now that final Emmy voting has begun, some of Gold Derby’s experts, editors and users are following my lead in predicting that the Australian actress will win. But still far too many are underestimating her chances. (Watch Hulu’s special featurette on Strahovski.)
Season 2 of “The Handmaid’s Tale” was an actor’s dream for Strahovski, full of impactful moments that stuck with the audience. Thanks to story lines like Serena being physical beaten by her husband, her expanding relationship with Offred, dealing with the execution of Eden, or fulfilling her life’s dream of becoming a mother, Strahovski was essentially a co-lead to Moss. And don’t forget, the show was airing smack-dab during Emmy voting, which kept her performance top-of-mind.
Speaking of that much-publicized abuse scene, Strahovski decided to submit that episode, titled “Women’s Work,” to Emmy judges as a sample of her best work. In the episode, Serena and Offred June are writing in the study and actually getting along, but when the Commander finds out she forged his name on documents, he beats her. It’s an emotional gut-punch that fully enlightens viewers to the fact that Serena is every bit a victim of Gilead as the handmaids.
Thanks to humanizing moments like this, Strahovski’s ice queen Serena was actually put in the position to gain empathy from the audience for the first time, which clearly helped her score extra votes from TV academy members. Her nomination also proved voters were watching “The Handmaid’s Tale” Season 2, as they were aware that her character grew leaps and bounds between the first and second seasons.
It’s no surprise that the Emmys rallied around Strahovski’s co-star Ann Dowd last year, rewarding the veteran actress with her first-ever victory for playing the stand-out villain Aunt Lydia. But if voters want to spread the wealth and ensure that another “Handmaid’s” actress prevails this time around, then Strahovski will benefit. The third nominee in this category from the series, Alexis Bledel, already took home a trophy last year as a guest actress.
Besides Strahovski, Dowd and Bledel from “The Handmaid’s Tale,” the other four Best Drama Supporting Actress nominees at the 2018 Emmys are Thandie Newton (“Westworld”), Lena Headey (“Game of Thrones”), Vanessa Kirby (“The Crown”) and Millie Bobby Brown (“Stranger Things”). See more Emmy odds and rankings.
Be sure to make your Emmy predictions today so that Hollywood insiders can see how their TV shows and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions as often as you like until just before winners are announced on September 17. Be sure to also predict winners for the Creative Arts ceremonies slated for September 8 and 9. And join in the fun debate over the 2018 Emmy taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our television forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.