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Emmys: Guest Actress (Drama) – Could a ‘The Last of Us’ or ‘Succession’ Win Offer Clues on Possible Upset in Drama Series?

Variety Awards Circuit section is the home for all awards news and related content throughout the year, featuring the following: the official predictions for the upcoming Oscars, Emmys, Grammys and Tony Awards ceremonies, curated by Variety senior awards editor Clayton Davis. The prediction pages reflect the current standings in the race and do not reflect personal preferences for any individual contender. As other formal (and informal) polls suggest, competitions are fluid and subject to change based on buzz and events. Predictions are updated every Thursday.

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2023 Emmy Predictions:
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series

The Last of Us
The Last of Us

Weekly Commentary (Updated Aug. 17, 2023): HBO is guaranteed a win in this category having all six slots split between “The Last of Us” and “Succession.”

While “Succession” is the undisputed frontrunner for the top prize, many believe “Last of Us” is a possible spoiler and is heavily favored in both guest drama races. If it does win both, could that point to a potential upset? Melanie Lynskey has been the favorite since her episode aired, in addition to her other nominated role in “Yellowjackets” in lead drama actress. Still, her co-star Anna Torv is competitive in the race as well.

Read: Variety’s Awards Circuit for the latest Primetime Emmy predictions in the major categories.

From the “Succession” women, I’d bank on Hiam Abbass to have the best odds of winning, but Harriet Walter is double nominated again, along with her guest comedy work in “Ted Lasso.” She has five noms with no statuette yet on her mantle. She could pull it off.

The rankings for the category are below.

The final Emmy voting rounds open on Aug. 17 at 9 a.m. PT and close on Aug. 28 at 10 p.m. PST. The 75th Emmy Awards are scheduled to air on Monday, January 15, 2024, at 8 p.m. ET/ 5 p.m. PT. The Creative Arts ceremony will occur on Saturday, January 6, and Sunday, January 7. An edited version will air on FXX on Saturday, January 13, 2024, at 8 p.m. ET. All events will take place at the Peacock Theater at LA Live.

Read: Variety’s Awards Circuit for the latest Creative Arts predictions in all categories.


And the Nominees Are:


  1. Melanie Lynskey — “The Last of Us” (HBO)
    Episode Submission: “Endure and Survive”

  2. Hiam Abbass — “Succession” (HBO)
    Episode Submission: “Honeymoon States”

  3. Anna Torv — “The Last of Us” (HBO)
    Episode Submission: “Infected”

  4. Harriet Walter — “Succession” (HBO)
    Episode Submission: “Church and State”

  5. Storm Reid — “The Last of Us” (HBO)
    Episode Submission: “Left Behind”

  6. Cherry Jones — “Succession” (HBO)
    Episode Submission: “The Munsters”


All Eligible Titles (Alphabetized by Network)**


  • Andrea Cortés — “Big Sky: Deadly Trails” (ABC)

  • Elena Campbell-Martínez — “Station 19” (ABC)

  • Tamara Clatterbuck — “Will Trent” (ABC)

  • Betsy Brandt — “Better Call Saul” (AMC)

  • Rebecca Metz — “Life By Ella” (Apple TV+)

  • Regina Taylor — “CSI: Vegas” (CBS)

  • Jonee Shady — “All American” (The CW)

  • Fiona Shaw — “Andor” (Disney+)

  • Lizzo — “The Mandalorian” (Disney+)

  • Amy Sedaris — “The Mandalorian” (Disney+)

  • Cocoa Brown — “9-1-1” (Fox)

  • Gloria Garayua — “9-1-1” (Fox)

  • Roxana Brusso — “9-1-1: Lone Star” (Fox)

  • Meredith Jackson — “Fantasy Island” (Fox)

  • Tara Buck — “The Orville: New Horizons” (Fox)

  • Tara Buck — “The Rookie: Feds” (Fox)

  • Sian Brooke — “House of the Dragon” (HBO)

  • Merle Dandridge — “The Last of Us” (HBO)

  • Christine Hakim — “The Last of Us” (HBO)

  • Ashley Johnson — “The Last of Us” (HBO)

  • Melanie Lynskey — “The Last of Us” (HBO)

  • Nico Parker — “The Last of Us” (HBO)

  • Storm Reid — “The Last of Us” (HBO)

  • Anna Torv — “The Last of Us” (HBO)

  • Hiam Abbass — “Succession” (HBO)

  • Hope Davis — “Succession” (HBO)

  • Natalie Gold — “Succession” (HBO)

  • Cherry Jones — “Succession” (HBO)

  • Harriet Walter — “Succession” (HBO)

  • Saffron Burrows — “Westworld” (HBO)

  • Clea DuVall — “The Handmaid’s Tale” (Hulu)

  • Mckenna Grace — “The Handmaid’s Tale” (Hulu)

  • Laura Gardner — “Chicago Med” (NBC)

  • Claire Foy — “The Crown” (Netflix)

  • Vanessa Kirby — “The Crown” (Netflix)

  • Natasja McElhone — “The Crown” (Netflix)

  • T’Nia Miller — “The Diplomat” (Netflix)

  • Heidi Armbruster — “Manifest” (Netflix)

  • Gwendoline Christie — “The Sandman” (Netflix)

  • Joely Richardson — “The Sandman” (Netflix)

  • Tuyen Do — “Shadow & Bone” (Netflix)

  • Laura Hopper — “The Umbrella Academy” (Netflix)

  • Carrie Preston — “The Good Fight” (Paramount+)

  • Phylicia Rashad — “The Good Fight” (Paramount+)

  • Michelle Forbes — “Star Trek: Picard” (Paramount+)

  • Jacki Weaver — “Yellowstone” (Paramount Network)

  • Aya Cash — “The Boys” (Prime Video)

  • Sophia Nomvete — “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” (Prime Video)

  • Alexandra Billings — “The Peripheral” (Prime Video)

  • Kandi Burruss — “The Chi” (Showtime)

  • Ella Purnell — “Yellowjackets” (Showtime)

  • Margo Martindale — “Your Honor” (Showtime)

  • Megan Thee Stallion — “P-Valley” (Starz)

** This official list and/or category submission is not yet complete or confirmed and is subject to change.

2022 category winner: Lee Yoo-mi as Ji-Yeong in “Squid Game” (Netflix)


Emmy Awards Predictions Categories

DRAMA SERIES | COMEDY SERIES | LIMITED OR ANTHOLOGY SERIES | TV MOVIE | LEAD ACTOR (DRAMA) | LEAD ACTOR (COMEDY) | LEAD ACTOR (LIMITED/TV MOVIE) | LEAD ACTRESS (DRAMA) | LEAD ACTRESS (COMEDY) | LEAD ACTRESS (LIMITED/TV MOVIE) | SUPPORTING ACTOR (DRAMA) | SUPPORTING ACTOR (COMEDY) | SUPPORTING ACTOR (LIMITED/TV MOVIE) | SUPPORTING ACTRESS (DRAMA) | SUPPORTING ACTRESS (COMEDY) | SUPPORTING ACTRESS (LIMITED/TV MOVIE) | TALK SERIES | SCRIPTED VARIETY | GAME SHOW | DIRECTING (DRAMA, COMEDY, LIMITED/TV MOVIE) | WRITING (DRAMA, COMEDY, LIMITED/TV MOVIE) | REALITY (COMPETITION, STRUCTURED, UNSTRUCTURED, HOST)

Creative Arts and Other Emmy Categories

GUEST ACTOR (DRAMA) | GUEST ACTRESS (DRAMA) | GUEST ACTOR (COMEDY) | GUEST ACTRESS (COMEDY) | VOICE-OVER | SHORT FORM | DOCUMENTARY | MUSIC | ANIMATED | OTHER CATEGORIES

About the Primetime Emmy Awards

The Primetime Emmy Awards, better known as the Emmys, are given out by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS). Since 1949, the awards have recognized excellence in American primetime television programming. They are divided into three classes – Primetime Emmy Awards, the Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards (honors artisan achievements), and the Primetime Engineering Emmy Awards (recognizes significant engineering and technological contributions). The typical eligibility period is between June 1 and May 31 of any given year. The Television Academy comprises over 25,000 members, representing 30 professional peer groups, including performers, directors, producers, art directors, artisans, and executives.

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