My Picks For This Year’s Emmys: Limited Series/TV Movie

David Morris
4 min readJun 27, 2019


Part 3: Best Actress in a TV Movie/Limited Series

The early awards in this category have been dominated by Amy Adams and Patricia Arquette in roles which involved a lot of transformation and makeup. Both are still the heavy favorites, but there have been a couple of major players in the last few months that could be formidable contenders in September. Here are the likely nominees.

Amy Adams, Sharp Objects

In addition to playing one of the most psychological damaged characters in this category, she also played the most physically damaged, requiring two hours of makeup just to put on the carvings she had spent a lifetime carving into her flesh. But playing someone so brutalized by the past she had to face when confronting a horrible crime in her hometown, and more than that, facing the horrors of her own family, Adams gave one of the most memorable performances in a career filled with great ones. She spent most of the 2018 awards getting shafted. I hope they might find room for this damaged one. Just promise me there won’t be a second season.

Patricia Arquette, Escape at Dannemora

Arquette did a different kind of transformation in the performance that got her a Golden Globe and a SAG awards — if Adams wore her pain, Arquette disappeared into the make up of Joyce Tilly, the woman who is manipulated by two killers, but who also is desperate to get out of what she sees as a wasted life. There’s a certain difference here, too — Adams’ Camille had things done to her, Arquette’s Joyce did most of the bad things that happened, yet at the climax said: “I didn’t do anything wrong” and honestly believed it. Arquette has had more luck with the Emmys than many of the likely nominees, but this is by far the most wrenching work she’s ever done, and I still think nearly a year later its worthy of the trophy.

Connie Britton, Dirty John

In the hands of a lesser actress, this limited series could’ve played like a Lifetime Movie — it certainly had all of the hallmarks one — wealthy woman marries a man who has been lying about who he is. But Britton has proven herself in the past decade of playing some of the most unique female characters on the small screen, and remains someone who you can never tear your eyes away from. Given solid material for much of the series, she never quite seemed to be the victim, even when darkness descended. Any other year, Dirty John and its cast would be earning more consideration for Emmys. This year, I think Britton will have to settle for being one of the few.

Joey King, The Act

Arquette had a great twelve months, and may yet do double duty. But by far the most astonishing performance was done as Gypsy Rose Blanchard, the real life victim of an abusive mother pushing Munchausen by Proxy on her. Her quest for freedom led to a horrific series of events, and it is telling that King, the virtual unknown in this category, managed to outshine all of them. It’s not likely to be her year, but this is one of the more astonishing early performances.

Emma Stone, Maniac

Even those who were fans of this Netflix series (and I wasn’t one) have to admit it was something of a mess. But over the past decade, Stone has managed to be able to rise above even the weakest of materials, and she more than demonstrated it as this woman flashing through alternate, virtual realties. Admittedly, this may be more of a precursor from previous awards (she was nominated for a Golden Globe and a Broadcast Critics Award) and, like Adams and Arquette she had a big year. So the actress is more likely to prevail than the performance.

Michelle Williams, Fosse/Verdon

Williams has been one of greatest actresses of the independent film circuit ever since she left Dawson’s Creek and in her return to TV she more than demonstrated how capable she is. Just as she disappeared into Marilyn Monroe, she became Gwen Verdon, the Broadway icon who tried so hard to support her husband, who sacrificed her career for family, and who still loved him despite his numerous flaws. Williams has never received the recognition for any of her great films. If there’s a chance for anyone to upset Patricia Arquette, its her.


Molly Parker, Deadwood: The Movie

All of the women actresses on Deadwood were magnificent, and not just as attachments to the men on the series. But of the entire group, Parker’s Alma Garret, the society laudanum addict who found herself holding a bonanza gold claim through tragedy after tragedy was one of the most memorable one. Seeing Parker return to the town that made her fortune and gave her a daughter was one of the many treats of this marvelous films. Parker has never quite received the recognition that so many of her other co-stars have, despite being very active in the new Golden Age. A nomination would be a nice dividend.