Best Actress Emmy Nominees 2018: Here's What You Need To Know

These six woman have been recognized for their excellent TV performances this year and are nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series.

Claire Foy on the red carpet
Getty Images

This year, the Emmy Awards race for the best actress in a drama series category is an especially exciting one. It makes for a tough category when all of the nominees are such powerful, talented stars. The nominees for the prestigious award (formally called Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series) are: Sandra Oh, Claire Foy, Keri Russell, Elisabeth Moss, Tatiana Maslany, and Evan Rachel Wood. 

All of these actresses have expertly led their shows this year and we can only begin to speculate on who will actually take home the statue. (Even though Vegas odds strongly favor Elisabeth Moss winning back-to-back Emmys, if that's your thing.)

But we can tell you all that you need to know about the nominees ahead of the big show. If you're an avid TV watcher, you should know all of these ladies pretty well by now. Most of them have been on hit shows you've loved in the past, in fact. But, if not, here's what you should know (and watch!) to get to know them a bit better before the Emmys air live on Monday, Sept. 17.

Get the lowdown here:

Sandra Oh

Sandra Oh In 'Killing Eve' 
Sandra Oh In 'Killing Eve' 
BBC America

Nominated For: Eve Polastri in Killing Eve on BBC America

What Else You've Seen Her In: She spent 10 seasons as Dr. Christina Yang on Grey's Anatomy, starred in Season 3 of American Crime, and has been in many movies, including Sideways.

What's The Show About?Killing Eve is based on novellas by Luke Jennings and centers around a MI5 security officer Eve (Oh) and an assassin Villanelle (Jodie Comer), who become obsessed with each other in an "epic game of cat and mouse," according to BBC America.

What You Should Know About Her Nomination: This year, Oh became the first actress of Asian descent to be nominated for an Emmy in the lead drama category. 

Claire Foy

Claire Foy In 'The Crown' 
Claire Foy In 'The Crown' 

Nominated For: Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown on Netflix

What Else You've Seen Her In: Season of the Witch (alongside Nicolas Cage), Wolf Hall (BBC 2), and she'll star in the upcoming Neil Armstrong biopic First Man.

What's The Show About? The Crown is a Netflix drama based on Queen Elizabeth II's reign over the second half of the 20th Century, especially focusing on the political rivalries and relationships during the period.

What You Should Know About Her Nomination: Foy was also nominated in this category for the first season that she played young Queen Elizabeth, but lost to Elisabeth Moss. This would be Foy's final chance to win for the role, as she left the show after the second season. 

Keri Russell

Keri Russell In 'The Americans' 
Keri Russell In 'The Americans' 

Nominated For: KGB agent Elizabeth Jennings in The Americans on FX 

What Else You've Seen Her In: Felicity Porter in Felicity is her other most notable TV role. She's also starred in movies like Mission: Impossible III and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

What's The Show About? The Americans is a spy thriller centered around the Cold War in the '80s. Russell and real life husband Matthew Rhys play undercover KGB agents who pose as a married American couple living in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. with their two kids.

What You Should Know About Her Nomination: This is Russell's third consecutive nomination for her role and her last chance for a big win in the category. The show wrapped up this year after six seasons.

Elisabeth Moss

Elisabeth Moss In 'The Handmaid's Tale' 
Elisabeth Moss In 'The Handmaid's Tale' 

Nominated For: Offred/June Osborne in The Handmaid's Tale on Hulu

What Else You've Seen Her In: Moss played the youngest daughter of President Josiah Bartlet on The West Wing then expertly starred as Peggy Olson on Mad Men for the show's runShe's also starred in movies like Girl, Interrupted.

What's The Show About? The Handmaid's Tale is about a woman who is forced into sexual slavery and "struggles to survive in a terrifying, totalitarian society," according to Hulu.  

What You Should Know About Her Nomination: Moss could win back-to-back Emmys for her role, which would be pretty amazing considering she was nominated six years in a row for her role as Peggy on Mad Men and never won. 


Tatiana Maslany

Tatiana Maslany In 'Orphan Black' 
Tatiana Maslany In 'Orphan Black' 
BBC America

Nominated For: Sarah Manning and multiple characters on Orphan Black on BBC America

What Else You've Seen Her In: Maslany has starred on shows like Heartland and Being Erica. She was in The Vow with Channing Tatum as well. 

What's The Show About? Orphan Black is a sci-fi show about a woman who assumes the identity of one of her clones, after she watches the woman's suicide. She quickly finds out there are "multiple clones out there and multiple factions that sought to hunt, control, betray or kill them," according to BBC America.

What You Should Know About Her Nomination: Maslany won the Emmy for this role back in 2016. The show's final season aired in 2017, so this is her last chance for a second Emmy for the character(s) in Orphan Black.

Evan Rachel Wood

Evan Rachel Wood In 'Westworld' 
Evan Rachel Wood In 'Westworld' 

Nominated For: Dolores Abernathy in Westworld on HBO

What Else You've Seen Her In: Wood might be formerly best known for her early role in Thirteen. Her other noteworthy movies include Mildred Pierce and The Ides of March.

What's The Show About? Westworld is about the "dawn of artificial consciousness and the evolution of sin," according to HBO. It's set in a Wild-West-themed amusement park run by android "hosts," where guests can live out their fantasies without fear of retaliation from the hosts, who are programmed not to kill humans. Wood plays the oldest host still working at the park.

What You Should Know About Her Nomination: This is the second year in a row that Wood has received a nomination for her role in this category.

The 70th annual Emmy Awards will be held at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on September 17, 2018. SNL's Michael Che and Colin Jost will host the festivities, and actors Samira Wiley and Ryan Eggold announced this year's nominations on July 12. The Handmaid's Tale is up for Outstanding Drama Series for the second year in a row, and Game of Thrones stars Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Peter Dinklage are both in the running for Supporting Actor in a Drama Series.


The Director of Editorial Operations at Livingly Media and lover of all things sprinkles.
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