Warning: this post contains spoilers
The Emmys are only four days away, and this could be "Mad Men's" year. However, it might not be the show itself that walks away with the grand prize -- considering Elisabeth Moss and Christina Hendricks are both nominated in their respective categories, they might finally reap the benefits of their unbelievable performances.
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After her turn in this season's "The Other Woman," -- the episode that sees Peggy quit Sterling Cooper Draper Price -- Moss earned the nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress In A Dramatic Series. This year, she's up against the likes of "Homeland's" Claire Danes, Glenn Close ("Damages"), Kathy Bates ("Harry's Law"), Julianna Margulies ("The Good Wife"), and Michelle Dockery ("Downton Abbey"). And arguably, she has a chance to win.
True, Close, Margulies, and Bates are veterans of both the big and small screens, but Moss has banked her share of experience as well. Not only has she been acting since the early 1990s, but her evolution from Peggy Olson, timid secretary (season one in 2007) to Peggy Olson, ambitious career woman (the recently-concluded season five) has been one of heartbreak, frustration, and elation. Her fellow nominees might display range and ability, but it's rare for viewers to relate to a character so well that audiences genuinely worry when rumours say that character may disappear. Frankly, Moss is no fluke wunderkind -- her time for Academy recognition has come.
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Meanwhile, Christina Hendricks's role in the same episode garnered her a nomination as well (Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Dramatic Series). And also like Moss, this should be the year in which she finally earns tangible appreciation. Using "The Other Woman" as proof alone, Joan's choice to exchange sex with a client for a partnership at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce made for a heartbreaking scene, especially since she was able to convey her fear with only a look. Yes, Anna Gunn (Skyler White of "Breaking Bad") rivaled Hendricks in terms of quiet desperation, but even Maggie Smith's ("Downton Abbey") quips as the Dowager Countess can't compete with Joan's stifled albeit raw emotion.
If either Elisabeth Moss or Christina Hendricks win, this will be the first Emmy for any actress on "Mad Men." The show itself has already earned four Outstanding Dramatic Series wins, but without performances by actresses like these, one might say it wouldn't have.