N.B. These ballots are based on the official submissions and follow the Emmy rules for nominations (i.e. 10 for Programs, 6 for Actors and 5 for Casting). All ballots are in ranked order, with winners in bold.
OUTSTANDING GUEST ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIESThere were a number of strong performances in this category but of course, there could only be one winner...
Lars Mikkelsen, House of Cards (for "Chapter 29")
Damon Herriman, Justified (for "Fate's Right Hand")
Courtney B. Vance, Scandal (for "The Lawn Chair")
David Hyde Pierce, The Good Wife (for "The Debate")
Mel Rodriguez, Better Call Saul (for "Marco")
F. Murray Abraham, Homeland (for "Long Time Coming")
In Season 3 of "House of Cards", Frank Underwood finally came up against some worthy adversaries and he really met his match in Viktor Petrov, a stand-in for Vladimir Putin. Played by Lars Mikkelsen, Petrov goes toe to toe with Underwood and in the process, proves that they are both cut from the same cloth. They share the same cunning, arrogance and ruthlessness. But whereas Spacey preens like a peacock, Mikkelsen's performance has a minimalism that nonetheless brims with intensity. In "Chapter 29", this insidious aura rattles the invincible Underwoods on their own turf, a testament to the power of Mikkelsen's interpretation of the character.
2013: Rupert Friend, Homeland
2014: Damon Herriman, Justified
OUTSTANDING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
There were some fine performances in this category, but I couldn't resist awarding a repeat winner...
Carrie Preston, The Good Wife (for "Shiny Objects")
Lois Smith, The Americans (for "Do Mail Robots Dream of Electric Sheep?")
Kiernan Shipka, Mad Men (for "The Milk and Honey Route")
Linda Lavin, The Good Wife (for "Dear God")
Elisabeth Reaser, Mad Men (for "New Business")
Diana Rigg, Game of Thrones (for "The Gift")
Honorable Mention: Laura Donnelly, Outlander
Now here's a winner who could have easily won on the comedy side too. Carrie Preston's performance as the eccentric but brilliant lawyer Elsbeth Tascioni is the gift that keeps on giving. You'd think her mannerisms would get tiring after all these seasons, but Preston always finds new ways to surprise with the character. In "Shiny Objects", she took us into the headspace of the character like never before and it was just as oddly amusing as we'd expect. Preston is the embodiment of what a good guest performance should be. She makes brief appearances that grab you in the moment and leave you pining for her next visit.
2013: Laura Fraser, Breaking Bad
2014: Carrie Preston, The Good Wife