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Emmys 2017
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For Your Consideration: Outstanding Lead Actress, Drama

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Mitch Haaseth/ABC; Stephan Rabold/Showtime; David Giesbrecht/Netflix

This year EW is here to help with our first-ever For Your Consideration issue. We have curated the bajillion shows and performances (give or take a million) eligible for Emmy nominations to help voters select their top picks. Consider this a sneak peek into the nomination process and an early guide to the awards, which air Sept. 18 on ABC.

Krysten Ritter

Marvel’s Jessica Jones (Netflix)

The Marvel series asked a lot of Ritter. Her character was a rape victim with PTSD, an alcoholic, a detective, a former superhero, and a real a-hole. The actress was up to the task, pulling no punches with a performance that imbued the tougher-than-nails Jones with strikingly relatable humanity.

Robin Wright

House of Cards (Netflix)

Wright’s steely Claire Underwood finally emerged from Frank’s shadow to fully embrace her own political aspirations—sans her powerful husband. Wright has always been a riveting actress, but this season she delivered an astonishing state of the union on poise and power.

Claire Danes

Homeland (Showtime)

A steady boyfriend. A new city. A satisfying job. The thriller’s fifth season had Carrie at her seemingly happiest—until a cyberterrorist plot upended it all. But while our heroine struggled to return to her old life, Danes gave her most assured performance yet, capturing Carrie’s fragility in every scene. 

Myles Aronowitz/Netflix; Greg Gayne/ABC; Chuck Hodes/FOX

Taraji P. Henson

Empire (FOX)

It’s the range of Henson’s performance as Lyon family matriarch Cookie that is most impressive. By turns funny, fierce, frightened, and fearless, Henson can handle any curveball (grandmotherhood!) that the wild soap throws her way.

Kerry Washington

Scandal (ABC)

Washington navigated a monumental episode: Olivia got an abortion and then, without telling Fitz about it, broke up with him, packed her bags, and left the White House. There were no unnecessary theatrics in Washington’s performance, just the quiet determination her character needed to forge ahead solo.

Viola Davis

How to Get Away With Murder (ABC)

How to top the raw emotion of that makeup-removal scene that helped earn Davis an Emmy? Reveal that Annalise had been pregnant and lost her baby. The arc provided the actress with the opportunity to explore a new avenue of vulnerability, counterbalancing her commanding courtroom moments.