I love my supporting actresses, so making this list proved to be more difficult than I had anticipated. There are several names that it pains me to leave off, but I could not deny the talent that these twelve women possess. My inability to remain interested in Community, Cougar Town, and Nurse Jackie also caused the absence of a few fan favorites (Alison Brie, Busy Phillips, Merritt Wever, etc.). Though the women on this list may not be the leads of their shows, they certainly are the stars that make us laugh and cry the most.
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Lizzy Caplan, Party Down - Best know for her roles in Mean Girls and True Blood, Caplan does her best work as a struggling comedian working at a catering company. She may not be as over-the-top as her cast mates, but her character is genuine and truly funny. "Party Down Company Picnic" and the season finale stick out as her strongest episodes.
Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock - Krakowski's neurotic, narcissistic Jenna never fails to crack me up. This season had her doing great work with James Franco, Jan Hooks as her mother, and Will Forte as a drag queen. As long as 3o Rock is on the air, Jenna's craziness will always keep me laughing.
Jane Lynch, Glee - Believe it or not, Lynch has been on the scene for quite a while. Her role as the scathing Sue Sylvester has finally made her a household name. Week after week she delivers the show's greatest moments in a single line. I may not particularly enjoy Glee's attempts to humanize Sue, but Lynch's performance perfects the balance of evil and human.
Megan Mullally, Party Down - I recently read a critic's blog that described Mullally's performance on Party Down as the worst on the show. I must say that I strongly disagree. She fit perfectly into the group this season as Jane Lynch's replacement and usually makes me laugh the most each episode. Whether she's sexually pursuing a party guest, accidentally snorting cocaine, or supporting her daughter's acting career, Mullally is constantly hilarious.
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family - This year's funniest new show will be a strong contender in several categories. Vergara wields a thick accent and a great sense of comedic timing. She doesn't let the strong male cast overshadow her, and her talent truly shines.
Vanessa Williams, Ugly Betty - Like Sue Sylvester, Williams plays a great villain whose best weapon is the one-liner. In fact, some of Wilhelmina Slater's best moments involve only a simple glare or raise of the eyebrow. An Emmy would be the perfect reward for four years of great work on an amazing television program.
Honorable Mention: Elizabeth Perkins, Weeds and Aubrey Plaza, Parks & Recreation
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Morena Baccarin, V - There's a strong possibility that all of my other picks for this category will earn actual nominations. Unfortunately the same fate is not likely for Baccarin. I chose her because she showed such a great transformation in Anna, the alien queen, as she began to experience human emotion. She exhibits such alien-like qualities that it's hard to believe she's actually human.
Rose Byrne, Damages - Byrne has done a fantastic job for three seasons. She is able to hold her own and showcases herself alongside her talented costar, Glenn Close. Though I believe last season was her strongest, Byrne continued to deliver superb work in what is arguably the lead role on Damages.
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men - Moving from lead actress to supporting was a smart decision. If she had remained in the lead category, I most likely would not have included Moss in my list. Though seasons one and two focused quite a big on Peggy and her journey through the ad agency, the fantastic third season centered around the Draper family as it fell apart. Moss executed her supporting role exceptionally well and continued to perform excellently in scenes with Jon Hamm and the other men.
Sandra Oh, Grey's Anatomy - The series has certainly dwindled in quality, but Oh's talent keeps increasing. This season was her strongest yet as she delivered episode after episode the most consistent performance on the show. It's stunning that despite being nominated for every season of Grey's, she has never actually won an Emmy.
Chloë Sevigny, Big Love - Say what you want about the fourth season of Big Love, but it's still one of best-acted dramas on television. It's strength lies with its women. Though Ginnifer Goodwin continues to give an excellent performance each year, Sevigny pulled through this rougher season as the star. She took Nicki, my least favorite of Bill's three wives, and made made her my favorite character of the entire series.
Chandra Wilson, Grey's Anatomy - Originally Oh was the only Grey's actress to earn a spot on my ballot. After the intense two hour season finale, it was impossible to omit Wilson. For years, she has given one of the best performances on the show. In that finale she gave the performance of her lifetime as the strong and secure Dr. Baily that we all know and love quaked in fear from a shooter and watched one of her doctors die.
Honorable Mention: Mae Whitman, Parenthood & Amy Brenneman, Private Practice
Coming Soon: My picks for Outstanding Supporting Actors
Six Feet Under Season 1
Episode 8 - Crossroads