2023 Emmy Predictions: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series


We will update this article throughout the season, along with all our predictions, so make sure to keep checking IndieWire for the latest news from the 2023 Emmys race. The nomination round of voting takes place from June 15 to June 26, with the official Emmy nominations announced Wednesday, July 12. Afterwards, final voting commences on August 17 and ends the night of August 28. Currently in limbo, the 75th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards were set to take place on Monday, September 18, and air live on FOX at 8:00 p.m. ET/ 5:00 p.m. PT.

See our previous thoughts on what to expect at the 75th Primetime Emmy Awards here.

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The State of the Race

This is an aspect that could be considered inside baseball, but it has been fascinating to see which nominees were able to get in things like awards press under the wire, so that when the SAG strike hit, they still had a magazine cover in the chamber to keep their Emmy campaign going without crossing the picket line.

While “Succession” star Sarah Snook’s move to Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series looked risky before, given how she lost twice in the supporting category for her turn as Shiv Roy in Seasons 2 and 3 of the HBO juggernaut, she now seems predestined to win.

And for whatever argument one can make about HBO shows being overrepresented at the Emmys, it is not like a win for Snook would be unwarranted. The Australian actress did play a central role in what was announced as the final season of “Succession,” so it could be perceived as giving her her first Emmy right in the nick of time.

Again, in a normal year of campaigning, awarding veteran actress Melanie Lynskey, who fell just short of winning for the breakout first season of “Yellowjackets” last year, would probably be irresistible. The Kiwi star tends to be one of the more charming presences on the awards circuit, which juxtaposes nicely with her intense performance on the harrowing Showtime series. However, with the show likely to return, there are probably many voters who will wait for the next chance to hand Lynskey an Emmy, or even direct their support of her to her memorable guest role in “The Last of Us,” which she is also nominated for this year.

Speaking of “The Last of Us,” the blockbuster HBO series has a ton of below the line nominations, meaning that it has several people who worked on the show that are still able to participate in Emmy campaigning, and vouch for the actors, even though star Bella Ramsey cannot under SAG strike rules. “Bad Sisters” creator/star Sharon Horgan also has director Dearbhla Walsh in her corner, a fellow 2023 Emmy nominee, to spread the word about what makes her acting performance great, so the new dynamics of Emmy campaigning, where only certain artists are able to go out on the awards trail, has given those two drama leads a bit of a boost.


  1. Sarah Snook, “Succession” (HBO)

  2. Melanie Lynskey, “Yellowjackets” (Showtime)

  3. Bella Ramsey, “The Last of Us” (HBO)

  4. Sharon Horgan, “Bad Sisters” (Apple TV+)

  5. Keri Russell, “The Diplomat” (Netflix)

  6. Elisabeth Moss, “The Handmaid’s Tale” (Hulu)

Will Win: Sarah Snook, “Succession”
Could Win:
Melanie Lynskey, “Yellowjackets”
Should Win:
Sarah Snook, “Succession”

More Drama Category Predictions:
Outstanding Drama Series
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

To see IndieWire’s full set of predictions for the 75th Emmy Awards click here.

Last Year’s Winner: Zendaya, “Euphoria”
Still Eligible: No.
Hot Streak: There are no possible streaks here in the traditional sense. It’s been a decade since an actress won this award in back-to-back years, and with “Euphoria” not coming back anytime soon, that will not change this year. That all said, Imelda Staunton does have a shot at becoming the third actress to win the Emmy for playing Queen Elizabeth II on “The Crown.” Her predecessors won for their second seasons in the role though, not their first.
Notable Ineligible Series: Britt Lower, “Severance” (Season 2 was not eligible); Zendaya, “Euphoria” (Season 3 was not eligible); Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon, “The Morning Show” (Season 3 was not eligible); Millie Bobby Brown, “Stranger Things” (Season 5 was not eligible); Jodie Comer and Sandra Oh, “Killing Eve” (ended); Laura Linney, “Ozark” (ended); Mandy Moore, “This is Us” (ended)

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