Television is in the midst of a new golden age, as this year’s Emmy nominations attest. Actors go where the best writing can be found, and TV is that place to judge by the flood of movie star names among this year’s Emmy nominees, including Oscar winners Matthew McConaughey, Kevin Spacey, Billy Bob Thornton, Jessica Lange, Jon Voight, Jane Fonda and Julia Roberts.
It’s especially true for actresses, as Halle Berry has been pointing out on the promotional trail for her new “Extant” series. The women’s categories this Emmy year represent an array of meaty characters — Taylor Schilling’s prison inmate in “Orange is the New Black,” Lizzy Caplan’s sex researcher in “Masters of Sex,” Kerry Washington’s D.C. fixer in “Scandal,” Claire Danes’ CIA agent in “Homeland,” Margo Martindale’s Cold War era Soviet spy in “The Americans,” and Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ U.S. vice president in “Veep” to name a few.
Christine Baranski, up for Emmy honors (her 12th nomination) for playing law firm partner Diane Lockhart on “The Good Wife” is quick to attest to the multi-dimensionality of her character. “What I really love? She’s a powerful, well-educated woman, very well-spoken, and she can just go toe to toe with the guys. Women love that, they love to see it,” she told us. “There are so many powerful women in the world now, running companies, running countries, running the international monetary fund. They know how to talk to guys. They don’t, you know, bend and try to be all cute to try to deal with the guys. It’s a new world, and I love that Diane is totally comfortable with men. She actually likes men. You get the feeling, this is a woman who can sit down and drink scotch with the guys and talk sports.”