Best Emmy-winning performances in a drama series of the 2010s, ranked

This year Primetime Emmys are fast approaching. Indeed, we are only three months away from knowing who will take home an award in 2022. Historically, the first Emmy awarded was in 1949 for categories such as Most Popular TV Show or Best Picture. Designed for television.



Ahead of the Emmys, we’re here to look back at the decade of the 2010s, which was filled with many excellent performers who were justly awarded for their work. We will focus specifically on the drama series and the best Emmy-winning performances by actors and actresses. Here’s our list of the top eight.

8 Jon Hamm – Mad Men (2015)

With a plot spanning the 1960s through the 1970s, Mad Men focuses on Don Draper (Jon Hamm), a talented creative director working in an advertising agency. His success rose and fell following the changing events of American society during these two decades. The period drama managed to run for seven seasons, from 2007 to 2015. Although the story also follows people in Don’s life, Hamm does an amazing job with his character and deservedly received an Emmy for the Best Lead Actor in a Drama Series in 2015. Don is basically a miserable alcoholic trying to fill the void by gaining success in his field.

Related: Jon Hamm’s Best Performances, Ranked

seven Jodie Comer – Killing Eve (2019)

Kill Eve is a British spy thriller written entirely by women. The plot centers on an FBI investigator Eve (Sandra Oh) who is tasked with capturing the assassin Villanelle (Jodie Comer). Eventually, the two women become obsessed with each other. The whole series fills you with so much emotion. They couldn’t even bear to be in the same room without the passion exploding into chaos, and it turned into them loving each other tenderly. Both Oh and Comer’s performances are great things to see. While each has been nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series multiple times throughout the series, Comer won the Emmy in 2019.

6 Claire Foy — The Crown (2018)

The crown is a Netflix historical drama series telling the story of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign over the years. Claire Foy in particular portrays the Queen in the first two seasons when the story focuses on Elizabeth’s marriage to Phillip through to the birth of Prince Edward. The whole series itself is very re-watchable media and will definitely have you in its stranglehold once you tune in. Foy specifically did an amazing job with the first two seasons and many fans miss her very much on the show. One of his specialties was definitely giving powerful speeches. No wonder she snagged an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series in 2018.

5 Elisabeth Moss – The Handmaid’s Tale (2017)

The Handmaid’s Tale was the first Hulu-produced television series to win a major award, namely the Primetime Emmy Awards, as well as the Golden Globe Award. Featuring Elizabeth Moss in the lead role, the dystopian plot tells the story of a second American Civil War, where fertile women are used for the slavery of procreation. It’s arguably one of the few dystopian stories that are told in the ‘during’, instead of the ‘after’, giving us a whole new perspective on how society is unraveling so quickly. As for Moss, she is awfully good at what she does and certainly deserves all the credit. She won the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series in 2017.


4 Billy Porter—Posing (2019)

Billy Porter became the first openly gay black man to be nominated and win an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, and that was for Laid in 2019. Covering the 1980s and 1990s, the Ryan Murphy television series focuses on New York’s drag ball culture in the African American and Latino communities. The show is both very heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time, especially when you realize that some of the plot regarding Porter’s character is based on the actor’s own life, as reported by CNN. We highly recommend watching it if you want proper queer representation.

Related: 6 Shows Like The Pose You Need To Watch Next

3 Tatiana Maslany—Orphan Black (2016)

Who deserves more than the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series Tatiana Maslany who literally played the five main characters who were distinctly unique? black orphan raises ethical questions regarding human cloning and its effects on humanity. Sarah Manning is the main character who discovers that she is one of many other clones and wants to find out the truth, which leads her to meet her identical sisters. The show received high critical appraisal, especially for Maslany’s excellent performances. Although the series ended in 2017, according to EW, a sequel to the series Orphan Black: Echoes in production.


2 Bryan Cranston—Breaking Bad (2010)

Called by critics as one of the greatest television series of our time, breaking Bad is a neo-Western thriller centered on Walter White (Bryan Cranston), a chemistry professor with stage three cancer who turns to the criminal underworld of drugs to secure his family’s future. The show was recognized with numerous major awards, with Cranston winning the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. The show is both funny and deals with issues of mortality and morality.

1 Viola Davis – How to Get Away With Murder (2015)

Last but not least, the incredibly talented Viola Davisundoubtedly one of the best actresses of our generation. How to get away with murder is an American legal drama series starring Davis in the lead role as law professor Annalize Keating, who becomes embroiled in a murder case with her top students. Despite all the characters involved in extremely dark situations, you can’t help but love them. As for Davis, there aren’t enough words to describe how spectacular she is as Keating. Just stop whatever you’re doing and watch the show, and you’ll see why she made history as the first black woman to win the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series in 2015.

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