Let's get down to the actual numbers. There were 12 votes cast. Tied for fifth with no votes were Katherine Heigl from Grey's Anatomy and Aida Turturro from The Sopranos. In fourth, with one vote (8%) is Lorraine Bracco from The Sopranos. In third place, with three votes is Chandra Wilson from Grey's Anatomy. And in the first tie of the year the winners with four votes each (33%) are Rachel Griffiths from Brothers & Sisters, and Sandra Oh from Grey's Anatomy.
As I did with the Supporting Actors in a Drama, I'm going to come right out and say that I expect the Academy to vote for one of the two actresses from The Sopranos, and I will editorialize enough to say that if they do vote for an actress from the Sopranos it should be Aida Turturro for playing the shrewish Janice. She is a thoroughly dislikable character who basically turned into this generation's lesser version of the poisonous Livia Soprano (Livia of course was named for the wife of Augustus who has traditionally been portrayed as the power behind the throne who was not above using murder – frequently with poison – to further her objectives).
I'm not surprised by the lack of support for Turturro or Bracco in the poll. For whatever reason people who vote in my polls seem to support broadcast series more than they do cable shows. Again, I'm not judging, just noting the trend which is replicated in previous year's polling results. Nor am I surprised with Katherine Heigl's poor performance. The plot arc that her character of Izzie Stevens has followed has been showy but dare I say that it has also frequently seemed absurd even for Grey's Anatomy, from her extended mourning for Denny (she spent the first episode of the season lying on the floor in a pink prom dress) through her continual indecision about what to do with the $8 million that he left her in his will, to her drunken night of adulterous sex with George and sudden realization that she loves him. I blame the lack of strong supporting roles for women in most TV series for her nomination.
Chandra Wilson in Grey's Anatomy on the other hand is a worthy nomination. Miranda Bailey is one of the best characters on Grey's Anatomy and that includes Ellen Pompeo's Meredith. She's a joy to watch, at turns funny and serious, a no nonsense woman who is willing to kick butt or to comfort people as needed. As my mother puts it, "she makes the show."
Sandra Oh, on the other hand is another example of the "co-lead" syndrome that frequently shows up in the supporting categories. Christina is at least as much the focus of the show as Pompeo's Meredith and she stand out from the rest of the cast, male and female in this regard. In this season she has had the more compelling story arc as her relationship with Burke moved towards marriage despite all of her personal internal conflicts about the idea. One can only wonder what would have happened in her character's life if Isaiah Washington had been retained by the producers. As for Rachel Griffith's, I have to confess that I've never watched an episode of Brothers & Sisters. My fellow blogger Toby wrote in the comments "This is a category which could fit your description of the supporting player being the second lead – at least for Heigl and Griffiths. Wilson, Turturro, and Bracco were the real supporting players." As I said, I would add Sandra Oh to the list of second leads. I find it interesting that Toby regards Rachel Griffiths as the second lead in this series when you consider that it is nominally at least built around Calista Flockhart's character, Kitty Walker, and that Sally Field (who plays Nora Walker) is nominated for Outstanding Actress in a Drama. Because I haven't seen the show I can't really judge it; I do however know and respect Rachel Griffith's work and abilities as an actress from her work on Six Feet Under. Still, if I were to mention a likely winner other than the two actresses from The Sopranos my vote would probably go to Sandra Oh.
Feel free to comment about this evaluation. New poll up in a few minutes.