We’re especially pumped about this year’s Emmy Awards, and not just because hilarious late-night star Stephen Colbert is hosting. We’re jazzed because so many of our favorite celebrity working moms have earned well-deserved nominations—in some cases, for their portrayals of working moms!
From the Netflix adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale to HBO’s stellar miniseries Big Little Lies, based on the bestselling novel by Liane Moriarty, it was definitely a big year for rich, multilayered examinations of motherhood (and books written by women!).
Bravo to these ladies, all with at least one child under age 18, for getting the recognition they deserve. We’ll be rooting for you on Sept. 17! Here’s hoping for more shows like these in 2018.
1. Claire Foy, Best Actress in a Drama Series, The Crown
This talented English actress has already snagged a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild Award for her spot-on portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II on Netflix series The Crown, but she stole our hearts for her candid confessions about struggling to breastfeed her then-4-month-old daughter while filming the show. (She auditioned for the part while 5 months pregnant.) "I was a lunatic trying to breastfeed and be The Queen,” she confessed on the Graham Norton Show. “Every morning I’d be hooked up to the pump and without fail someone would say, 'Someone’s phone is going!’”
2. Viola Davis, Best Actress in a Drama Series, How to Get Away with Murder
One of our 50 Most Powerful Moms of 2017, Viola continues to have a bang-up year. She won a Golden Globe for her heart-wrenching role in Fences, and now she’s up to take home Emmy trophy #2 for her juicy role as Annalise on How to Get Away with Murder. Fingers crossed second time is also a charm for this scene-stealing actress and mom to 6-year-old Genesis.
3. Keri Russell, Best Actress in a Drama Series, The Americans
Even though she gave birth to baby boy Sam just last year, this mom of three hasn’t slowed down a bit—giving a new meaning to the phrase “working relationship” as she co-stars with her husband Matthew Rhys on this Emmy-nominated FX show.
4. Evan Rachel Wood, Best Actress in a Drama Series, Westworld
Watching Evan Rachel Wood’s character Dolores Abernathy on the HBO sci-fi thriller go from sweet and clueless to a sharp-eyed sharp-shooter has been one of TV’s finer pleasures this year. In real life, the mom to a 3-year-old son is admirably candid about co-parenting with her ex Jamie Bell. “At the end of the day, he’s our priority and what matters,” she tells People.
5. Ellie Kemper, Best Actress in a Comedy Series, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
The spunky redhead is now a wise working mother—she gave birth to her baby boy, James, last summer—but she still nails the naive title character in this lighthearted Netflix show. This is Emmy nod #2 for the 37-year-old, but perhaps growing in new motherhood and in her on-screen role will lead to a win this year.
6. Pamela Adlon, Best Actress in a Comedy Series, Better Things
When writer and actress Pamela Adlon decided to create her own TV show, she realized her life as a working mom of three provides plenty of comedic inspiration. We couldn’t agree more. That’s why we love her semi-autobiographical new series Better Things, which stars Pamela as a divorced actress who raises her three daughters by herself and debuted on FX last year. Clearly we aren’t the only ones!
7. Nicole Kidman, Best Actress in a Limited Series or a Television Movie, Big Little Lies
Another one of our 50 Most Powerful Moms, Nicole secured her spot in our hearts this year with a powerful body of work that truly captured the complexities of motherhood. The mother of four earned a well-deserved Oscar nomination for playing an adoptive mom with heartbreaking poignancy in Lion. She also served as executive producer along with Reese Witherspoon for this Emmy-nominated show, where her searing portrayal of Celeste, a victim of domestic abuse, reminded us yet again why her acting chops are top-notch. Even better, Nicole and Reese (below) are committed to bringing more stories like these—of complex, inspirational women—to life.
8. Reese Witherspoon, Best Actress in a Limited Series or a Television Movie, Big Little Lies
Reese has made a career of playing characters we love to hate, and same goes for her latest role, as Madeline Martha Mackenzie, uptight supermom and lovable villain on Big Little Lies. That’s because she plays them with a depth and nuance that’s unusual in Hollywood, when female characters can often seem like one-dimensional side notes. We can’t wait for her and Nicole’s next adaptation, of Liane Moriarty’s Truly Madly Guilty.
9. Thandie Newton, Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, Westworld
This mom of three keeps a low profile, but lately she’s spoken up about everything from the dearth of black actresses in Vogue to Hollywood’s “abuse and exploitation” of women. In part, she credits her role in Westworld for helping her feel liberated. We’re so glad it has—for her sake and ours!
10. Anna Chlumsky, Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, Veep
You gotta love this working mom of two’s reaction to her Emmy nomination. The actress has been portraying Amy Brookheimer, the high-strung, yet unintentionally hilarious, deputy chief of staff to former (Vice-) President Selina Meyer, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, on the show Veep for six seasons now, and her character has gone through everything from a failed engagement to a failing campaign. While announcing the names of actors up for awards with Shemar Moore, she found out she, too, was nominated—and was adorably surprised.
11. Kathryn Hahn, Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, Transparent
The mom of two finally received recognition for her role as a rabbi at the center of the Pfefferman family storm. After two seasons as a recurring character, Kathryn was bumped up to main cast in season three and immediately stole the show. Next up for this funny mom is a reprisal of her role in the Bad Moms franchise for A Bad Moms Christmas.
12. Laura Dern, Best Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or a Television Movie, Big Little Lies
It easily could’ve been a caricature: a high-powered CEO who sits on major company boards and runs a family to boot. But when a little boy intentionally injures her daughter, Renata’s no-fucks-given Mama Bear comes out, and man, is she a force. As the seven-episode show winds down, her softer side surfaces, and she turns out to be just the kind of working-mom friend we’d want in our village. It’s partly why the mom of two, with her ex, musician Ben Harper, made our list of the Most Badass TV Moms of the Moment.
13. Alexis Bledel, Best Guest Actress in a Drama Series, The Handmaid's Tale
One of the most surprising castings in Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale definitely goes to Alexis Bledel. We’re used to seeing her take on good-girl roles like Rory on The Gilmore Girls and Lena in the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants films, but in the series based on Margaret Atwood’s famous novel, we finally get to see that she can handle darker roles as well. As Ofglen, she’s rebellious, mysterious and so compelling to watch.
14. Angela Bassett, Best Guest Actress in a Comedy Series, Master of None
It’s tough for a side character who appears in a single episode of a show to leave much of an impression, but Angela’s Catherine did just that. Through years of Thanksgiving dinners, we followed her growth from a mother who insisted that she knew what was best for her young child to one coming to grips with her grown daughter being a lesbian. Who can’t relate to her fierce love for her family (she's the real-life mom to two) and mixed emotions about life turning out differently than expected?
15. Melissa McCarthy, Best Guest Actress in a Comedy Series, Saturday Night Live
Just when we thought no actor could more hilariously embody a member of the Trump administration than Alec Baldwin, in walked Melissa as an almost-as-convincing Sean Spicer. The gender-bending portrayal was the episode's highlight on multiple occasions, no small feat considering the absurdness of the surrounding sketches this past season. No wonder the mom of two girls is one of our 2017 Most Powerful Moms..
16. Wanda Sykes, Best Guest Actress in a Comedy Series, Black-ish
The comedienne racked up her eighth Emmy nomination for her guest role as the new boss at Dre’s advertising firm in Black-ish. (She has previously won for writing on The Chris Rock Show in 1999.) We're happy to see this mom of twins finally get some recognition for her acting chops as well.