Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black – BBC America
She’s not yet a household name, but we’d be very surprised if she doesn’t reach that status pretty darned soon. Tatiana Maslany has stunned audiences with her incredible portrayal of multiple clones, who were purposely raised in different environments to see how they would turn out. That means each one is radically different, forcing Tatiana to constantly switch between them in an acting dance that would make even the most seasoned thespian’s head spin. To think that Maslany is only 28 years old makes her feat all the more worthy of recognition. We’re not sure how long this compelling show will continue, but we do know that we’ll be seeing a lot more of Tatiana Maslany in the future. Carrie Brownstein, Portlandia – IFC – A musician by training, Brownstein excels as a comedian and an actress. She and Portlandia co-creator Fred Armisen were made for each other—comedically speaking at least.
Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones – HBO – When Clarke’s Daenerys Targaryen unleashed the slave army on their own captors this season, we knew she meant business. And we felt it.
Vera Farmiga, Bates Motel – A&E – Farmiga has brought the iconic character of Norman Bates’ mom to life… literally. And the Psycho universe will never be the same.
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men – AMC – Moss consistently proves that she’s an exquisite actress, with her breakout performance in this season of “Mad Men” sealing the deal.
Emmy Rossum, Shameless – Showtime – It’s shameful that Rossum’s well-rounded performance has yet to get an Emmy nomination. Especially since her name’s Emmy, but we digress…
Keri Russell, The Americans – FX – If you had any doubt that “Felicity” has grown up, then you haven’t seen Russell’s nuanced work on this cold-war thriller.
Katey Sagal, Sons of Anarchy – FX – Sagal has cemented a place in history as one of baddest, most brutal and yet maternally centered biker chicks in history. RIP Peg Bundy.