When the 2011 Emmy nominations were announced last July, we got a fresh crop of funny and fierce ladies picking up supporting, lead, and guest actress Emmy noms for some of our favorite shows like 30 Rock, Mad Men, and Glee. Before tonight's show, let's take a look at the types of TV characters that got these actresses recognized. From the bombshell to the boss lady to the b*tch, here are 20 that stood out to us!
Betty White's Hot in Cleveland character, Elka Ostrovsky, has a colorful past that includes sex, Nazis, and substance abuse, giving her a spunky and sassy personality.
Julie Bowen plays Claire Dunphy in Modern Family, an overprotective mom who tries to do it all.
It doesn't get b*tchier than Jane Lynch's cheer coach, Sue Sylvester, in Glee, although we did see a softer side to her character this last season.
Whether she's playing Suze Orman, Kathie Lee Gifford, or the Target Lady, Jill of all trades Kristen Wiig shines on Saturday Night Live.
30 Rock's spotlight-hogging Jenna Maroney, played by Jane Krakowski, lives in an alternate universe that centers on her, and her alone. Even her boyfriend — a Jenna drag dresser — is a carbon copy of herself!
Sofia Vergara is the voluptuous Gloria Delgado-Pritchett on Modern Family, a spicy Latina mom who married a much older man.
Mad Men's Peggy Olson is played by Elisabeth Moss, and she's determined to work her way to the top despite living in the male-centered '60s.
Sexy singing sub Holly Holiday, Gwyneth Paltrow, uses unconventional teaching methods on the students at Glee's McKinley High.
Laura Linney's Cathy Jamison in The Big C may be facing cancer, but she's doing it with a positive outlook on life.
Speaking of positive, Amy Poehler's chipper Leslie Knope on Parks and Recreation doesn't know the meaning of negativity.
It's not always easy being the boss, especially when you have to be the bad guy (or gal), but Tina Fey's Liz Lemon on 30 Rock manages to pull it out with minimal disasters.
Melissa McCarthy plays Molly Flynn on Mike & Molly, an overweight teacher who meets her boyfriend in a weight-loss support group.
In the off-kilter comedy Raising Hope, Martha Plimpton plays Virginia Chance, a young woman who had her son Jimmy when she was only 15 and now helps him raise his baby, Hope, after the child's mom was electrocuted for murder.
Edie Falco plays Nurse Jackie's title character, Jackie Peyton, an ER nurse struggling to balance her personal life with her drug addictions and career.
The Good Wife centers on Julianna Margulies's Alicia Florrick, the wife of a former state attorney going through a sex and corruption scandal. The mother of two goes back to work as a junior litigator at the law firm and must decide if she should stay with her adulterous husband.
Cloris Leachman is the hilarious Maw Maw in Raising Hope, who, despite having Alzheimer's and saying things like "We need another baby like we need a gorilla throwing fireworks," manages to help the family take care of baby Hope.
Christina Hendricks is Mad Men's fiery redhead Joan Harris, who finds herself in a troubled marriage and pregnant with another man's baby.
Glee's Coach Beiste, played by Dot-Marie Jones, is not what what she seems. Under her tough exterior she's an insecure woman who's never been kissed and just wants a man to love her.
In 30 Rock, Jack Donaghy's wife and baby mama, Avery Jessup, played by Elizabeth Banks, is incredibly driven, but it gets her into trouble when she's stuck in Korea and forced to marry Kim Jong-un.
No one other than Broadway star Kristin Chenoweth could have played drunk wash-up April Rhodes on Glee. Despite some bumps along the way, the talented performer ends up redeeming herself when she creates a Broadway musical about her life.