A Look at the Emmy It Girls of the Past 20 Years: Taraji P. Henson, Tina Fey, and More

By Megan Angelo

Is there anything better than watching our favorite women on TV all dressed up and ready to make history? We think not. That's why we love the Emmys — and why we think back so fondly on the gals who have ruled them for the past two decades. Let's look back.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images

Gallery

2015: Taraji P. Henson, "Empire" | Nominated for: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series  Cookie fever is at an all-time high going into this year's ceremony — and a win for the Lyoness (and our cover girl!) is at the top of our Emmys wish list. Photo Credit: Getty Images

2014: Anna Gunn, "Breaking Bad" | Won: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series  As the unforgettable Skylar White, Gunn put up with a lying kingpin of a husband and still made cute number bacon for his birthday breakfast. Safe to say she earned this. Photo Credit: Getty Images

2013: Merritt Wever, "Nurse Jackie" | Won: Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Photo Credit: Getty Images

2012: Lena Dunham, "Girls" | Nominated for: "Girls" in the writing, directing, producing,and acting categories.  Uh, the above kind of says it all. No big deal — just the official kickoff to the Dunham Era. Photo Credit: Getty Images

2011: Melissa McCarthy, "Mike & Molly" | Won: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series  The collective good mood Bridesmaids put the world in culminated with McCarthy taking home the statue for her day-job role: the good-humored, dry-witted Molly. Photo Credit: Getty Images

2010: Archie Panjabi, "The Good Wife" | Won: Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series  Evidence of how much Panjabi's acting deserved this award: It was almost unnerving to watch her gush, giggle, and speak in a British accent — three extremely un-Kalinda-like things — at the podium. Photo Credit: Getty Images

2009: Kristen Chenoweth, "Pushing Daisies" | Won: Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series After she shot to fame in Wicked and before she was aGlee goddess, Chenoweth turned heads as a lovelorn bakery employee in this cult-hit high-concept comedy. Photo Credit: Getty Images

2008: Tina Fey, "30 Rock" | Won: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series The day Liz Lemon got her damn due! We haven't stopped missing her — or her night cheese — since. Photo Credit: Getty Images

2007: America Ferrera, "Ugly Betty" | Won: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series  Before there was Jane the Virgin, there was Ugly Betty — a series that redefined Latina protagonists via Ferrera's earnest, metal-mouthed striver. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Emmys

2006: Chandra Wilson, "Grey's Anatomy" | Nominated for: Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series  In '06, Grey's was at the peak of its popularity — and so was fan adoration for Wilson's multitasking, no-nonsense, highly lovable Bailey. Photo Credit: Getty Images

2004: Sarah Jessica Parker, "Sex and the City" | Won: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series  We had just stopped crying about the end of Sex and the City, and then the Emmys made us start again by finally rewarding Parker's inimitable Carrie Bradshaw. Photo Credit: Getty Images

2003: Doris Roberts, "Everybody Loves Raymond" | Won: Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series In '03, Roberts notched her third consecutive win in this category for Everybody Loves Raymond. (And then, after a year off, she won again in '05!) Photo Credit: Getty Images

2002: Jennifer Aniston, "Friends" | Won: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series  The Emmys had the timing right on this one, giving Aniston the win just after an all-grown-up Rachel Green became a career woman and mother. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Emmys

2001: Calista Flockhart, "Ally McBeal" | Nominated for: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series  This was the third and final nomination Flockhart earned for her doe-eyed lawyer girl. She never won, but her legacy lives on (on Hulu — check it out). Photo Credit: Getty Images

2000: Allison Janney, "The West Wing" | Won: Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series  In 2000, Janney's White House secretary C.J. Cregg — with her power suits and flair for walk 'n' talk — was everything. Photo Credit: Getty Images

1999: Edie Falco, "The Sopranos" | Won: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series  CAH-MEL-UH! It's your first Emmy win! Falco would go on to snag three more of these: two for her role on The Sopranos and one for Nurse Jackie. (And we're sure she's far from finished.) Photo Credit: Getty Images

1998: Camryn Manheim, "The Practice" | Won: Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series  Manheim, who played the fiery Ellenor Frutt on the law-firm drama, had maybe the most memorable acceptance speech closer of all time: "This is for all the fat girls!" Photo Credit: Courtesy of Emmys

1997: Gillian Anderson, "The X-Files" | Won: Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama  An Emmy is the least America could do for the alter ego of FBI special agent Dana Scully a.k.a. every good '90s girl's spirit animal. Go ahead, hum the theme song. Photo Credit: Getty Images

1996: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "Seinfeld" | Won: Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy  Julia Louis-Dreyfus would go on to become the only woman ever to win an acting Emmy for three separate shows (Seinfeld, The New Adventures of Old Christine, and Veep). But in 1996, it was all about Elaine. Photo Credit: Getty Images Check out more here.