Bafta TV awards 2014: who should win best actress?

On Sunday night, I want Olivia Colman to take home the best actress Bafta. Not just because I love her down-to-earth speeches and British self-effacement, but because her performance in ITV's Broadchurch was a belting, roaring testament to her huge talent. In the past decade she has built up a portfolio of quietly resilient women, from the embattled but transcendent Hannah in Tyrannosaur to the efficient and emotionally stoppered Sally in Twenty Twelve. Rather than forcing anything, she lets her emotions leak on to the screen like a devastating gas.

I know she won twice last year (best supporting actress for The Accused and best female comedy performance for Twenty Twelve) and it's bad form for one actor to hog the glory every year. But based solely on the merits of her performance – and the jury has to take the shortlist in isolation – she has to win.

If you haven't seen Broadchurch yet, stop reading because we need to talk about the plot. When DS Ellie Miller finds out the dreadful truth about her husband in the final episode, Colman's performance goes from understated to a controlled explosion of horror and despair. It is spectacular and incredibly intimate simultaneously. It almost hurts to watch as she howls like a wounded bear, trying to understand what turned her husband from a nice, middle-class dad into a warped killer. She is the centre of that show. Even when you don't know she's living with the killer, she carries it firmly on both shoulders while David Tennant does his flourishes and eye-bulges and emotional triple salchows. No one works harder to look like they're doing nothing.

Of the other nominees for best actress, special plaudits must go to Kerrie Hayes of Channel 4's The Mill, who receives what will be the first of many Bafta nominations, I think, for her role as 17-year-old Esther Price, an apprentice in the bleak but brilliant historical series set in Quarry Bank mill, Cheshire. It's possible the jury could go with her, as she really did stand out among some strong women this year.

While I enjoy Helena Bonham Carter in pretty much everything she does, her performance as Elizabeth Taylor in Burton and Taylor was effectively cauterised by some duff, expository dialogue. She captured something of Taylor's spirit but the whole project lacked the necessary fire associated with that famous relationship. As for Maxine Peake in The Village, she turns in a typically committed and brilliantly controlled performance. But the drama was hard going at times – not just in content, with the relentless mud and domestic violence, but it didn't really give a complete picture of life in that village. Where was the humour emerging naturally from life, however hard? It left me cold, despite the talent involved.

Best supporting actress

For me it's a straight fight between two towering talents, Nicola Walker and Sarah Lancashire, both nominated for their roles in the splendid Last Tango in Halifax. (Shirley Henderson and Claire Rushbrook are also nominated.) Walker has been the unsung heroine of TV drama for years and it would be really nice to see her scooping the prize this time. The culmination of her storyline in Scott & Bailey last year left me plastered against the back wall of the living room. Whatever it is, she's got it.

Female performance in a comedy programme

Katherine Parkinson is my favourite here for her brief return to the role of Jen in The IT Crowd. Her performance is tonally unique, not obviously derivative of anything else and always surprising. I also loved Doon Mackichan in ITV2's Plebs. (Frances de la Tour and Kerry Howard are also nominated.)

We'll be discussing the Bafta TV nominations all this week, including the awards for best actor, best drama, best factual and best comedy and entertainment programmes.

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