Sandra Oh Just Made History For Killing Eve, But The Emmys Forgot One Thing

Photo: Courtesy of BBC America.
Ever since Killing Eve premiered in April, I've been crossing my fingers for a Sandra Oh Emmy nomination. From the start, it was clear this role was finally giving Oh the spotlight that has long been denied to people of color, and I eagerly followed her storyline. Not only would a nomination be confirmation of her long-neglected hard work, it would be the first time an Asian woman was nominated for a lead actress Emmy. My wish was granted Thursday morning when Oh was tapped for Lead Actress in a Drama alongside other powerhouses like Elisabeth Moss and Claire Foy.
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"I feel tremendous gratitude and joy with this nomination," Oh said in a statement. "I am thrilled for Phoebe Waller Bridge’s nomination and for the entire cast/crew of Killing Eve. I share this moment with my community. P.S. I think my mother at this moment may actually be satisfied."
Killing Eve creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge also received a nomination for her work writing the BBC America series, which leaves one notable woman from the cult show out: Jodie Comer.
Comer's work as Villanelle was a slow burn the first season. She was immediately enchanting and downright cruel as the unfeeling assassin of Eve's (Oh) ire (and awe), but the full scope of her role unfolded in subsequent episodes with the introduction of her many personas and disguises. Villanelle assumed roles that varied not just in wigs, but in accent, demeanor, and backstory. Comer played each of them with such disturbing accuracy and nuance that it's easy to forget they're all brought to life by the same actress.
That same sentiment was uttered many times over the years about a different BBC America star, Tatiana Maslany. Maslany starred in all five seasons of Orphan Black, and is now up against Oh in the lead actress category for her work on the final season. Similarly to Comer, Maslany's role demanded she play not one, not two, but up to 12 different characters as the subject of a cloning experiment with mysterious roots. The clones may share the same face, but the range of personalities, affectations, and demeanors Maslany brought to them were what earned the show its niche army of fans — even if the Television Academy didn't see it.
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Much of Maslany's early Orphan Black seasons were plagued by fan frustration that her demanding performances weren't receiving critical recognition. In 2013, the Huffington Post referred to her lack of nomination as the Emmys' biggest snub, and the show was shut out again in 2014. It took another year for Maslany to even get a nod from the Emmys, and another year before she actually won.
"SHE FINALLY DID IT!" the uploader wrote in the description of her 2016 acceptance speech video. "Watch Tatiana win her first (hopefully not last) Emmy."
With Maslany's nomination for Orphan Black's final season, the Clone Club (the name of Orphan Black's fan base) has something to root for. But not Comer Comrades, the name I just made up for people who are worried the Killing Eve villain is about to get similar mainstream treatment. Instead, the Emmys should learn from previous snubs and acknowledge women like Maslany and Comer who do their jobs up to 12 times over.
While 2018 may not be the year for Comer, Killing Eve's record-breaking first season ratings bode well for season 2. If there's one thing we know about Villanelle, it's that she'll be back.
Bridge and Comer did not immediately return Refinery29's request for comment.
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