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Last year’s Emmy Awards seemed to signal positive change in the television industry. Donald Glover became the first Emmy-winning black director for his work on Atlanta, and Lena Waithe became the first black woman to win an Emmy for comedy writing for Master of None, among other milestone wins over the course of the night. Now 2018’s Emmy nominations are breaking barriers as well.
Sandra Oh, nominated for her performance as Eve Polastri in Killing Eve, has become the first Asian woman to be nominated for an Emmy for Lead Actress in a Drama. She has previously been nominated five times as a supporting actress for her work as Cristina Yang on Grey’s Anatomy.
Killing Eve has been Oh’s biggest role since departing Grey’s in 2014, and the actress has spoken openly about the lack of roles and diminished expectations that colored the years in between.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, she noted that, when sent the script for Killing Eve, she originally thought she was meant to be reading for the part of a receptionist rather than the lead role. She also spoke about the importance of seeing nonstereotypical Asian characters and Asian representation in film and TV on the whole: “I’ll continue doing everything I can to fill something that I know you need right now, that we don’t yet have as a community.”
Hopefully, her nomination this year is a sign of continued momentum for more diverse representation on screen.
The 2018 Emmy Awards will air on September 17.