“This wasn’t supposed to happen.”
On Monday night, (17 September), Claire Foy took home one of the most prestigious awards in TV: the Emmy for best lead actress in a drama series. But as she took to the stage, the star of Netflix’s The Crown said she thought another actress deserved the award more.
“This wasn’t supposed to happen,” Foy said, adding: “Sandra Oh, I just love you.”
Oh had also been nominated in the lead actress in a drama category for her starring role in Killing Eve, which launched in the UK on BBC One on Saturday night. Oh’s performance in Killing Eve has gone down a storm with critics – as did Foy’s impeccable turn as Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown.
But unlike Foy, Oh would have made history if she had won the lead actress Emmy. She was the first woman of Asian descent ever to be nominated in that category, and could have been the first Asian winner. She had previously scored five nominations in the supporting drama actress category for her portrayal of Dr Cristina Yang in Grey’s Anatomy, but never won.
Speaking on the red carpet ahead of last night’s award ceremony, Oh said she knew her attendance at the Emmys was historic.
“I won’t say that I don’t understand or don’t carry the significance of what this is right now, and who knows what [the results] might be,” she told PeopleTV. “But I’m happy to be a part of it.”
She added that she hoped young women of Asian heritage would be inspired by her nomination.
“The disconnect I remember feeling at that young age, that feeling of not belonging — if there was a way to change that, if there’s a way of saying to a young girl that you can do this and be a part of culture in some way, I hope to be a part of that,” she said.
As well as paying tribute to Oh in her acceptance speech, Foy also praised the other women in the lead drama actress category: Elisabeth Moss (The Handmaid’s Tale), Evan Rachel Wood (Westworld), Keri Russell (The Americans) and Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black).
“I know everyone is talking at the moment about women in the industry, but if that [category] is anything to go by, bloody hell,” she said.
She continued: “Listen, thank you, Emmys. I had the most extraordinary two and a half years of my life [on The Crown]… I was given a role that I never thought I would ever get a chance to play. And I met people who I will love forever and ever and ever. And the show goes on, which makes me so, so proud.
“So I dedicate this to the next cast, the next generation. And I also dedicate this to Matt Smith. Thank you so much. This means so much. Thank you.”
Of course, this was Foy’s last chance to win an Emmy for The Crown, since she won’t be returning to the show for the next series. But Killing Eve has already been renewed for a second season, meaning that Oh has at least one more shot at that Emmy in the future.
Fingers crossed both women be winners – because they both deserve it.
Images: Getty Images