Why Sandra Oh’s reaction to her Emmy 2018 nomination has gone viral

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Kayleigh Dray
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Emmy 2018: Sandra Oh celebrates as she makes history with Emmy 2018 nomination

The Killing Eve star’s “omg wtf?” selfie is beyond brilliant…

The 2018 Emmy nominations were unveiled on Thursday 12 July – and several of our favourite shows, featuring incredible female stars and thoughtfully approached feminist issues, have rightfully received nods.

However, while Game of Thrones stormed to the forefront with an eye-watering 22 nominations, it’s Sandra Oh who has made Emmy history.

The actress received an Emmy nomination for Best Actress in a Drama Series for her role as MI5 security officer Eve Polastri in the BBC America thriller. And, just like that, Oh became the first Asian actor to be nominated for Lead Actress in a Drama, as Los Angeles Times journalist Glenn Whipp noted on Twitter.

“Omg wtf??” she tweeted, shortly after the nominations were made public.

“This is me hearing about Emmy nom w/ fellow sister @michellekrusiec – my expression is kinda … what?”

Cue the most bewildered and ecstatic facial expression of all time:

Naturally, Oh’s selfie went down a storm on Twitter, receiving thousands of likes and retweets within hours.

However, the actress later shared a (slightly more formal) reaction to her nom via E! News, saying: “I feel tremendous gratitude and joy with this nomination. 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.”

In an all-too-relatable aside, Oh added: “PS. I think my mother at this moment may actually be satisfied.”

Oh previously said that when she first read the script for Killing Eve, she never imagined that she was in the running to play the lead role.

“I was quickly scrolling down the script, and I can’t really tell you what I was looking for,” she explained. “So I’m like, ‘So Nancy [her agent], I don’t understand, what’s the part?’ And Nancy goes ‘Sweetheart, it’s Eve, it’s Eve.’”

“In that moment, I did not assume the offer was for Eve,” Oh continued. “I think about that moment a lot. Of just going, how deep have I internalised this? [So] many years of being seen [a certain way], it deeply, deeply, deeply affects us… I didn’t even assume when being offered something that I would be one of the central storytellers. Why?”

Many years of experiencing racism in the film and TV industry had reduced her expectations of what she could be offered, Oh said. However, while she’d undeniably found it more difficult to get parts as a Canadian-Korean actress, she always refused to be defeated by it.

“Racism exists. Let’s start there. I felt it, and I have felt it deeply. And I’m extremely fortunate. So I’m not going to not say that it’s not there, because it is,” she said.

“But it’s changing the mindset that being an actor of colour, person of colour, that you’re at a disadvantage in the creative life. That you don’t have opportunity. It’s all how you see the opportunity.

“And the clearer and deeper you get into what you really want, you just become a better artist… If what you want is to connect, if what you want is to be a great artist, I think you can find your way. Even within this giant paradigm that a lot of times doesn’t include people who look like us.”

It goes without saying that Oh’s nomination is an important, yet long overdue, milestone in the Emmy Awards’ 70-year history. However, it is by far the first time that the talented actress has been up for an award: Oh was previously nominated five times for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her role as Cristina Yang in Grey’s Anatomy.

Whether she will win this time around, though, remains to be seen: Oh is up against The Crown’s Claire Foy, The Handmaid’s Tale’s Elisabeth Moss, The Americans’ Keri Russell, Westworld’s Evan Rachel Wood and Orphan Black’s Tatiana Maslany to the gong.

We will find out which is the Best Actress on Sunday 17 September when the 70th annual Primetime Emmys will air on NBC from the Microsoft Theatre in downtown Los Angeles.

You can see all of your female nominees here.

Killing Eve will premiere on BBC One and BBC Three later this year.

Image: Getty


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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.