The Killing Eve star’s powerful speech made history, for all the right reasons.
The 2019 Golden Globes winners were unveiled on Sunday 6 January – and several of our favourite films and TV shows, featuring incredible female stars and thoughtfully approached feminist issues, have rightfully received nods.
However, while the evening’s most-nominated show, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, won Best Limited Series, it’s Sandra Oh who has made Golden Globes history.
The actress, who co-hosted the awards show with Andy Samberg, won 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 (who previously picked up a gong in 2006 for her role in Grey’s Anatomy) became the first woman of Asian descent to rack up more than one Golden Globe trophy.
She’s also the first woman of Asian descent in 39 years to win a Golden Globe for best actress in a TV drama (the last actress of Asian descent to win in that category was Yoko Shimada for Shogun way back in 1980).
Cue the most beautiful and emotionally-charged acceptance speech of all time:
Naturally, Oh dedicated most of her speech to the unconditional love she has for her parents.
“There are two people here that I’m so grateful that they’re here with me. I’d like to thank my mother and my father,” she said with a bow. “엄마! 아빠! 사랑해요!” (“I love you, mum and dad!”).
Of course, Oh didn’t just make history by winning big at the Golden Globes: she is also the first person of Asian descent to co-host the awards show, a fact she nodded to during her opening monologue.
“I said yes to the fear of being on this stage tonight because I wanted to be here to look out into this audience and witness this moment of change,” she said, to tumultuous applause.
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.”
Killing Eve will be back with a second series on BBC One and BBC Three later this year.