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With the release of this year’s Golden Globes nominations, there were several surprises to be found in all categories. But there were a few names that didn’t make the list – namely Orphan Black and actress Tatiana Maslany – that probably won’t surprise anyone. Why isn’t it more shocking? Because awards shows maddeningly tend to dismiss sci-fi series that aren’t Lost, and that’s a huge problem.
BBC America’s Orphan Black came out of nowhere last year to become a cult phenomenon, based on wicked clever writing, a plotline that TV hasn’t seen before, and gloriously delivered performances from Maslany and her fellow cast. And though the Globes stepped out of the box and nominated her last year for Best Performance in a Drama, Maslany and the show as a whole have been mostly shunned by non-critics-based awards shows, and the only possible reason for it is genre bias.
If we’re being completely frank with one another, I understand that Orphan Black doesn’t immediately seem comparable to prestige-wallowing hits like Game of Thrones and The Good Wife. (Although I can’t figure out for the life of me why Downton Abbey has retained its spot.) I think TV is at a point where the drama race is just too tight, even without Breaking Bad and Mad Men pulling rank. Seeing Orphan Black get nominated would almost be more shocking than seeing it get left out the past two years, but that isn’t to say it doesn’t deserve it. I’ll champion these twists and turns way more than I will House of Cards’ further descent into political soap opera. (I do like that show though.)
But there is NO REASON why Tatiana Maslany should have been ignored this year. Not only has the actress’ performances remained as solid and complex as they were last year, she actually further developed one character, Rachel, while also introducing two new ones, the terminally ill Jennifer and the transgender clone Tony. (The latter was laughable, but still.) And all of her distinctively portrayed main characters are vitally important to the plot itself, so Maslany could feasibly take over the Best Performance category all by her lonesome.
This isn’t to take away from any of the women currently nominated or anything, as I can’t readily call out House of Cards’ Robin Wright or The Affair’s Ruth Wilson as poor choices. But I’d even accept Maslany getting nominated in the Supporting Actress Performance category for her portrayal of the tightly wound Alison, if no one is willing to allow the Sarah role to shine brightest. There are ways to get Maslany involved here, but no one is giving her a clear shot. Except, you know, the SAG awards.
Will Orphan Black and its cast get recognized next year for its increasingly clone-filled Season 3 coming next spring? Probably only if enough people are actually watching the thing. So get on it, America!