Once you spend years complaining about something, it’s almost hard to accept it whenever changes actually happen. This morning, the nominations were announced for this year’s Emmy awards, and the mainstream waters have parted to allow Orphan Black’s Tatiana Maslany her first nod for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. I’d almost thought human cloning would become an everyday occurrence before this well-deserved recognition would ever be applied.
For the past three seasons, the Canada-born Maslany has put her acting chops out there as not just one or two Orphan Black characters, but at least ten of them. Card-carrying Clone Club members know her as the rebellious leader Sarah, the dirty-dealing homemaker Alison, the brainy lesbian Cosima, the slightly insane Helena, and the one-eyed Rachel, along with her shorter stints as the trans clone Tony, the sick Jennifer, and the ditzy Krystal. And for the past two years, we missed hearing Maslany’s name – as well as that of Orphan Black itself – whenever the Emmy nominations were announced, blaming all things professional for ignoring the show’s extensive quality. Now things have changed, and we couldn’t be happier about it.
In fact, I’m game to “borrow” everything inside the nearest bank just so I can put together the amount of money needed to recreate this scene in celebration.
Before today, the Emmys were one of the only major awards ceremonies to completely shun Orphan Black and Maslany. The actress was nominated for Best Performance at last year’s Golden Globes, losing to Robin Wright in House of Cards. If we’re being completely realistic, her chances of winning this Emmy aren’t towering, as she’s up against Wright, Empire’s Taraji P. Henson, Homeland’s Claire Danes, Mad Men’s Elizabeth Moss and How to Get Away with Murder’s Viola Davis. Quality everywhere you look.
But maybe Season 3 delivered just the right amount of drama and character development to get the Emmy voters on Maslany’s side. After all, her characters’ troubles this year involved falling in and out of love, in and out of violent confrontations, and in and out of drug dealing life changes, not to mention having to act as if she’d lost part of her brain capabilities after taking a pencil to the eye socket. And only in the rarest instance does it ever feel like Maslany is actually acting opposite herself. She’s just that damned good.
As far as building blocks towards award victories go, “genre programming airing on BBC America” isn’t the most promising descriptor, but things might change now that this shocking achievement finally happened. Maybe for Season 4, Orphan Black will take all the awards home. It’s definitely funny enough to get a comedy nomination.