Join or Sign In

Sign in to customize your TV listings

Continue with Facebook Continue with email

By joining TV Guide, you agree to our Terms of Use and acknowledge the data practices in our Privacy Policy.

Why Sandra Oh's Emmy Nomination Matters

Welcome to my Ted Talk

Krutika Mallikarjuna

We gather here today to celebrate the Emmy nomination of the goddess, the icon, the legend Sandra Oh. Ms. Oh (if you nasty) has had a storied career in Hollywood, but as Eve Polastri in BBC America's Killing Eveshe is truly at her peak. In one of the deadliest games of cat-and-mouse ever played, Eve works at a black ops division of MI5 that is on the tail of the psychopathic serial killer Villanelle (Jodie Comer). While that might sound like straightforward spy fare, Killing Eve is an off-kilter thriller that masterfully balances the nail-biting drama with madcap dark comedy thanks to the singular vision of showrunner Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

And at the center of all this is Eve, a complex role which finds Oh finally taking her rightful spot as the leading lady instead of a scene-stealing supporting character. She's number one on the call sheet and number one in our hearts. So, without further ado, let us count the ways she's destroyed Hollywood's expectations of a leading lady, as well as all of our emotions.

1. She's the first person of Asian descent to be nominated for Best Actress in a Drama in the history of the Emmys. After her historical nomination, Oh said her plan was to just "celebrate" the occasion. "It's like, we've got to start somewhere," she told the New York Times. "And I'm happy to get that ball rolling, because what I hope happens is that next year and the next year and the next year, we will have presence. And the presence will grow not only to Asian-Americans, you know, from yellow to brown, but to all our other sisters and brothers. Our First Nations sisters and brothers. Our sisters and brothers of different sizes and different shapes. If I can be a part of that change, like [expletive], yeah, let's celebrate it."


2. But that doesn't mean Sandra is an Emmys newbie. Oh has previously been nominated five times for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama for the role of Cristina Yang in Grey's Anatomy, but she sadly never managed to snag an Emmy for her beloved breakout role. She did, however, score a Golden Globe and two SAG Awards during her tenure on Grey's.


3. Queen Sandra is also a bonafide movie star. She may be best known for Grey's Anatomy and Killing Eve, but Sandra Oh also has quite the impressive roster of film credits. Most memorably, she starred in the critically acclaimed Sideways, as well as appearing in movies like Catfight, Cake and even The Princess Diaries. She also appeared in Under the Tuscan Sun.


4. Her entire filmography is an endless series of surprises considering she's Korean-Canadian yet her career isn't built upon stereotypical fare that trades in white people's expectations of Asians. That's because Oh consciously went after roles that were complex and had depth, even when the part was tiny.


5. And thanks to her, many of us saw ourselves as messy, multilayered, three dimensional characters for the first time on TV. That's the kind of legacy that means so much more than any award.


6. She's groundbreaking in every way. And most importantly she did it simply by being herself.


The 70th Primetime Emmy Awards air Monday at 8/7c on NBC.