It was a highly contested fight, but Sarah Paulson prevailed, winning the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie for her role in The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story.

Paulson triumphed over tough competition from Kirsten Dunst (Fargo), Audra McDonald (Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill), Kerry Washington (Confirmation), Felicity Huffman (American Crime) and Lili Taylor (American Crime). “I am stunned to be sharing the category with so many extraordinary actresses,” she said on stage. She thanked the “magicians” of the cast. “There was a unique alchemy between us and I know how special that is.”

But she reserved a special message for the real Marcia Clark, who was Paulson’s plus-one for the evening. “The responsibility of playing a real person is an enormous one,” Paulson said. “You want to get it right not for you, but for them.” She announced to the crowd that she’d underestimated Clark at the time of the trial: “I had to recognize that I had been superficial and careless in my judgment.” She looked to Clark: “I’m proud to be able to stand here today in front of everyone and tell you I’m sorry.”