Call it Emmy season justice. After being overlooked for two seasons by TV Academy voters, Canadian thesp Tatiana Maslany finally notched an Emmy lead drama actress nomination for her turn as various clones on the dystopian future BBC America show Orphan Black. Prior to today, award pundits as well as TV Academy members continually smacked their foreheads over Maslany being left out of the race.
Maslany faces off this season in the category against Viola Davis (How To Get Away With Murder), Taraji P. Henson (Empire), Claire Danes (Homeland), Robin Wright (House of Cards) and Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men). In the last year, she has logged a TV drama actress nod at both the Golden Globes and SAG. The Critics Choice TV Awards have been ahead of the curve, giving her back-to-back best actress trophies in 2013 and 2014.
Orphan Black, which debuted on March 30, 2013, follows con artist Sarah Manning, who after witnessing the suicide of one of her clones, takes over its identity, Elizabeth Childs. One Emmy-nominated dramatic actress even admitted to me off the record last August that she was bowled over by Maslany’s finesse in wig-swapping admitting, “I should be losing to her.”
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At last year’s Comic-Con for Orphan Black, what was immediately apparent was that the BBC America series hit a nerve with a number of teenagers and young twentysomething; people who felt lost, misidentified or out of place in their lives. It wasn’t uncommon at that session to see a young girl completely breaking down before Maslany and the creators at the mic, expressing how moved they were by the show.
Maslany told Deadline today about Orphan Black‘s positive impact, “The clones are outsiders who don’t fit in society. That makes for interesting television, and for people who are on the fringe of society, they’re very relatable characters. The clones aren’t cookie-cutter. They’re complex and difficult people. The show’s fans have never seen themselves reflected on TV and they’re encouraged to be themselves.”
In moving a progressive social agenda, Orphan Black isn’t that far from the the inclusive themes of Orange Is The New Black, Transparent and even Modern Family. Maslany says creators John Fawcett and Graeme Manson are “aware of how socially conscious the show is, and continue to challenge and probe interesting stories that you don’t see everyday and let people have a voice, but don’t want to be precious about it.”
When the conversation turned to Caitlyn Jenner in the news, Maslany praised her bravery as well as Laverne Cox’s amazing strides in getting the conversation about transgenders and transvestites out in the open. “This (topic) will become more un-special and it will become part of the fabric of our stories and moviemaking,” said Maslany.
This season, Maslany’s identicals — Sarah, Cosima, Alison and Helena — bond closer than ever as they face the threatening rise of male clone soldiers. The actress told Awardsline that her takeaway scene from the season three finale was a dinner sequence, which involved a lot of blocking as it included most of her clones. In addition, there was an emotional scene between Delphine, a scientist who falls for Maslany’s clone, Cosima. The actress said in June that what struck her about the interlude was that, “There’s something unspoken happening between them, and we don’t really know what’s going on with Delphine, and we don’t really know if Cosima is sensing something deeper than what’s going on.”
Speaking briefly about season 4, Maslany mentioned that “There might be a reset of where we started. John and Graeme have talked about going back to season one where the conspiracy started.”
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