Tatiana Maslany of ‘Orphan Black’ Could Shake Up Emmys

Tatiana Maslany Orphan Black Emmys

Actress is Emmy-worthy, but will voters notice?

Pretty much anyone who has watched Tatiana Maslany’s work in BBC America’s “Orphan Black” comes away with the same question.

How do we get Maslany to the Emmys?

Saturday’s season finale of “Orphan” put that piece of wonderment in bold, certifying that Maslany had taken what easily could have been a gimmick – one actress playing several clones – and turned it into an acting tour de force.

The biggest hurdle Maslany has to overcome might not be the competition as much as the need for more exposure. Though acting nominations for the network aren’t unheard of (Idris Elba has picked up miniseries acting nods the past two years for the cabler’s “Luther”), BBC America operates on the outskirts of Emmytown. Average overnight audience totals for each episode of “Orphan” have been below half a million.

Of last year’s lead drama actress nominees, Elisabeth Moss (“Mad Men”), Julianna Marguiles (“The Good Wife”) and defending champ Claire Danes (“Homeland”) are the safest bets to return. Still, there are spots available for Maslany. Kathy Bates is ineligible following the cancelation of “Harry’s Law” a year ago, and it’s questionable whether Michelle Dockery of “Downton Abbey” can make it back with a season in which she was far less central to the show’s plot than in 2012. Your guess is as good as mine on Glenn Close (“Damages”) – the show is yesterday’s news, but then again, it’s Glenn Close.

Kerry Washington of “Scandal” and Robin Wright of “House of Cards” line up as leading possibilities to take any available openings, with Connie Britton (“Nashville”), Vera Farmiga (“Bates Motel”), Emmy Rossum (“Shameless”) and Keri Russell (“The Americans”) among those also lurking. That’s a formidable list, but honestly, the primary issue for Maslany still remains Academy viewership, because her performance remains unbelievably dynamic.

“Maslany only grew more impressive as she played the various clones — and, frequently, had to play one clone impersonating another,” wrote Alan Sepinwall of What’s Alan Watching following Saturday’s season-ender. “It’s a great performance not just because you can tell each character from each other, but because several of the characters are so compelling that Maslany would be a knockout even if she was only playing one of them.”

Sepinwall went on to say that Maslany has “no hope” of an Emmy nomination, but however naively, I’m not ready to concede the point. Maslany’s performance has been gaining an increasing amount of buzz, and BBC America seems to recognize that, putting some promotional muscle behind it with such gambits as a banner flying over Los Angeles on Friday touting her candidacy. And though it’s not exactly the Emmys, it doesn’t hurt that the summer’s first TV awards show, the Critics’ Choice Television Awards, nominated the following for lead drama actress honors: Danes, Marguiles, Moss, Farmiga, Russell … and Maslany. She is on the map.

There are nearly four weeks before the June 28 due date for TV Academy nomination ballots. Enough time to make voters aware? We’ll see. If you look back at the history of lead acting nominations at the Emmys, you won’t find one that matches Maslany’s profile – even Louis C.K. and FX’s “Louie,” for example, had wider exposure. But in an ever-changing TV universe, the old precedents might not apply for long.

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  1. Ron says:

    Well, she won that Critics Choice Award recently so maybe, just maybe, enough buzz will be created to garner her the nomination. Her performance was absolutely stunning and far outstripped her previous turns. This is a young actress who could have stumbled, fallen, or parodied the role(s) but managed to dig deep and find consistent and compelling takes on all versions she was asked to attempt. Most amazing was her ability to portray one clone impersonating another clone is such a way as you just knew that it was clone 1 impersonating clone 2 and not the actress just redoing clone 2. No matter what happens during the awards process this is an actress that cannot be ignored and I look forward to season 2. She is on my “must watch” list now for whatever future projects she embraces…studios, take note of this girl!

  2. ReginaFan says:

    I was looking forward to seeing this series out of support for and curiosity about the local girl moving up in the world. With each episode I was more and more blown away by Tatiana’s incredible performances. She absolutely deserves any and all nominations that come her way – and to win of course. (Jordan Gavaris is fantastic too).

  3. Tblackwell says:

    She is unbelievable….5*

  4. Scott DayOH says:

    My wife in only a mild fan of SciFi shows and even less a fan of those that are the slightest creepy. Then came along Orphan Black. I watched the first episode and told her to watch it, she did with a little skepticism. After that, each week she was badgering ME to catch up to her so we could talk about the show. My wife is pregnant and one of the names we had on the list was “Helena”…. but now, we don’t want our oldest daughter called “Seeeeester” – Amazing portrayal of so many characters, Tatiana Maslany deserves a nod. Period.

  5. Robert Gertz says:

    Emmy, do the decent thing and let Ms M sweep. Remember Barbara Stanwyck’s class A speech praising Ann Margaret’s performance and try to equal it. Ms. M gave the standout performance of this year, no question and I love Elisabeth Moss and others..

  6. Amy says:

    She’s amazing! I’ve never been this sucked-in to a show!

  7. Heidi says:

    How do we help create more buzz? She is fantastic and should be nominated and should WIN!!

  8. Nancy says:

    Tatiana’s performance is mesmerizing! What a super star…….but definitely an Emmy candidate!!!

  9. Titania is amazing. You see actors putting on accents for the role they are on but she IS all these other people, Everyone is a different personality, has a different life. She makes you love, hate fear.My favorite is Allison, Please do not let anything happen to her. BBCA thank you for Titania. An EMMy most definitely.Put her face and the show forward. Publicize every where.

  10. akimmage says:

    Tatiana’s performance was amazing. I rarely ever get hooked to new shows, this was my exception. A phenomenal actress made Orphan Black an absolute hit. The concept was new and could have been, well, cheesy especially with a sci fi plot. But Tatiana makes you believe every character, honestly when watching her as Cosima and Helena I sometimes forget that Tatiana is actually all the characters. I truly think her performance was Emmy worthy and I do hope that BBCA publicizes her and the show.

  11. 324B21 says:

    ACTING right there! All the awards!

  12. Steverman says:

    Every one of her roles on the show are superb, nuanced, and memorable. She has come from nowhere to the forefront in a single season. BBCA needs to get her on every talk show there is: Ferguson, Fallon, Kimmel, Handler. Get her out there now.

  13. Kirstie says:

    Wouldn’t it be fantastic if the Emmys actually nominated someone who wasn’t completely obvious and overexposed, but more than deserving. The Oscars love to nominate rising stars the Emmys should do the same.

  14. Barbara Green says:

    Tatiana is superb. She deserves every award out there. Wonderful and fascinating series.

  15. Shirley Chant says:

    Love the show and Tatiana is incredibly talented.I don’t normally like sci-fi shows but this one has me hooked.Can’t wait until the new season begins.

  16. nedloh3 says:

    Is there anything a viewer can do to help her? I am the laziest person around but I’m blown away by her performance and would join any endeavor to get Tatiana nominated. She gets nominated, she wins btw.

  17. Maslany deserves the Emmy for an unreal performance.

  18. OnProzac says:

    It’s been a while since I fell in love with a series and the lead actor, wholeheartedly. We’re so often used to seeing the similar sort of actors, with the similar sorts of acting and expressions, that sometimes, can’t help but wonder if we have an option to watch anything else. But then comes Orphan Black, Maslany and the entire team! I really really hope and pray that BBC America advertises Maslany and the show as much as possible. The show coming on BBC Three in UK should be a boost too. But seeing the way Maslany has enacted the many different versions of her character and creating characters of their own; for the amount of dedication and hard work that went into creating this bit of history, I really pray that she gets an Emmy.

  19. PittsRu2 says:

    Maslany should be nominated as starring actress (Sarah), supporting actress (Allison, Helena & Kosima), and Guest star (Beth, the German & the boss clone). What more can you ask of one person! She was amazing and kept your head spinning. What fun she had messing with our heads.

  20. Meredith says:

    I am watching the whole series this weekend and I just marvel at her performances. I often have to remind myself that they all look alike because she endows each character with such a distinct personality that each one becomes a complete individual. This is indeed what acting is all about.

  21. What they all said, and any superlatives you might want to add. You know how you get Maslany to the Emmys? Keep talking about her. BBC America should send her out to do some press with the Blu-Ray release.

  22. supertech14 says:

    She deserves an Emmy nod for sure. She was excellent as were the rest of the cast. Not only did I frequently forget it was the same actress playing all the clones, but when she would impersonate another clone-I would think what a great job she did. Then remember it’s the actress impersonating herself. Mind Blown!

  23. Harbharb says:

    If Maslany doesn’t receive a nomination this year then buzz about the show will make it more likely she’s nominated next year.

  24. 324B21 says:

    Gillian Anderson won an Emmy and a Golden Globe when she played Dana Scully on “The X-Files”. so i have my fingers crossed for Tatiana Maslany.

  25. Hey...HEY! says:

    Tatiana Maslany definitely deserves an Emmy nod. She probably won’t get it because the Emmy’s tend to be behind the curve when it comes to rewarding genre and non-mainstream roles. She could get a Golden Globe nod, though as Orphan Black is a non-U.S. production and she plays multiple foreign characters.

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