Felicity Huffman has officially scored a hat trick at ABC. From “Sports Night” to “Desperate Housewives” to her recent turn on limited series “American Crime,” Huffman has had critics and viewers raving in wildly diverse roles. She picked up an Emmy in 2005 for the first season of “Housewives,” and one of the joys of that night was sharing it with her husband — and fellow Emmy winner — William H. Macy.
What do you remember about day you won?
What was exciting was Bill and I got a hotel room — my kids were 2 and 3 at the time — which meant we could sleep in a little bit. I didn’t know how to get a dress, no one really wanted to dress me. Kevin Hall came out and said, “I’ll give you a dress” and very kindly the costumer from “Desperate Housewives” came. I liked my dress but I was sitting there in hair and makeup thinking, “There’s not a chance in hell I’m gonna win a comedy award. I feel about as funny as anthrax. I wish I could just be in this hotel room with my husband and order room service and get in our pajamas.” I was just so tired from being a mom.
Did you prepare a speech just in case?
I remember my husband came in and said, “Have you thought of anything to say?” And I said, “Oh, honey, no, I’m not gonna win.” He said, “Well, you’ve got a one in five chance. What’s really bad is when you stand up there and you’ve got nothing to say.” So I sat there, and in my mind I came up with what I said about Bill taking me out to a pasture. Part of it was, “Boy, who knew that that girl — who was a such a dork — would be here today?”
He won an Emmy just two years before. How did that experience compare?
The year he won for “Door to Door” was so great, because what I remember is the room erupted. I don’t know if he could hear it because there’s this weird thing that happens when they call your name — you’re immediately propelled into a parallel universe, like, “This can’t be happening.” The awards really aren’t important and don’t mean anything, until you win one and then they’re infinitely sage. What I loved is that people appreciated and loved Bill and in that moment got to celebrate him.
You mentioned your surprise at winning a comedy award, but you also had a successful run on “Sports Night.”
I don’t think of myself as a comedic actress at all. It’s such a direct line, as I said in the [Emmy acceptance] speech, David Mamet was nice enough to cast me [on stage]. Aaron Sorkin was nice enough to come and see the shows, and I got that part on “Sports Night.” It’s the writing. I’m not one of those people that can make it funny if it’s not funny. As a matter of fact I’m one of those people who if it’s written funny I can actually kill it. I try not to get in the way of the joke.
Has the ceremony changed at all for you over the years?
No, I like going. I like seeing my pals. I think it’s cool to celebrate television because I love television. I think it’s a wonderful, communal, brave art form now. We’re in the golden age. It’s too bad it’s a competition, but I guess that’s what makes it exciting. Comparing art is kind of the antithesis of art, but it’s showbiz, not show-art, so there you are. I like celebrating our business. Some people go, “Don’t we celebrate ourselves too much?” And I ask, “For whom?”
When you’re proud of a project like “American Crime,” do you hope it gets that kind of awards attention?
I hope that the show gets that kind of attention and that John Ridley gets that kind of attention, or indeed ABC gets that kind of attention. That’s a baller move, to put “American Crime” on network. I hope it gets the attention to acknowledge that, so more of that kind of work can happen. In much the same way with “Desperate Housewives,” it got all of that attention and suddenly women in their 40s on TV were viable. They make money.