You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Margo Martindale Talks Emmy Wins for ‘Justified,’ ‘The Americans’

It’s a simple equation: FX + Margo Martindale = Emmys. The veteran character actress won her first Emmy at the tender age of 60 for a scene-stealing supporting turn on the second season of “Justified.” Four years later she followed up with a guest star win for “The Americans” after two prior nominations. She returned to “Americans” this year and recurred for over half of the final season of CBS’ “The Good Wife.” Next up she’s filming the first season of Amazon’s “Sneaky Pete,” reuniting her with “Justified” showrunner [and “Americans” exec producer] Graham Yost.

Had you ever been to the Emmys before you won?
Never. I was a complete virgin at 60. It made it beyond exciting, just coming off that fabulous part, it was such an incredible ride. Everything was kind of just perfect — I don’t know it’ll ever be like that again — because it was my 60th year, and I had been working in this business for 100,000 years. It was like I flew on an airplane for a year.

Two years before Jennifer Lawrence tripped on the way to collect her Oscar, you tripped on the way to the Emmy.
I got there first and a lot bigger. [Laughs] Those steps aren’t easy, I’m surprised more people don’t fall. I’d like people to just start falling so they’ll put a damn rail up there. But I wasn’t flustered, I didn’t care. I would’ve crawled if I had to. I would’ve, no kidding. I would’ve gone on all fours up those stairs. I kind of wish that had happened.

What was going through your mind on stage?
You start shaking because your adrenaline is shot into the heavens. I tried to take it in and think of all the years that I’d been going at this. Whatever came out of my mouth was organic.

You did thank John Landgraf. You’ve had a charmed run with FX, winning two Emmys.
And my first series as a regular was [FX drama] “The Riches.” John Landgraf I’m crazy about him. He’s an interesting and deeply thoughtful man. I think he has a great eye for programming. It’s not all on the nose, that’s certainly where I belong.

How much did “Justified” change your career?
At many times in my career I thought I was at a turning point. But that was a major turn. It was the first time I got to build something on television that had such a great arc. There are many, many actors who have the ability and the talent given the opportunity. I was given this opportunity with this incredible part that fit me perfectly. I could use all of my insanity and originality in it. I didn’t have to march to anybody else’s drum because it was so off the center.

It looked like you had a lot of fun on “The Good Wife.”
I had a blast. That was like a luxury job. That pot has been cookin’ for a long time and it was easy to step into. It does the best area of comedy I do, comedy and drama together.

Despite your wins, both “The Americans” and “Justified” have had little Emmy attention. How does that happen?
I just find that insane. I don’t understand that for either of those shows. Timothy [Olyphant] and Walton [Goggins] at least were recognized in nominations. Keri [Russell] and Matthew [Rhys], who are brilliant, and all the people on “The Americans” never have. And that show. I think it’s sensational. I don’t get it. I know it seems that it’s very hard, in my experience, to get recognition if you’ve not been recognized before. I was fortunate I think because that part on “Justified” was so unique — a female villain, older, smart, and weird — everything came together. It’s a hard thing to break through. I see these incredible performances and I go, “What is wrong?”

More TV

  • ‘Hitsville: The Making of Motown’ Acquired

    ‘Hitsville: The Making of Motown’ Acquired by Showtime for U.S.

    Polygram Entertainment, Universal Music Group’s film and television division, along with Capitol Music Group, Motown Records and Fulwell 73 announced today that “Hitville: The Making of Motown” has been acquired by Showtime for release in North America with plans for a fall premiere, and Altitude for theatrical release in the UK and Ireland. The feature-length [...]

  • Game of Thrones Cast

    What's Next for 'Game of Thrones'' Cast Members

    Eight years and eight seasons later, the “Game of Thrones” cast finally has some downtime to relax or move onto other projects. Some stars, like Kit Harington, who told Variety that he doesn’t plan on taking another role as physically demanding as Jon Snow, certainly deserve a break, but others have wasted no time getting back on [...]

  • 'Fleabag' Season 2 Review: How Its

    'Fleabag': Season 2’s Top 10 Breaks From Reality, Ranked (Column)

    The searing first season of “Fleabag” felt like a complete story in and of itself. As adapted from Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s one-woman show, the series expanded on the world of a woman wild with lust and grief with such expert ease that by the time it ended, even Waller-Bridge herself was sure that it was the [...]

  • Richard Madden Says 'Game of Thrones'

    Richard Madden Says the 'Game of Thrones' Cast Deserves a Medal

    Richard Madden is thankful for his time on “Game of Thrones,” but is also happy to have been able to move on when he did. The “Bodyguard” star sat down with “Sharper Objects'” Amy Adams for Variety’s Actors on Actors, where he expressed some incredulity at the idea of spending so long with just one [...]

  • MEET THE PRESS -- Pictured: (l-r)

    Submissions Now Welcome for Third 'Meet the Press' Film Festival

    Chuck Todd’s quest to bring “Meet the Press” to the movies continues. The third annual Meet the Press Film Festival, held in collaboration with the American Film Institute, will take place on October 6 and 7 in Washington, D.C., and remains a haven for issue-focused documentary shorts. Todd believes the event serves a critical mission: [...]

  • Winner of the 2019 Eurovision Song

    Netherlands' Duncan Laurence Wins 2019 Eurovision Song Contest

    Madonna’s controversial performance may have grabbed the headlines, but Duncan Laurence won the nearly four-hour-long 2019 Eurovision Song Contest for the Netherlands with the song “Arcade,” which he cowrote with Joel Sjöö and Wouter Hardy. Laurence won a total of 492 points from the expert juries and televoters in a contest that was touch and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content