Sandra Oh just became the first Asian actress to earn an Emmy nomination for a lead role, and finally

Sandra Oh just made Hollywood history. The Grey’s Anatomy alum is now the first Asian actress to earn an Emmy nomination for Lead Actress in a Drama Series. And yes, we are all freaking out. Oh is nominated for her role as agent Eve Polastri in BBC America’s breakout spy drama, Killing Eve.

Nominations for the 70th annual Emmy Awards were announced early Thursday morning, July 12th. Along with Oh, actresses vying for the lead actress category include Elisabeth Moss (The Handmaid’s Tale), Claire Foy (The Crown), Evan Rachel Wood (Westworld), Keri Russell (The Americans), and Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black).

Oh’s nomination for lead actress isn’t her first Emmy nomination, but it’s certainly the most noteworthy.

Sandra has garnered five Emmy nominations in the past for best supporting actress for her role as Cristina Yang in Grey’s Anatomy. Her historical nomination in a lead category comes at a pivotal time in Hollywood, as Asians grapple with a deep lack of representation in media. In a series of interviews following the success of Killing Eve, Oh spoke about this extensively. In an interview with Elle, Oh revealed the heartbreak of not being given the opportunity to have substantial roles. With the role of Eve Polastri, Oh had no idea she was up for the lead role due to a deep internalization of Asian representation.

“That was actually one of the heartbreaking things for me," she told Elle. I realized in that moment how deep the internalization was. I’ve done a lot of work, I’ve worked consistently; and in that moment, 30 years into working this industry, it really rocked me. 

She added: “That is how challenging it is: It’s not just, ‘I can’t get a audition,’ because that’s true, but it’s also internal. That’s still the dragon that I am trying to mount and ride.”

We are so excited for Oh’s nomination. But also, why did it take so damn long for this representation? The first Asian actress in a lead role? Do better, Hollywood.

Twitter was understandably stoked about Sandra’s groundbreaking nomination.


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The 70th Primetime Emmy Awards will air September 17th on NBC.

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