An Asian woman has never been nominated for a lead actress Emmy in a drama series in the award show's 69-year history — until today. And not only that, she's Asian-Canadian.
Sandra Oh received the honour on Thursday for her starring role in the critically acclaimed series "Killing Eve."
"I'm struggling to find the right words for it," the Ottawa-born actress told the Hollywood Reporter in reaction to the news. "I feel quite serious about it. What's a blend of the words 'seriousness' and 'joyous'? I'm absolutely thrilled. I feel my community at all times; I am my community at all times. I have joy not only for the show and myself and family, but also for my community. Hopefully my community can feel like they have representation as well."
Hollywood is known for typecasting people of colour, or not casting them at all, which is what makes Oh's leading role in the crime drama even more significant. The Korean-Canadian actress plays an MI5 spy named Eve Polastri, who was originally a white character in the book series by Luke Jennings.
Since the series premiered in April, fans have praised Oh's representation of what it means to be Asian in the western world.
Killing Eve has filled the void in my heart about Asian-western representation. That a lead can be an Asian actress without harmful beauty standards or caricatured cultural references or colored hair to be interesting/considered Asian. Strength in her own chara is all Eve needs.— KOHI ‼️ Supercon L04 (@kohichapps) June 10, 2018
You guys! I finally watched the most recent ep of @KillingEve and OMG @IamSandraOh is killing it. If you haven't been watching, you're missing out, watch it now! Brilliant story telling, tension building. Fabulous acting. Also, representation. 👊🏽 Rock on! #killingeve #SandraOh— StephanieHuangPorter (@QueenScarlett) May 8, 2018
Killing Eve turns out to be a very authentic representation of how it feels to be in lesbian relationships in 2018— riese (@autowin) May 28, 2018
Her Emmy nomination comes just months after she shared a sweet Instagram photo of her "Proud #immigrantparents" standing in front of a billboard for "Killing Eve."
The 46-year-old is the only child in her family who chose a creative profession. Her sister is a lawyer and her brother is a medical geneticist, according to Vanity Fair. So in addition to fighting against racism in Hollywood throughout her career, Oh struggled with the pressures of meeting her parents' expectations of success.
"I think when you come from an immigrant background, there is a lot of weight and responsibility and guilt to fulfill your parents' desires because they have sacrificed so much for you," Oh explained to CBC News in June.
While it might have taken her 30 years to finally say she's made it with her parents, there's no denying she's been a mainstay in the industry for years.
After getting her big break in the Canadian TV movie "The Diary of Evelyn Lau," the actress went on to star in a number of Canadian films, such as "The Red Violin," "Double Happiness," "Last Night" and the recent "Meditation Park."
Besides playing Polastri on "Killing Eve," Oh's most well-known role to date is Dr. Cristina Yang on "Grey's Anatomy" from 2005 to 2014.
While Oh received five supporting actress Emmys for that role, there's no denying her latest nomination holds special meaning. And we reckon her parents are smiling even wider now, too.