Snubbed “Orphan Black” Star Deserves Just as Much Emmy Love as AHS Actresses

Treva Bowdoin | Jul 17, 2014

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Tatiana Maslany got snubbed by the Emmys for a second time, and it didn’t take long for people to take to the Internet to share their outrage about this. However, “Orphan Black” fans weren’t the only ones who reacted strongly to Tatiana’s snub for a nomination in the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series category. A surprisingly large number of entertainment websites also acknowledged that she got robbed, followed by speculation about why she got snubbed.

One popular claim was that “Orphan Black” keeps getting overlooked because it’s a genre show. Fantasy, horror, and sci-fi series often get overlooked at the Emmy Awards, after all. However, this is a silly argument to make during a year when “Game of Thrones” walked away with the most nominations (19) and “American Horror Story: Coven” wasn’t too far behind with 17 nods. Maybe all “Orphan Black” needs to get a little more Emmy love is buckets of blood.

“American Horror Story: Coven” stars Sarah Paulson and Jessica Lange both scored nominations in the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie category. Apparently members of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences don’t have a problem with a genre show that features a talking severed head and a sex scene involving a Minotaur, but a show about clones is just a tad too out there for their (terrible) tastes.

Yes, Paulson and Lange are in a less competitive Emmy category than Maslany, but I’m using “American Horror Story” for comparison purposes because it’s the Emmy-nominated show “Orphan Black” has the most in common with. They’re both genre shows with strong female leads and they both feature actress who play more than one character. The big difference is Lange and Paulson get the luxury of playing just one character per season, while Maslany usually plays five or more characters with wildly different personalities per episode. Sometimes she even has to play clones posing as other clones and she does such an incredible job that you start to forget you’re watching one person play these different characters.

The two series also share a similar wicked sense of humor. Tell me this doesn’t sound like a scene straight out of Ryan Murphy’s twisted mind: a couple reignites the spark in their marriage by burying a dead body in their garage and having sex on top of the freezer the corpse was temporarily stored in. However, this was all “Orphan Black.”

Murphy probably wishes he thought of the clone thing first. It’s great that Paulson and Lange can perform the Seven Wonders, but they haven’t wowed viewers by playing seven different people. It’s depressing that Maslany is one of the hardest working actress in the TV industry, and the industry is just ignoring her (how many clones does she have to play to get the Academy’s attention?). To give you an idea of just how tough it is to be in Maslany shoes, here’s a little “Orphan Black” trivia: She told “Entertainment Weekly” it took her two days to shoot the Clone Club dance party from the season two finale. And she was only playing four clones in that epic scene.

Paulson or Lange would most certainly score Emmy nods if they were members of their own Clone Clubs. Interestingly enough, Paulson is doing something similar by playing conjoined twins next year on “American Horror Story: Freak Show.” It’s really going to sting if she gets nominated next year and Maslany does not.

Maybe “Orphan Black” would have received an Emmy accolade or two if it had fashioned itself as a miniseries like “American Horror Story.” It could have focused on an individual clone each season instead of bringing them all together to form a “Clone Club.” But where’s the fun in that?

It’s just a shame the show couldn’t submit Maslany’s name in the Lead Actress and Supporting Actress categories; I think she deserves a statuette in both. You could even argue that she should have scored an Emmy nod in the Guest Actress category for playing transgender clone Tony (Murphy is definitely beating himself up for not thinking of having one of his actresses play a man). Now that nomination would have been a moment deserving of another “Holy Tilda Swinton!” from “sister kisser” Felix.

Fans of “Orphan Black” might be upset, but at least they can take comfort in knowing that their awesome show has been renewed for a third season. The Clone Club just needs to start scheming now so they can come up with a plan for how to get their hands on an Emmy next year. Perhaps “Orphan Black” should try upping the comedy quotient (by giving Felix and Helena more screen time) and pulling a “Shameless” by switching to the comedy category. Or Rachel could tell Helena that Emmys are edible.

The “Orphan Black” delicious reaction on Twitter was, “Tatiana Maslany is trending worldwide! Related news: Helena believes awards are made of chocolate. Hide all statuettes. #EmmyForMaslany.”

Sadly, it’s tough for shows to score Emmy nominations if the Academy doesn’t notice them from the start, so voters might not right their egregious wrong next year. But at least Maslany is getting some recognition for her amazing body (bodies?) of work with her Critics’ Choice Award.

Fans will just have to take pride in knowing they know something the Academy doesn’t, and they can be happy that their outrage managed to thrust “Orphan Black” into the spotlight.

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Photo: BBC
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