Sarah Paulson shares she was surprised she got an Emmy nomination for her role in the recent season of American Crime Story. The actress, with nearly 30 years in the film industry, is prominently known for her work with Ryan Murphy—the man behind many popular series, including Glee, American Horror Story, Scream Queens, American Crime Story, Pose, and Ratched. Paulson began working with Murphy in 2011, guest appearing in American Horror Story‘s first season, “Murder House.” She has since been in every AHS season, except “1984,” the series’ ninth. Amongst her time on American Horror Story, she also starred in the first season of American Crime Story, “The People v. O.J. Simpson,” as well as the third season, “Impeachment.” She’s also appeared in the first season of Feud, “Bette and Joan,” and starred as the titular character in Ratched.
Last month, the nominations for this year’s Primetime Emmy Awards were announced. Paulson received a nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie for her role as Linda Tripp, in the latest American Crime Story season, “Impeachment,” which aired last fall. This recognition marked Paulson’s eighth Emmy nomination; her first was 10 years ago, for her role in HBO’s Game Change. It is also the second Emmy nomination she’s received for American Crime Story—the first being for the series’ first season, “The People v. O.J. Simpson,” in which she portrayed Marcia Clark, the real life prosecutor. She went on to win that Emmy.
Now in a recent interview with Variety, Paulson reveals she was surprised she received an Emmy nomination for her role as Linda Tripp in American Crime Story: Impeachment. She compared this Emmy nod to her previous one for the same series, explaining how it was clear how people reacted to the first season, whereas with this third season, reactions have been divided. Read Paulson’s quote below:
Paulson went on to explain that this nomination feels like her peers are commending her for her bravery in taking on the role because, in her words, “when you do that you always run the risk of people going, ‘No, thanks.’” Indeed, it can be deduced that playing a real life, controversial political figure is difficult and daring. Paulson has opened up about how the role of Linda Tripp felt impossible for her, but because she often tries to do things that seem impossible, it drew her in. Additionally, as she noted in this recent interview, “Impeachment” as a whole didn’t receive the kind of outpouring of love “The People v. O.J. Simpson,” instead garnering mixed reviews, with even Paulson, herself, receiving criticism. So, it’s quite understandable she was shocked to receive this Emmy nod.
Still, while critics and audiences didn’t come to a clear consensus on this third season, members of the Television Academy did, as they gave four other nominations to the season, in addition to Paulson’s. So perhaps Paulson’s thinking is on the right track: her peers in the entertainment industry understood and deemed commendable her performance and the season, while the general reception wasn’t particularly well-received. In any case, given her history as an actress, along with tenacity to tackle impossible roles, she was an ideal choice to play the controversial Linda Tripp in American Crime Story: Impeachment. And though Paulson received an unfair bout of criticism for her performance in the role, her work is finally being understood and paying off, with this Emmy nomination.
Next: American Horror Story: The True Story Behind Sarah Paulson’s Casting