In a historic and celebrated moment, Korean-Canadian actress Sandra Oh received a nomination for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her work in crime drama series, Killing Eve. Oh, who plays the titular character, an MI5 agent that tracks a serial killer who in turn becomes obsessed by her, is the first Asian woman to ever receive the honor of a leading actress nomination.
Oh’s previous work includes 10 years on the hit medical drama Grey’s Anatomy as the sardonic, confident, and driven Dr. Cristina Yang, who finds herself at the center of controversy when she becomes romantically involved with numerous surgeons. Oh received five Supporting Actress Emmy nominations and a Golden Globe for her portrayal.
For decades, Oh has performed in films, plays, TV shows, and VO, including The Princess Diaries, Under the Tuscan Sun, Sideways, Wilby Wonderful, Double Happiness, and Stop Kiss.
The lack of Asian roles and blatant whitewashing of stories and narratives has long been a problem in the entertainment industry.
Oh admits that the glaring absence of leading role offers she saw over the years felt “heartbreaking” at times. While her success in Killing Eve is something worth cherishing, many feel upset that it took so long for Asian women to have their talents recognized.
In a statement to the Los Angeles Times. Oh declared, “I am happy in this present moment. Now, let’s move it forward. It’s a long game. Let this be a moment where some girl who is 12 and Thai-American can look at her Instagram and say, ‘Huh, that can be me.’ Let this be a moment where she can believe in herself.”
She also took a photo of her own shocked reaction.
— Sandra Oh (@IamSandraOh) July 12, 2018
Social media lit up with congratulations and appreciation for Oh, including love from fellow Asians, fans, and her Grey’s Anatomy family.
— Ellen Pompeo (@EllenPompeo) July 13, 2018
Now where is Sandra Oh’s retroactive Oscar nom for The Princess Diaries????!!!!!
— taylor trensch (@taytrensch) July 12, 2018
SANDRA OH MAKING HISTORY FIRST ASIAN AMERICAN WOMAN TO BE NOMINATED FOR AN EMMY 🙏🙏🙏🙏🚨🚨🚨🚨👑👑👑👑❤️❤️❤️❤️🔥🔥🔥🔥
— AWKWAFINA (@awkwafina) July 12, 2018
The fact that it took until 2018 for this to happen is insane. FINALLY. https://t.co/jvGKR34Hzd
— Hayley Kiyoko (@HayleyKiyoko) July 13, 2018
Our hearts are also bursting with pride and excitement for Sandra Oh, making history as the first woman of Asian descent to be nominated for Lead Actress in a Drama Series! #Emmys #Shondaland pic.twitter.com/wrTGE8gKBK
— Shondaland (@byshondaland) July 12, 2018
Amazing !!!!! So much love ! Xoxo https://t.co/3eHh5qYQty
— Kevin McKidd (@TheRealKMcKidd) July 12, 2018