Let the record show: "Crazy Eyes" is crazy inspiring.
Uzo Aduba scored a nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy, and her show, Orange Is the New Black, scored a nod for Outstanding Comedy series.
It was a thrilling morning—especially because she just so happened to be announcing the nominees, and because those sneaky Academy peeps left her name and OITNB off the list during rehearsals, so she'd be surprised. But even more so because of what Uzo believes demonstrates a real shift in who's included in the Emmy nominees.
"I'm really glad to see that room and the space in this country and in television has been carved out where… Today felt to me like, ‘All are welcome,' she told me after the nominations.
Viola Davis and Taraji P. Henson made history this morning by becoming the first two African American actresses to be nominated at the same time in the same category—and if they win, it will be the first time a black actress has won for Actress in a Drama. In all of Emmy history.
"I would love it [if one of them won]," Aduba told me, "not exclusively for that reason. They are women who are deserving. Their talent aligns with people who happen to be of color. I mean Viola Davis, I have seen her in every medium that she has done. Taraji P Henson who is a beast on Empire. These are two incredibly qualified actors, the entire category as well, I mean how can we not forget Robin Wright, how can we forget her. But it's a category of wonderfully gifted actors who I'm thankful that we are recognizing them."
Aduba also had some powerful things to say about the power and courage of her show Orange Is the New Black, and how it has helped viewers to see people from all walks of life in different ways.
"You start to realize, ‘Oh wow, I have a lot in common with these characters,'" Aduba explained, "and that unexpected piece is really what people are latching onto as an audience. These people as being other, and outside of themselves, they actually have a lot in common. I know what it's like to be a mother, a daughter, going head to head, I know what it's like to feel disconnected from my husband. And you start to just realize that they are just people, and we're just telling human stories. And that's what I think is the brilliance of Jenji [Kohan]'s writing and what she has done.
"When I actually think about what TV is now versus when Jenji created our show, I think the courage that must have been there. I don't know where she found it. Because she was choosing to tell a story at a time when nothing like this existed and that was a brave thing to do. And to want to do it in a way that keeps the integrity and the dignity of these women. And not comment on them. I'm just thankful ."
See what else Uzo Aduba had to say by pressing play above!