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Joanne Froggatt on Her Emmy Nomination, Divisive Downton Abbey Story and Celebrating With Girls

Joanne Froggatt Jason Kempin/Getty Images

The cast of Downton Abbey has reason to celebrate both upstairs and downstairs with a bevy of Emmy nominations. Among those nominations was a nod for Joanne Froggatt for playing Anna Bates.

Froggatt was previously nominated in 2012, but was absent from the 2013 list. However, this year saw her character go through a harrowing ordeal, a sexual assault, and struggle with the aftermath. E! News caught up with the "thrilled" actress to discuss the nomination, the reaction to her storyline and how she'll celebrate the big honor. Hint: Lena Dunham has something to do with it.

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Congratulations!
Thank you, thank you very much. I'm super excited.

Have you heard from your costars who are also nominated?
We've been texting and emailing each other, I've pretty much been on the phone since I found out, but yes, in between calls we're sort of texting each other very excited messages. I can't wait to actually get to speak to people in person.

How do you plan on celebrating?
I don't know, I'm not sure. I haven't thought that far ahead yet. My husband asked, "Should we go out for dinner or just open a bottle of wine and watch Girls?" One or the other. [Laughs.]

MORE: Emmy nominees react to the news

Michelle Dockery, Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey Nick Briggs/Carnival Film and Television Limited 2013 for MASTERPIECE

Either one sounds like a good way to celebrate. Your storyline this year had quite a bit of fan reaction. Do you think that's what brought you back to the forefront for the Television Academy?
Well, obviously I had a very dramatic storyline in season four, so I had very dramatic scenes to play. I think Anna in season three, her storylines, they weren't as at the forefront of the show as they had been in the series two and again in season four. With a show like Downton, it's an ensemble and that's how an ensemble works. Sometimes you're supporting and sometimes you're leading a storyline and we all take it in turn as a team. I'm just over the moon to be recognized as a nominee again and to have this experience for a second time is amazing.

What did you make of the reaction to your storyline? It seemed a little different in the U.K. and in the U.S.
Yeah, it was. The U.K. press reaction was very much sort of—it was very negative about the storyline. Some feeling that Downton shouldn't have tackled a storyline like this. The press in the U.S. seemed to be more about feeling that the story focused too much on Mr. Bates rather than Anna. It's very difficult to get that balance and I do believe Julian [Fellowes] did a fantastic job of doing that. In this time that Anna is in the situation even more so...it's almost impossible for her to talk about what's happened to her because she would've—if people found out—she would've lost her reputation, which meant she would've lost her job possibly. And if we were talking about real life, a working-class woman of Anna's social standing at that time, they would've lost their family, their reputation, their job, possibly would've become destitute not being able to work, to get a reference for somewhere else. It was all those social aspects on top of the fact that she's been through this horrific, life-changing experience. It was very much getting my head around that, really. For Julian, again, him having Anna not being able to talk to people is true to what her situation would've been. I feel he got the balance right, but obviously is a difficult thing to balance out.

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Downton Abbey Courtesy of ©Nick Briggs/Carnival Film and Television Limited 2013 for MASTERPIECE

Right. People in the U.S. are used to shows like Law & Order: SVU where they deal with rape all the time—It's so different. People have trouble because this isn't modern times; this is a show set in the past.
Yeah, absolutely and they are in a time that things weren't talked about as openly as they are now. On the other hand, since the storyline aired I've received messages from women that have been through similar experience to Anna in their own lives, and the majority of the letters I received, women said they still either felt unable to talk about what happened to them or at the time that they did feel confident enough to speak to somebody about what happened then they weren't believed. That's been an eye-opener for me as well because we all hope that we've come a long way since the 1920s and we have, we absolutely have, but we obviously have some ways to go as well.

Aside from Downton, what are you rooting for?
Yeah, quite a lot of things. True Detective I'm slightly obsessed with because I watched the whole series in two days, I just thought it was incredible. I'm a bit late to the party, I've only just started Breaking Bad, but I'm absolutely loving Breaking Bad as well. And again, I just started watching Girls, which is incredible. My new obsession. There's just so many, there's too many to choose from, really.

Do you want to add anything?
Just the fact that I'm so, so thrilled and couldn't be happier with the nomination. I'm just so thankful to be able to experience it a second time. I just can't wait. I'm just really thrilled for Downton as well to get 12 nominations. It's such a tough year this year, there's all these amazing shows—True Detective, the last season of Breaking Bad—there's just so many fantastic programs. I'm just totally thrilled.

Check out the full list of Emmy nominees here.

PHOTOS: Notable 2014 Emmy nominees

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