Ann Dowd on Her First Golden Globe Nomination and the "Harrowing" The Handmaid's Tale Season 2

Dowd plays Aunt Lydia, a boss of sorts to the Handmaids in the Hulu series

By Chris Harnick Dec 11, 2017 6:12 PMTags
Ann Dowd, The Handmaid's TaleHulu

"F—k no," Ann Dowd said. The Handmaid's Tale star was not waiting to see if her name was called during the announcement of the 2018 Golden Globe nominations.

"I got my son onto the bus, walked the dogs, and I knew Adam [her publicist], who just introduced us would let me know, so I left it in his very capable hands," she said in a phone call after she was nominated for a Golden Globe in the Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture made for Television. This is her first Golden Globe nomination.

Dowd, who isn't on set at the moment, said she did hear from her on-screen sparring partner, Elisabeth Moss.

"I heard from Elisabeth, my friend, Lizzie. We texted, she's working. She's actually filming, but that's about it. And then [director and executive producer] Reed Morano, we had a lovely exchange. Haven't talked to many, but I know the spirits, I'm sure, are quite high," she said.

Moss and The Handmaid's Tale as a whole were also nominated for Golden Globes. The nomination for Dowd is just the icing on the cake. She took home her first Emmy in 2017 for playing the role of Aunt Lydia, a woman responsible for running the Red Centers and indoctrinating the Handmaids, on The Handmaid's Tale, and was nominated for a second Emmy for her work on The Leftovers. She's still having some trouble grasping the overall enormity of it all.


"I'm literally sitting here just stunned in a happy place of ‘What?' Ugh. No, I have not wrapped my head around it, but it feels awfully good, I'll tell you," she admitted.

As Aunt Lydia, she's commanding and a force of nature on the screen. The character, at most times, is a terrifying authority figure. What keeps her human and Dowd's performance grounded?

"‘Cause, she loves those girls. And so what does that mean? If I put it together with the fact that I'd love to teach, me personally, I attach to the students. That's a very easy thing to do as long as what we're talking about is—obviously in my life I would never go to such extreme terms, it would never happen. But in terms of making sure this is what's expected of you, this is what you need to succeed and as much as I may not enjoy this—this is Lydia, of course—I'm going to have to push. We can do this the easy way or we can do this the hard way, and that's up to you girls. So, that to me, and the fact that she loves them, is a very human thing," she said.


"I was educated by Catholic sisters, who never went anywhere near what Lydia does. What they did do was consider a work ethic and pass that along to us and make sure it's implemented and that takes shape every single day, regardless of how you feel…this is what's expected of you, get it done. Defer to the church, defer to authority, don't go by your own understanding, it's not going to lead you anywhere good," Dowd continued. "In other words, there's a love attached to it for her, as hard to believe as that may be."

As for what's ahead on The Handmaid's Tale, Dowd couldn't spill too many details, but she did drop some hints.

"What I can tell you, and I'm not joking one bit, is it's knocking me out where this story is going. I literally read the scripts and I think, ‘Oh my god.' The ideas are genius and so unpredictable and harrowing," she said. "Plus you see the worlds that you weren't exposed to before: the Colonies, what that whole world is; those who make it to Canada, what happens there; the pregnancy, how that is coming along. It's a phenomenally well-written show."


"Really, I'm telling you, you will not be disappointed," she said.

The Handmaid's Tale returns to Hulu in April 2018. The Golden Globes air Sunday, Jan. 7 at 8 p.m. on NBC with Seth Meyers hosting.

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