Emmy nominations are nothing new for Elisabeth Moss. She’s been racking up nods for her role on Mad Men every year since 2009, once in the Supporting Actress category and thrice in the Lead Actress category – so today’s fifth citation can’t have been much of a surprise.
She was, however, pleasantly shocked to discover that she’ll also be competing for Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie alongside heavy hitters Jessica Lange, Laura Linney, Helen Mirren, and Sigourney Weaver. No wonder she calls her competitors “ridiculously intimidating” – Moss, cited for her work in the BBC Two/UKTV/Sundance miniseries Top of the Lake, is the only nominee in the category who hasn’t also been nominated for multiple Oscars.
“It sounds so crazy to hear you say that!” she said with a laugh after EW congratulated her for getting two nominations. Moss’ mother apparently reacted to her news in much the same way: “I called my mom and woke her up, and she promptly responded that she was going to jump out a window,” she said, “which I thought was an appropriate response. I talked her down from the ledge.”
Moss’ Mad Men family has been a little less dramatic with their congratulations, though no less effusive. “Every time I hang up the phone from an interview, I look at my phone for the texts, and there’s like, 40 more,” said Moss. “I got one from executive producer Scott Hornbacher saying something like, ‘Nice, Moss, double down. Congratulations.’” A post-production supervisor sent Moss a slightly less sweet message: “One actress, two categories.” (Be happy if you don’t understand the reference.)
Maybe those combined good vibes will be enough to help Moss go all the way this year. Like the rest of Mad Men’s celebrated cast, she’s a perpetual Emmy bridesmaid – though the show hasn’t won a single one of the 23 acting Emmys it’s been nominated for since 2008, not counting the five more it received this morning.
Generally speaking, though, Moss is reluctant to bemoan the show’s selective bad luck. “When you get nominated five times, and the show has won [Best Drama Series], I think, four times” – she’s correct – “it’s a difficult place to complain from,” she said diplomatically. “You kind of don’t have a leg to stand on. Yes, it’s true that we’ve never won an acting award, but I would be a complete asshole to say anything other than ‘it’s fantastic.’”
Plus, as Moss notes, “television keeps getting better” – which is both good and bad, since it means the competition keeps getting tougher. “Look at that Lead Actress in a Drama Series category!” she marveled. “There’s seven people in it. It’s such a testament to how incredible television is for women and for actresses now.”
Sounds like a development that proto-feminist Peggy Olsen would be proud of – though you know she’d also really, really want to just win the damn award already.