Big Bang Theory star Jim Parsons just got nominated for his fifth Emmy Award – but don’t assume that means he’s grown immune to the honor. “Oh my God, are you kidding? No!” he says, a note of incredulity in his voice. “[In Hollywood,] one day you’re working and one day people are saying, ‘Who?’ So it’s always a pleasant surprise.”
In fact, says Parsons, he feels more honored to be nominated with every TV season that passes. “There’s more on the air every year, there’s more choices out there,” he explains, “and when people choose you in any way … it’s really touching. I don’t know what other word to use.”
It helps, of course, that Parson was given plenty of juicy material this year. He marvels at the way Big Bang’s writers developed the show’s characters and relationships in its sixth season, especially the one between Parson’s Sheldon and Mayim Bialik’s Amy: “They’ve made such strides in the growth of several characters on this show, without alienating the characters from who they were at the beginning.” Parsons says writing like that makes his job easy – though the Academy may disagree.
“I feel it more intensely the longer the show goes on,” he continues. “My job feels like it’s very much to show up and say what they’ve written. And I know that there’s more to it – I’m not an idiot. But I really mean that, from the bottom of my heart. That’s the core feeling that I have.”
Parsons is currently on the east coast, reprising an old Broadway role in Ryan Murphy’s adaptation of The Normal Heart, a drama about the ’80s AIDS crisis. “It’s been so wonderful to do something so divergent from the day job, as it were,” he says – especially because of the TV movie’s heavy subject matter, which tends to “create immediate camaraderie.” It might also lead to more Emmy victories next year, though Parsons isn’t counting his chickens. “The work I’ve watched has been stellar, so it wouldn’t surprise me if come awards time there was some recognition,” he says – adding, diplomatically, “but you just never know.”