July 12-- Sandra Oh's first headlining TV role in BBC America's "Killing Eve" has yielded her first lead actress in a drama Emmy nomination-and a place in history.
Oh's nomination Thursday carries an added layer of distinction because it makes her the first person of Asian descent to be nominated in the category in the 70-year run of the award show.
At a time when Hollywood is reckoning with calls for greater inclusivity, the historic aspect of Oh's nomination serves as another sobering reminder of the industry's deep-rooted diversity problem.
Not that reminders are needed. It was only three years ago that Viola Davis stood up on the Emmy stage as the first African American winner in the category for her role in "How to Get Away With Murder." And just last year, Donald Glover made history as the first black person to win the Emmy for directing his comedy series "Atlanta."
Oh, however, is not an Emmy newcomer. The 46-year-old actress scored five supporting Emmy nominations during her 10-year run as Dr. Cristina Yang in ABC's popular "Grey's Anatomy."
Hailing from the mind of Phoebe Waller-Bridge ("Fleabag"), "Killing Eve" premiered in April on BBC America to critical acclaim and, week after week, had viewers taking notice of Oh's quirky and layered performance as Eve Polastri, a brainy British intelligence agent who becomes fixated with the young female assassin (Jodie Comer) she's tracking.
The thriller steadily established itself as a bright spot for BBC America through word of mouth. It yielded weekly ratings growth over the course of its eight-episode run, and its finale garnered 1.25 million total viewers when viewing over three days is tallied, up 86 percent from its premiere. The cable network wasted little time in renewing the series for a second season.
"Killing Eve" marks Oh's most noticeable return to television since her exit from "Grey's Anatomy" in 2014. Since then, she took on other roles on screen and stage, including as a social worker in the third season of ABC's "American Crime" and as a writing professor in the local staging of Julia Cho's "Office Hour."
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