Bust out the applause for Sarah Paulson: The six-time nominee has landed her first Emmy. She won Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie for her role as Marcia Clark in The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story at the 68th annual Emmy Awards in Los Angeles Sunday.
Paulson thanked the cast and crew of the FX series, and gave a special shout-out to Clark, her guest at the Emmys.
“I along with the rest of the world, had been superficial and careless in my judgment, and i’m here today to tell you i’m sorry,” Paulson said to Clark.
Backstage after the ceremony, Paulson explained her mea culpa.
“I do sort of feel that there was a collective failing by women for Marcia during the time of the trial, so given what I know now and given what I think we all know now having watched the series, I think an apology was in order,” she said. “So I was very, very happy to be able to do it in such a broad way.”
Paulson added, “Remember, she was a public servant. She’s not an actress. She wasn’t asking to stand in a room and be judged… those things were really forgotten by all of us when we were watching the trial. I just feel very proud and glad that through this show, new eyes are able to view her and she’s able to have another experience that she deserves.”
During her speech, Paulson also professed her love to Holland Taylor, the actress’ significant other. On Twitter, Holland posted praise after Paulson’s win.
Though Paulson has been acting for more than two decades, she’s experienced a career surge in recent years. She began appearing in FX anthology American Horror Story in 2011, securing Emmy noms for each season except the first. Her performance in the series raked in ample praise and led to turns in the Academy Award-winning 12 Years a Slave (2013) and the Oscar-nominated Carol (2015).
American Crime Story has become a whirlwind success since premiering in February. The true crime anthology, which fictionally recounted the high-profile murder trial of O.J. Simpson, nabbed a staggering 22 Emmy nominations at this year’s ceremony, including acting nods for each of its main cast members: Paulson, Cuba Gooding Jr., Courtney B. Vance, John Travolta, David Schwimmer, and Sterling K. Brown, who also won on Sunday.
“It changed everything,” Paulson told W of her role. “I was one of those women who didn’t like Marcia Clark. And that was based on believing what I was told by the media — that she was this total monster and a bulldog and so aggressive. It was really transformational to realize, God, I had it all wrong. Most people did.”
Paulson outdid a tough bunch of nominees in her category, besting Kirsten Dunst (Fargo), Felicity Huffman (American Crime), Audra McDonald (Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill), Lili Taylor (American Crime), and Kerry Washington (Confirmation).