Blessed be the Emmys. Ann Dowd nabbed the trophy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her work on Hulu’s acclaimed The Handmaid’s Tale at the 69th annual Emmy Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday.
“Well, I think this is a dream,” a tearful Dowd said. “I know it’s an actor’s dream and I’m deeply grateful to you. I don’t have the words, so I thank you.”
The actress plays Aunt Lydia, one of the few women with power — misguided, of course — on the series based on Margaret Atwood’s novel. In the militarized world of Gilead, she taught fertile women (a.k.a. “handmaids”) their new way of life, assigned them to the elite families looking to bear children using them, and punished them when they strayed from the oppressive rules they had to follow. Dowd toes the line between coming off maternal and intimidating in the role, and says the series should be more than entertainment.
“I think of the show’s quote, ‘We didn’t look up from our phones until it was too late,'” Dowd told EW in June. “What we can do with The Handmaid’s Tale is put a voice to despair, to [inform others] to stay awake and alert. This is not the time to sit back and say, well, it’s not going to get any worse. This is the time to stand up every single time and say, no, not happening.”
Dowd, who was also nominated for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for her work as Patti Levin on HBO’s The Leftovers, beat out her Handmaid’s Tale co-star Samira Wiley, along with fellow nominees Millie Bobby Brown (Stranger Things), Uzo Aduba (Orange Is the New Black), Chrissy Metz (This Is Us), and Thandie Newton (Westworld).