After receiving seven nominations throughout her career, Elisabeth Moss won her first Emmy on Sunday, in the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series category, for playing Offred in Hulu’s harrowing The Handmaid’s Tale.
“So crazy,” Moss opened her acceptance speech at the 69th annual Emmy Awards in Los Angeles before thanking Hulu, the Academy, the Handmaid’s Tale cast and crew, Margaret Atwood, and, ultimately, her mother.
“You are brave and strong and smart,” Moss said, addressing her mom, who was sitting in the audience. “You have taught me that you can be kind and a f—ing badass.” She was then cut off by the censors for swearing, something that also happened when she was boarding the stage.
In Hulu’s critically acclaimed drama based on Margaret Atwood’s bestselling novel, Moss starred as Offred, one of few fertile women who have been forced to become “handmaids” — women whose sole purpose is to undergo ritualized rape by male masters to bear children for elite families — in a militarized society called Gilead where the United States used to be. The 10-episode first season depicted a bleak and unsettling reality that not only disturbingly echoed the misogynistic politics of the real world, but also seemed eerily possible. The similarities between the series’ and today’s attitudes, Moss says, shouldn’t be ignored.
“The material is more personal to me than anything else I’ve ever done because of the parallel paths that I have to walk,” Moss told Entertainment Weekly Radio (Sirius XM, Channel 105) in April. “For me, as a woman who is a card-carrying feminist, these are all issues and things that are really important to me… I wish this was a fantasy; I wish it was sci-fi.”
Moss, who had previously been nominated for her work on Mad Men and Top of the Lake, beat out fellow nominees Robin Wright (House of Cards), Viola Davis (How to Get Away With Murder), Keri Russell (The Americans), Claire Foy (The Crown), and Evan Rachel Wood (Westworld).