All hail Jeffrey Tambor.
The veteran actor continued his reign as Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series at the 68th annual Emmy Awards in Los Angeles Sunday. He won the golden statuette for the second year in a row for his role as Maura Pfefferman on Transparent. In the process, he delivered an impassioned plea to Hollywood to give transgender talent more opportunities.
“May I be very very clear about something: There is no best actor, alright? I’m so honored to be in this category with these artistic killers. Thank you, guys,” he Tambor started his speech. “To [Transparent creator] Jill [Soloway], you changed my life, you changed my career, and you changed everything.”
He continued: “I’m old. To this wonderful cast: this would be a much lesser [honor] if it were not your genius.”
Tambor went on to thank Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, “who took my hand last night and said, ‘Call me Jeff Bezos.'”
Then Tambor got emotional. “I’m not going to say this beautifully: to you people out there… please give transgender talent a chance,” he said. “Give them auditions. Give them their story.”
He added: “One last thing: I would be happy if I were the last cisgender male to play a transgender female.”
Backstage in the press room, Tambor elaborated on his thoughts: I think we are there now and I think the powers that be and the creators and the writers need to tell these stories and hire these people,” he explained.
Soloway also joined the conversation. “It would be one thing if trans people had been telling their stories for a hundred years, but they haven’t even gotten the chance,” she said. “So when [cisgender] male producers are taking the narrative, rather than letting them tell their own stories, it’s a real problem. It’s time to hand out the keys to the kingdom, open the gates, and let more people into these roles of writer, director, producer, protagonist.”
Tambor first rose to prominence in the ’90s as the egocentric Hank Kingsley on The Larry Sanders Show, going on to earn four Emmy noms for his performance in the series. This is his second win at the primetime awards show and eighth nomination, having nabbed additional nods for his work in The Lionhearts and Arrested Development.
Transparent has been a critical darling since debuting on Amazon on in 2014. Both creator Jill Soloway and guest star Bradley Whitford also took home awards at last year’s ceremony.
“I’m not shy or bashful about holding this up because this is bigger than me,” Tambor said after his 2015 win. “It represents what Amazon has done and what the transgender community is doing and what our show is about, and we are the little engine that could so I hope more people watch it and get to experience this revolution.”
Tambor beat out a number of promising nominees in his category, besting Anthony Anderson (black-ish), Will Forte (The Last Man on Earth), Thomas Middleditch (Silicon Valley), Aziz Ansari (Master of None), and William H. Macy (Shameless).
See all the Emmy winners here.
With reporting by Marc Snetiker.