By Chancellor Agard
September 20, 2020 at 09:34 PM EDT
Regina King
Credit: Invision/AP/Shutterstock

Regina King is having quite the fall. Fresh off the opening of her feature film directorial debut One Night in Miami, the 49-year-old has just won Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie at the 72nd Annual Emmy Award Sunday night for her powerful performance on HBO's Watchmen.

This is King's fifth nomination and fourth win, having previously won for American Crime (2015, 2016) and Seven Seconds (2018). With this victory, she ties the record for most acting Emmys earned by a Black performer held by Alfre Woodard.

"This is so freakin' weird," said King, who wore a shirt with Breonna Taylor's face on it that said "Say Her Name," as she accepted her award. "I love being a thespian. Thank you, Television Academy, for choosing me to represent the thespian community. [Watchmen] Damon Lindelof, I love you brother. Man, thank you for your brilliant mind. Thank you for choosing all of us to join this journey as you stepped outside of your comfort zone, and led us on a journey where we could bring art to truth to power."

Before she wrapped, King urged everyone to vote, because she "would be remiss not to mention that being apart of a show as prescient as Watchmen," said King. "Have a voting plan. Got to [], vote up the ballot, please. Go to [] and find out who are voting in your municipal elections, it is very important. Be a good human. Rest in power RBG.”

Set in the world of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' groundbreaking comic of the same name, Watchmen followed King's Angela Abar, a detective who went by the alias Sister Night, as she investigated a conspiracy in her home of Tulsa, Okla., that threatened her family and the world. Whereas the source material was mainly concerned with nuclear proliferation and Cold War paranoia, executive producer Damon Lindelof's limited series took aim at the rise of white supremacy and explored how trauma from racial violence like the Tulsa Massacre can be passed through generations and shapes the present.

“[Lindelof] had the script delivered with a lovely note, saying that he sees me as this and would I take this ride with him,” King told EW last year, recalling how Lindelof approached her about the role following their collaboration on The Leftovers. "I started reading the pilot and five pages in I was like, ‘Oh, oh, he’s going here? Black Wall Street?’... I had to just sit with that for a second because it had been something that my sister and I, for a long time, had been like, ‘Why hasn’t this story been told?'"

After her victory Sunday night, King told reporters she missed the real in-person ceremony. "When I’ve won an Emmy — what a blessing to win four times — but something about being in the room and being able to share that moment with your peers and your family and look in everyone’s faces and get hugs, I’m missing that," said King in the Emmy press room. "My brain kind of went blank, didn’t get a chance to say I love you mom because it’s just such a weird moment. Didn’t get to recognize my cast which I know I would have done for sure looking at them out there. I like the real awards better, not that these are fake. I don’t know what to call it man!"

King came out victorious in a stacked category that included Octavia Spencer (Self-Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C. J. Walker), Kerry Washington (Little Fires Everywhere), Cate Blanchett (Mrs. America), and Shira Haas (Unorthodox).

This post has been updated with King's comments from the Emmy press room. 

Additional reporting by Sydney Bucksbaum. 

Related content: 

Episode Recaps

Watchmen (TV series)

  • TV Show
  • 1
  • Damon Lindelof
  • HBO