Why Tatiana Maslany’s best actress win was the highlight of the 2016 Emmys

Tatiana Maslany finally wins an Emmy for playing Sarah and Beth and Alison and Cosima and Rachel and Krystal and Tony and Helena…

Game Of Thrones might have broken Emmy awards history with its multiple wins after the glorious season six and Rami Malek may have deservedly won his first time Emmy nomination and win for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for Mr Robot. But for me the biggest success of the night was Tatiana Maslany’s win for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series.

If you haven’t seen Orphan Black, the show which won Tatiana Maslany her Emmy, then you are missing a huge treat. She plays Sarah, a woman with a past, who encounters her doppelganger at a train station…and then watches in horror as that woman – Beth – steps in front of a train and kills herself. Rather than report the suicide, Sarah takes Beth’s identity…and that’s where the real fun starts.

Because Beth is her clone and Sarah soon discovers she is part of a sinister, global project. Over the course of the four seasons, Maslany has portrayed streetwise Sarah, tough but broken detective Beth, soccer mum with attitude Alison, witty scientist Cosima, ruthless ice queen Rachel, ditzy beautician Krystal, transgender clone Tony and my personal favourite, Ukrainian assassin with a big heart Helena. Seeing these characters onscreen, all played by Maslany, is a revelation.

Maslany’s performances are simply phenomenal, each very different; her ability to deliver varied speech, movement and attitude makes each character completely believable, so much so that you forget it is the same actress in multiple roles. So good is Maslany that if one character is absent from an episode you miss them, despite the fact that Maslany is on screen for at least 90% of each episode.

As Wil Wheaton noted on Twitter ‘She needs to win for best actor and best supporting actor. Nine times.

That’s not to say the rest of the cast aren’t good too; there are some wonderful performances, particularly from Maria Doyle Kennedy as Mrs S and Jordan Gavaris as foster brother Felix. Orphan Black has delivered some great twists, intelligent sci-fi, plenty of drama, horror and most of all humour and the fourth season proved to be one of the best as it returned to its roots. Orphan Black is a cleverly well-written drama but course it wouldn’t work without that central performance – or multi performances – and Maslany sells it every time.

To say that I think Tatiana Maslany is the best actress on TV is an understatement. She has mesmerised audiences for four years and with Orphan Black coming to an end with its fifth season next year, the loss of all these wonderful characters will be keenly felt.

If you haven’t seen Orphan Black yet, you can check out all four seasons on Netflix now. You won’t regret it.


Updated: Sep 20, 2016

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