10 Reasons Tatiana Maslany Deserves An Emmy For Orphan Black
The second season finale of Orphan Black, aka that show about the clones, airs this Saturday night at 9 PM on BBC America. Did you take our advice and catch up on it? If you did, you know what an absolutely amazing actress Tatiana Maslany is. But whether you watch the show or not, it's always a good idea to emphasize how much she deserves recognition for her talent. Preferably that recognition should come in the form of an Emmy. Or multiple, since she plays half the show's characters.
Tatiana has received some accolades for her performance. Just last night she took home the Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Actress in a Drama. But she wasn't nominated for an Emmy last year. I hate to be over-the-top, but that snub is one of the worst decisions anyone's ever made in the history of the world. Hopefully now that the show — and Tatiana's performance — has gotten more buzz, she'll get a nod this year. And a win, if the Emmy voters have brains. Let me lay out just a few reasons no one deserves that award more. (Some spoilers ahead.)
1. She plays villains and heroes on the same show.
But of course she gives both the good guys and the bad guys enough complexity that it's hard to label them definitively as either one. Helena went from being a murderous threat to downright heartbreaking. Even Rachel, the “proclone,” is sympathetic at times, although that whole “stealing Sarah's daughter thing” wasn't so nice. Turning things around, Alison's purportedly on the good side, but she does plenty of morally questionable things. Like letting her friend choke to death in front of her and helping her husband cover up a murder. The usual.
2. She can pull off comedy and drama.
Speaking of Alison, she's where a lot of the show's comedy comes from, and Tatiana pulls it off just as effortlessly as she does an emotional scene as Sarah. It's tough to find an actor who's just as amazing at the funny stuff as the serious stuff, and who does it brilliantly on the same show, within the same character, and even sometimes in the same scene.
3. She's a master of accents.
Tatiana consistently does two different English accents, a couple of North American ones (It's not clear if the show takes place in the U.S. or Canada, although it's filmed in Toronto), and a Ukrainian one. In real life she's Canadian. But if I'd never known that or heard her speak in real life, I wouldn't be able to guess which accent was hers. She is that good.
4. She's also a master of voices.
It's not just the accents that Tatiana has mastered to differentiate the clones. They also have completely different vocal tones and styles of speaking. Both Alison and Cosima are Amerinadian (American and/or Canadian), and yet if I close my eyes and hear one of them, I immediately know who it is. HOW DOES SHE DO IT?
5. She has chemistry with every other actor.
Because she plays so many characters, Tatiana has scenes with pretty much every single other regular actor and guest star on the show, and she works well with all of them. On top of that, she's challenged with conveying the different types of relationships her clones have with the same people. For instance, Sarah's interactions with Felix are very different than Alison's interactions with him.
6. She has to interact with herself on a regular basis.
Obviously this is helped along by the use of a special effects and a stand-in. But the gist of the situation is that Tatiana is talking to herself, threatening herself, hugging herself and just generally being in the same room with herself on a regular basis. Or at least that's what she has to pretend she's doing, and she pulls it off so effortlessly.
7. Sometimes she plays clones pretending to be other clones.
If that sounds confusing to you, let me explain. Sometimes one clone dresses up like another clone and acts like her to fool people. But the character Sarah is not an amazing actress like Tatiana Maslany, so her performance as Alison would not look exactly like Alison. It has to look like Sarah pretending to be Alison. Which is exactly what it does look like, thanks to Tatiana's genius.
8. Each clone is completely unique.
You might think, on a show where one woman plays multiple characters, that you'd spend the whole time getting them confused or feeling distracted wondering how they made it look like they're in the same room. But when I watch Orphan Black that never happens to me. If I didn't know any better, you could tell me the clones were played by different women and I'd believe you. I'm pretty sure I've had more than one moment where I've gone, “Wow, who plays that clone? Oh wait, they're all Tatiana.”
9. She can play any gender.
In a recent episode this season, the show introduced us to a new clone named Tony. Tony is transgender. He has a beard and a deeper voice and everything. And for Tatiana, it's just another day at the office. “Oh, there are boy clones now?” I bet she said. “Very well then, bring it on.”
10. She's got the hardest job on television.
The fact is, Tatiana Maslany plays half a dozen totally different characters each week, whereas most other actors on television only play one. As challenging as those other actors' roles may be, and as amazing as they are at them, doing what Tatiana does is automatically harder. And she not only does it on a regular basis, but she does it really well. Give her an Emmy, please. You'd be crazy not to.