When it comes to the accolades for Amazon’s Transparent,
especially for Jeffrey Tambor’s role as a transgender matriarch, the actor says
it’s bigger than him.
“I’m excited as I’ve ever been because it’s more than me,”
Tambor told ET over the phone shortly after it was announced on Monday that he
was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a TV
Series – Comedy, his third for playing Maura Pfefferman. (The show was also
nominated for Best TV Series – Musical or Comedy.)
The nomination follows his Emmy win in September for
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. While accepting his award, Tambor
called on Hollywood to embrace diversity and cast more transgender entertainers
in roles, including his own, often played by cisgender people. “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.”
Tambor then added: “One last thing: I would be happy if I
were the last cisgender male to play a transgender female.”
GOLDEN GLOBES: The 2017 Nominations Revealed!
While not directly addressing it, Tambor’s comments followed the controversy surrounding Matt Bomer’s casting
as a transgender sex worker in the upcoming film Anything. Jen
Richards, a transgender producer and actor who was Emmy-nominated in the short form category this year
for Her Story, said on Twitter, “It denies actual trans women
opportunities, jobs, resources, which hurts [an] entire community.” Richards
has since been cast on Nashville in the show’s first transgender role.
Later, when Laverne Cox, who is the only transgender actor
to be nominated for an acting Emmy and will become the first transgender series regular on TV when Doubt premieres
on CBS, took the stage at during the Emmys, she echoed Tambor’s sentiment.
“Give trans talent a shot,” she said. “I would not be here tonight if I was not
given that chance.”
While it’s only been three months since
his speech, Tambor told ET there has been some progress behind the scenes.
“Since I said that, things have changed,” he noted. “Castings have changed.”
In particular, he pointed to co-star Trace Lysette, who
plays Maura’s friend, Shea, and has received praise for her performance this
season. “She’s being honored left and right,” he said, adding: “Things are
MORE: While the Emmys Award More Diversity, Winners Call for More Representation
In fact, it was time spent at the Los Angeles LGBT Center,
where he taught an acting class to transgender and gender nonconforming people
that inspired Tambor’s Emmy acceptance speech. “It was unbelievable,” Tambor shared.
“The talent in that room and the stories in that room were incredible. It just
knocked me upside the head. I’ve never seen acting like that.”
The LGBT Center is also where Transparent creator
Jill Soloway discovered
newcomer Alexandra Grey, who appears in season three’s first episode,
“Elizah,” and has since been cast on Drunk History and opposite Cox on Doubt.
“That was one of the best gifts that’s ever come my way,” Tambor
added, explaining it was an opportunity for him to learn more about the
transgender community. “And that’s why I said it at the Emmys. I want more
casting chances for this community because there’s such a wealth of talent.”
The 74th Golden Globes, hosted Jimmy Fallon, will be handed
out live on Sunday, Jan. 8, starting at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.