Sixth time's the charm for Sarah Paulson -- and she has Marcia Clark to thank for it.
Despite Jimmy Kimmel's joke
about Paulson bringing the real-life prosecutor she played on The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
to the Emmys -- "Everyone in L.A. knows, if you want to win, sit next to Marcia Clark!" -- the actress won Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie, and she used the opportunity to apologize to Clark.
"The responsibility of playing a real person is an enormous one," Paulson explained. "The more I learned about the real Marcia Clark, not the two-dimensional cardboard cutout I saw on the news, but the complicated, whip-smart, giant-hearted mother of two who woke up every day, put both feet on the floor and dedicated herself to righting an unconscionable wrong…the more I had to recognize that I, along with the rest of the world, had been superficial and careless in my judgment."
She concluded, "I'm proud to be able to stand here today in front of everyone and tell you I'm sorry."
Paulson has been nominated for six Emmys -- including nods for the past four seasons of American Horror Story -- but this marks her first win. She beat out the likes of Kirsten Dunst (Fargo), Audra McDonald (Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill), Kerry Washington (Confirmation), Felicity Huffman and Lili Taylor (American Crime).
"I am so stunned to be sharing the category with so many extraordinary actresses," she said, before thanking her own co-stars, whom she called "magicians." "I want to share it with each and every one of them. There was a unique alchemy between us and I know how special that is.”
She wrapped up with a sweet shout-out to girlfriend Holland Taylor. "I love you," she said.
Taylor, who was watching from home, tweeted, "Yes!!! YES!!! YES!!! YES!!! YES!!! YES!!! 'Maria, Marcia, Marcia'" She followed up Paulson's win by simply writing, "There it is."
Paulson was just one of The People v. O.J. Simpson's handful of actors to take home awards, as Courtney B. Vance's portrayal of Johnnie Cochran earned him an Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series Emmy and Sterling K. Brown won Outstanding Supporting Actor for playing prosecutor Christopher Darden.
"A lot of you may not have known who I was, but you checked the box anyway. And that makes me very, very happy," Brown, who beat co-stars David Schwimmer and John Travolta, told voters, before turning his attention to one of his so-called "sister wives."
"I love you," he told Paulson. "Where you lead, I just try to support."