Sandra Oh Looks Back on Her Year of Historic 'Killing Eve' Successes
By Philiana Ng
Sandra Oh isn't taking her historic Killing Eve wins lightly.
The star and co-executive producer of BBC America's buzzy British drama reflected on the past six months, which saw her make history at the Emmys (as the first Asian woman nominated in a lead actress category), Golden Globes (as the first Best TV Drama Actress winner in nearly four decades and the first Asian to win multiple awards) and at the SAG Awards (as the second person ever to win the top drama actor award for two different shows).
"I definitely feel that," Oh said Saturday at the Television Critics Association press tour, when asked about her game-changing awards run. "It’s not on the forefront of my mind. But I feel like if you’re different in any kind of way, you always know that. The significance of those wins are not lost on me at all and I didn’t want to waste a moment in not being completely there."
The 46-year-old actress spoke about why she agreed to co-host the Golden Globes on Jan. 6, alongside Andy Samberg, even though she was not an obvious choice to emcee a high-profile awards ceremony. As Oh tells it, she saw it as an opportunity for representation for the oft-neglected Asian community, which rarely sees themselves represented in a meaningful way onscreen, a point she eloquently addressed in the monologue. (The success of last summer's blockbuster rom-com, Crazy Rich Asians, has seemingly spurred interest in Hollywood to invest in stories that are culturally specific to the Asian community. Whether many of these projects will come to fruition remains to be seen.)
"When they asked for the co-hosting of the [Golden Globes], I was bananas. I was like, ‘What? Why did that happen?’ I texted my agents back and said, ‘Are you effing joking?’ But I knew what it could mean and in some ways I knew what it could mean in that section of the monologue," Oh said. "I knew what that platform could mean and all I wanted to do was hit it out of the f**king park because I know that would mean, not only for myself, but more for a lot of other people, so I just tried my best to show up as fully as I could in each of those opportunities."
Oh seemed to struggle to find the words to accurately express why the moment in which she addressed her parents following her Golden Globe win had a profound impact on her, her family and the Asian community as a whole.
"I don’t think I can explain to you how profound I feel it meant to not only myself and my parents, but I can feel for a lot of people in my community, and not only the Asian American community, but the immigrant community as a whole," she said. "Being able to speak your parents’ language in a very, very public way and to tell them that -- not even so much as I thank them but that I love them in a very, very public way. I’ve had so many young people in their 20s come up to me and say that meant so much to [them] because either 'I’ve never been able to express that' or 'I just see myself so much [in that moment]' or 'I see my parents so much in myself,' that there is so much significance because people have not seen that reflected."
The Grey's Anatomy alum admitted she was "petrified" to co-host the Globes, but following her stint, felt relief and ecstasy. "All the stuff I could not feel leading up to it, then I felt so vividly," she recalled. "Afterwards at the party, I didn’t need one drop of alcohol because I was so high on the actual joy and release of it. But it was exceptionally intimidating and I was really, really scared."
Oh shared a piece of advice she gave that may be words of wisdom for everyone to take to heart.
"My nieces were there in Los Angeles and I wanted to try to impart to them: Go do something that scares you," she said. "You don’t even have to get it right but do it. Do it, because you will gain confidence if you do something that scares you."
Killing Eve returns Sunday, April 7 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on BBC America.