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Sandra Oh Became The First Asian Woman To Win The Best Actress TV Drama Golden Globe In Almost 40 Years

Oh, the cohost of Sunday's Golden Globes, won for her role in Killing Eve.

Handout / Getty Images

Actor Sandra Oh took home the Best Actress in a TV Drama award at the Golden Globes on Sunday night, becoming the first Asian woman to win in that category in almost 40 years.

Oh thanked her fellow actors on the show, as well as her parents, who were in the audience cheering her on.

"I'm so grateful," an overwhelmed Oh said.

She is the first Asian woman to take home the award since Yoko Shimada first won in 1980 for her role in Shogun.

At the beginning of the night, during the opening monologue, Oh took a moment to reflect on the diversity of this year's various TV shows and movies, from Crazy Rich Asians, to Black Panther, to Pose.

"I said yes to the fear of being on this stage tonight because I wanted to be here to look out into this audience and witness this moment of change," Oh said, briefly letting her guard down. "But right now, this moment is real."

Oh’s win for her role in the BBC America drama Killing Eve was the actor’s second Golden Globe prize, having won the award for Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Miniseries, or Television Film in 2006 for her role in Grey’s Anatomy.

Sunday’s win only adds to Oh's history-making night. In addition to nabbing this prestigious accolade, she was also the first Asian woman to host the Golden Globes, an awards season staple that's been operating since the early 1940s.

A huge word-of-mouth hit for BBC America, Killing Eve saw Oh play the role of an intelligence officer in England who becomes obsessed with tracking down the psychopathic woman assassin Villanelle (Jodie Comer).

Oh, who has long been relegated to tackling supporting roles, told Vulture in April that she was surprised when she realized she was being considered for the lead role.

“I remember I was walking around in Brooklyn and I was on my phone with my agent, Nancy. I was quickly scrolling down the script, and I can’t really tell you what I was looking for. So I’m like, ‘So Nancy, I don’t understand, what’s the part?’” Oh said. “And Nancy goes, ‘Sweetheart, it’s Eve, it’s Eve,’” she said. “In that moment, I did not assume the offer was for Eve.”

Oh said it was a light bulb moment for her because for so long she’d been brainwashed by Hollywood’s homogeneity to assume there was no way she’d be up for a role as one of the main characters in a show.

Nick Briggs / BBC America

Critics, pop culture obsessives, and Oh’s peers adored the show, which was created by Fleabag’s Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who was also there Sunday to see Oh win. Everyone from Oscar winner Reese Witherspoon to showrunner Mindy Kaling to Star Wars director Rian Johnson gushed about the show and Oh’s performance.

Last year, Oh became the first Asian woman in history to earn an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for the role, though she lost to The Crown’s Claire Foy.

Audiences were first introduced to Oh on the ABC drama Grey's Anatomy, on which she played the role of Cristina Yang from Season 1 until Season 10.

Season 2 of Killing Eve will premiere on April 7 on BBC America.


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