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Hey Academy, Please Nominate Yvonne Strahovski For an Emmy

Published on July 6th, 2018 | Updated on July 6th, 2018 | By FanFest

Much like it did last year, I anticipate The Handmaid’s Tale will have a huge presence at the 2018 Emmy Awards. Last year, the series took home Best Drama Series, Best Actress for Elisabeth Moss, Best Supporting Actress for Ann Dowd, and Best Guest-Starring Actress for Alexis Bledel with an additional nomination for Samira Wiley. The ladies of Gilead swept and with the haunting and phenomenal second season Handmaid’s is having so far, I expect they’ll be doing it again, except this time Yvonne Strahovski needs to have her name on the Supporting ballot for her chilling portrayal of Gilead Wife Serena Waterford.

In my opinion, Serena Waterford is one of the most complicated and fascinating characters to watch on the show this season. One minute she’s horrible, the clear villain of June’s story, but then a minute later she’s showing June a fleeting moment of kindness, only for her to rip it right out from under her.  She’s consistently on the edge, teeter-tottering between cold and warm, vulnerable and rigid, and as much as you hate yourself for it, you just can’t help but hope for her to switch sides to the resistance, stand up to Fred and become a voice of reason. It takes an impressive actress to believably make these moves and generate such visceral reactions from audiences and Strahovski seems to do it with ease.

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Prior to Handmaid’s, Strahovski was best known for her role on Chuck where she played the fiercely loyal and kind Sarah Walker, a character that was just as captivating to watch, but in a different way. Despite Chuck playing more to the comedy than drama, Strahovski managed to play Sarah so endearingly with multiple layers that you just kept wanting to know more about. Similarly, season 2 has provided the opportunity to dive further into Serena’s backstory and given Strahovski the opportunity to show just how layered Serena is.  It’s shone a light on just what her role was in the creation of Gilead and how the reality of the nation she helped build in order to have a child of her own often holds her back.

One of Strahovski’s strongest scenes thus far came after Commander Waterford was injured in the Gilead bombing. Serena was able to step up and finally get a hand in the politics of Gilead and she was thriving, finally back in her element. However, once Fred came home and realized what she’d been doing, he put her in her place, reminding her who’s in charge. That scene in which Fred harshly whips Serena in front of Offred became one of the more unexpected moments of the season and was a true peak for both Strahovski and Serena.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DB82cPoWuIg

We see brutality and abuse on The Handmaid’s Tale every week, but to see someone at the top, like Serena, be degraded, humiliated, and admonished on the same level that a Handmaid would be was shocking to watch. It proved that no one was safe, not even the elite. After he’d delivered the 13 lashes to Serena, Strahovski again finds that balance between weakness and strength as she realizes that this was the society she helped found, one that doesn’t allow a woman to do things she’s more than qualified to.  She sobs uncontrollably in her room but tries to bite back the emotion, and as you’re watching it, you think that she’s finally reached her breaking point, but when Offred, someone who can truly offer some understanding, knocks on the door she rebukes her and we’re back to square one with Serena.

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That’s what’s so remarkable about the way Strahovski plays the character. Even though Serena is consistently horrible to Offred, she occasionally has these moments that make her almost sympathetic. She plays this villainous character with empathy and nuance and allows the audience to see Gilead through a different set of eyes.

The series is so brilliantly cast and well-written that nearly every character is handing out a stunning Emmy-worthy performance, but Strahovski has proven to be a standout this season with not only one of the most compelling storylines but also a chilling and excellent performance. Long story short, she definitely deserves a nomination in the Supporting category and I hope that the Academy agrees!

 

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SEEN ON

as seen on promo graphic