After a decade playing fan favorite heart surgeon Cristina Yang, Sandra Oh finally cut the cord with “Grey’s Anatomy” Thursday night. Will her emotional goodbye return this former awards darling to the Emmy spotlight?
During the early years of the ABC medical drama, calling Oh an Emmy longshot would have been akin to awards sacrilege, but that’s exactly what she became as the show aged and newer, fresher drama series took hold of Emmy’s attention.
Between 2005 and 2009, Oh reaped five consecutive Emmy nominations as Best Drama Supporting Actress. Though she’s still Emmy-less, Oh won a Golden Globe as Best TV Supporting Actress in 2006 and scored two SAG Award wins: Best Female Actor in 2006 and Best Drama Ensemble in 2007.
It’s been years since Oh — or any series regular from “Grey’s Anatomy,” for that matter — have been real contenders on the awards circuit. But that has less to do with the show’s quality and more to do with TV academy voters’ current infatuation with all things cable/streaming. “Grey’s Anatomy” reflects an old-school approach to television (i.e. being on a major network and producing more than 20 episodes per year) that the Emmys have more or less moved away from.
Oh’s final season of “Grey’s Anatomy” gave her a plethora of memorable storylines to play, from her epic fight with Meredith (Ellen Pompeo), to her nomination for the acclaimed Harper Avery award, to moving to Zurich and becoming Director of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Burke’s (Isaiah Washington) hospital.
Her increased storyline throughout Season 10 and emotional goodbye could very well give Oh the extra bit of oomph she needs to reap an Emmy nomination for Best Drama Supporting Actress.
But if she’s in, who’s out?
According to Gold Derby’s exclusive odds, the top six contenders to receive a nomination this year are reigning champ Anna Gunn (“Breaking Bad“), former winner Maggie Smith (“Downton Abbey“), reliable Christine Baranski (“The Good Wife“), red-hot Emilia Clarke (“Game of Thrones“), perpetual nominee Christina Hendricks (“Mad Men“) and newcomer Michelle Monaghan (“True Detective“).
Can Oh return to the Emmy spotlight? Let’s consider the factors working for and against this Gold Derby Emmy MVP:
Oh is a former five-time Emmy nominee, Golden Globe winner and SAG winner.
Her farewell storyline gave major buzz to “Grey’s Anatomy” for the first time in years.
It’s rare for a performer to be invited back to the Emmy party after they’ve been continuously snubbed, and Oh hasn’t been nominated since 2009.
“Grey’s Anatomy” is a network show and the Emmys have a current love affair with cable and streaming series.
The Drama Supporting Actress category is predicted to feature five of last year’s nominees (plus Monaghan), which leaves little room for any surprises.
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