To the delight of fans who felt it was long overdue, actress Tatiana Maslany won an Emmy for BBC America’s Orphan Black, in which she played eight characters last season.
The 30-year-old Canadian actress won her first ever Emmy for outstanding lead actress in a drama series at the awards ceremony on Sunday (Sept. 18) night. The category included acclaimed actresses such as Robin Wright and Claire Danes—but none of the other nominees carried almost every scene in their shows as Maslany does.
The science-fiction series Orphan Black follows a generation of clones (14 of which have been revealed so far), all played by Maslany, as they attempt to uncover the truth about their shadowy origins.
Maslany appeared in 1,599 minutes, or 96% of the 1,658 minutes, of Orphan Black‘s 40 shows that aired as of June. That’s according to an in-depth, non peer-reviewed analysis by the data visualizer Hannah Recht. (Recht watched the series and recorded how long each character appeared on screen, excluding scene changes and other breaks less than 10 seconds, as well as recaps, title scenes, credits, and previews.) Maslany won for seven of the eight roles she played this season. The character Beth Childs was not listed on the Emmy nomination.
Even more impressive: Each clone has a distinct personality, accent, and appearance. And Maslany, with the help of directors Graeme Manson, John Fawcett, dialect coach John Nelles, and others, manages to make each character feel unique and complex—sometimes playing more than one character in the same scene, and sometimes playing one character masquerading as another clone.
The cable series, which had the lowest ratings of the five programs nominated in the category (excluding Netflix’s House of Cards, which isn’t rated by Nielsen), was recently renewed for its fifth and final season.
The hashtag “#EmmyforMaslany” trended on Twitter Sunday night, as fans rooted and cheered for the actress.