Laverne Cox became the first openly transgender actress to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy on Thursday when the Emmy Award nominations were announced.
With 12 nominations, Orange is the New Black is just behind Game of Thrones’ 19 nominations and House of Cards’ 16 nominations, also a Netflix hit.
Taylor Schilling (Piper) was nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, Kate Mulgrew (Red) for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series and Natasha Lyonne (Nikki), Uzo Aduba (Crazy Eyes) and Laverne Cox (Sophia) all up for the Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series category.
Liz Friedman and Jenji Kohan were nominated for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, Jodie Foster was nominated for Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series, and the show has been nominated for Outstanding Comedy Series.
When told of her nomination, Lyonne thought it was a joke.
“I’m on an airplane, about to take off,” Lyonne said when she found out. “This is highly illegal, which is in keeping. I’m breaking the law. They keep saying, ‘Shut off your phone,’ and I’m saying, ‘Make me. I dare you. You’re going to have to handcuff me if you want me to get off my phone right now.’ But I’m over the moon.”
Schilling is excited for all the nominations she and her cast members have received. She said that while she doesn’t know what she’ll wear yet, it won’t be her prison outfit.
“Oh, my god. Someone would have the right to throw eggs at me if I wear orange,” she said. “I am so proud of our show. I could not be more proud of everyone.”
Cox said she cried when she found out about her nomination.
“My agent of seven years, Paul, was the first person to call me. I’d auditioned for other agents in the past who all told me, ‘I can’t do anything with you, you’re trans, I don’t think you’ll be able to get work,’” Cox said. “But Paul saw something in me and took a chance.”
Cox, an outspoken advocate for the transgender community, hopes to inspire others.
“I’m just really proud of who I am. I love myself today – and I don’t every day. It’s something I have to work at. My career and my life changed when I started accepting and embracing myself more. I hope this inspires my other black, trans folks to pursue their dreams, too,” she said.
Click here to see the entire list of nominees. The 2014 Primetime Emmy Awards premier August 25 at 8 p.m. Eastern on NBC.