The Handmaid's Tale was one of the most compelling new series to premiere this year, and it's not surprising that it picked up a handful of Emmy nominations. On Sunday, Alexis Bledel won the Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actress In A Drama Series at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards, and with its 13 nominations, it's likely the series' will pick up more honors during the televised ceremony on Sept. 17.
While Bledel used her moment to thank creators and co-stars, she also recognized the series' lasting impact. She made special note of the show's partnership with Change.org, a pairing that encourages people to speak up about important issues. Given the timeliness of the show, it makes sense that Bledel would use the opportunity to stress the series' greater significance. Her speech would make Ofglen proud.
Bledel gave a career-making performance as Ofglen, and her Emmy speech stressed how the series can and should encourage viewers to take action in their own lives. Her acceptance was brief, but she took the opportunity to discuss the show's partnership Change.org, which according to Deadline, she said was intended "to encourage us all to take action, sign up, speak up and stay awake." She also thanked her co-star Elisabeth Moss and director Bruce Miller for creating a character "who displays such fortitude amongst such devastation and then suggesting that I play her.”
The Handmaid's Tale depicts a dystopian society that is meant to demonstrate how easily an oppressive, tyrannical government can take over when people don't speak up and act. Bledel's character, forced into servitude as one of the handmaids, becomes a part of a rebel group called Mayday after the murder of her wife. Gilead, the regressive society depicted in the series, takes away women's autonomy and no longer allows them to work, read, or even speak freely to each other. Those who are capable of becoming pregnant are reduced to their reproductive capabilities and are routinely objectified. Environmental disaster and ongoing war allows this agenda to take over, and for this reason, many see the story as a eery reflection of the current political moment.
While Bledel didn't address the Trump administration or the current state of American politics directly, she wasn't afraid to further contextualize the show while meeting with press backstage. "I certainly can't speak to every issue, there certainly are so many these days," she said, "but I've certainly been listening a lot and really been engaged in the exchange and I love that my character is so strong in the face of so much adversity, I'm very proud of that, and just can't wait to play her again and get back to work."
Speaking with publications individually, Bledel further discussed the cultural influence of the show. "It’s really an incredible thing when creating art inspires conversation and is thought provoking enough to stand out in this way," She said, according to Variety. "It’s really just an honor to do the work and be a part of that and be a part of the conversation in that way." As a subtle but equally resonant statement, she wore a blue ribbon on her dress in support of the ACLU.
This isn't the first time that Bledel has spoken openly about the message of the series. "[The Handmaid's Tale] brings to light different injustices that perhaps we’re even experiencing currently when it comes to rights and freedoms," she told Vanity Fair in January. "I think that, whew, it just makes it all the more heavy doesn’t it? I'm certainly proud to be part of a story now more than ever that focuses on female characters and certainly is likely to spur many conversations about women’s issues."
The Gilmore Girls actor's win was well deserved. While Rory Gilmore was a complex female character in her own right, the dark, oppressive society of Gilead is a far cry from Stars Hollow. Bledel's portrayal of Ofglen was nuanced and allowed an important story to be told, and it's clear that the star is carrying that responsibility with her outside of the show, as well.