After wowing us on Stranger Things, Millie Bobby Brown got her first Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series at the age of 13. And while that sounds pretty young, Brown isn't the youngest actor to be nominated for an Emmy. That honor goes to Keisha Knight Pulliam, who was nominated for her work as Rudy Huxtable on The Cosby Show when she was just a 6-year-old. However, there's still a possibility that Brown could become the youngest Emmy winner on Sunday, September 17.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, 14-year-old Roxana Zal was the youngest person to win a primetime Emmy when she took home the prize in 1984 for "the incest-themed, movie-of-the-week" Something About Amelia. Brown, just a year younger, could make history by breaking Zal's 33-year streak. Pulling off this historic win certainly won't be easy for Brown, though, since she's up against some stiff competition in her category. She'll have to beat out Uzo Aduba of Orange Is The New Black, Samira Wiley and Ann Dowd of The Handmaid's Tale, Chrissy Metz of This Is Us, and Thandie Newton of Westworld.
If that wasn't enough, Brown is also contending against three decades in which no minor has taken home this prize. So, despite Eleven taking down the Demogorgon, the actor may need more than telekinetic powers to beat this record.
It's actually been a while since anyone even close to her age has been nominated in the major categories. TV Guide reported that Brown is "the first minor to be nominated since Frankie Muniz was shortlisted at 15 in 2001 for Malcolm in the Middle." He was up for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, but lost to Will & Grace's Will McCormack. It's also the first time an under 18 actor has been nominated in a drama category since 16-year-old Claire Danes was nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for My So-Called Life in 1995. She lost that award to Kathy Baker for Picket Fences.
According to TV Guide, only one performer under 18 has actually won a statue for full-time "series work." (Zal won Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or a Movie.) Funnily enough, it was in Brown's category 40 years ago. Family's Kristy McNichol won Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series back in 1977 when she was just 15 — and again two years later — making her the youngest person to win an Emmy in the major acting categories. If Brown wins, she'll also gain this slightly less historic record. In the award show's 68-year history only 11 performers under the age of 18 have been nominated. With such paltry numbers, in 2011, The Hollywood Reporter decided to look at why the Emmy weren't giving child actors the respect they deserve.
The Academy's SVP of Awards, John Leverence, said that, in the Golden Age of TV, adult actors have trouble getting noticed and "kids are more easily lost in the shuffle." Mae Whitman, who started acting at the age of 6, said,"I really do think kids get overlooked because we don't make it look like 'real work.'"
It's hard to believe Brown is worried about any of this, though. When she found out she'd been nominated, she wrote a sweet message on Instagram that talked more about the 18 nominations her Stranger Things co-stars, creators, and crew racked up rather than her own nom. Specifically, she shouted out David Harbour, who plays Chief Hopper, and is nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series. "You completely deserve this because you are a phenomenal actor and to watch you work is inspiring and educating!" she wrote, before adding, "To all of the directors, writers and producers, congrats! Wohooooo! Let's win this thing."
It seems Brown knows that it's just an honor to be nominated whatever age you are. But winning is even better, and, for her, it could even be historic.