It was more revenge for the nerds Sunday night as, one year after “Game of Thrones” took its first drama series Emmy, the night’s top drama acting prizes went to a pair of young performers — Tatiana Maslany and Rami Malek — from genre shows very much beloved by the Comic-Con crowd.
Maslany won the lead actress in a drama Emmy for “Orphan Black,” a trippy sci-fi thriller that has the 30-year-old Canadian-born actress playing multiple clones. It was her second nomination and first victory.
“I feel so lucky to be on a show that puts women at the center,” Maslany said from the stage.
Malek, 35, meanwhile, won the lead actor in a drama Emmy on his first try for the debut season of “Mr. Robot,” in which he plays Elliot, a lonely, delusional cyber-vigilante aiming to bring down the world's biggest corporation and, in the process, eliminate debt and right income inequality.
“Please tell me you’re seeing this too,” a surprised Malek said, playing off the character’s paranoia. (Earlier, he had told E! he was practicing his losing face.)
“I’m honored to stand here and represent my family and every single person who has helped me to get this far,” Malek continued. “I’m honored to work with a pure visionary in [show runner] Sam Esmail. I wouldn’t be here without you.”
Backstage, a thrilled Maslany expanded on her comments from the stage, talking about “digging deep to discover new instincts and impulses to color each of the characters.”
“It’s a real point of pride for all of us on the show—there’s so much positivity in terms of representation and the way young girls were seeing themselves portrayed on the screen,” she told reporters. “The LGBT community reached out to us as well — there is an immense joy in getting to tell women’s stories that we don’t normally see.”
Maslany’s win was something of a shocker. She prevailed over last year’s winner, Viola Davis (“How to Get Away With Murder”), Taraji P. Henson (“Empire”), Robin Wright (“House of Cards”), Claire Danes (“Homeland”) and Keri Russell (“The Americans”).
Malek triumphed over Bob Odenkirk (“Better Call Saul”), Liev Schreiber (“Ray Donovan”), Matthew Rhys (“The Americans”), Kyle Chandler (“Bloodline”) and Kevin Spacey (“House of Cards”).
He noted in a Times interview the special connection he has developed with Elliot through the show’s two seasons.
“He also brings out some of the better qualities in me," Malek said. "When you constantly work on someone like Elliot to figure out how they tick, it can't help but allow you to ask the same personal questions. And when that happens, it can be either uplifting or quite devastating and sad."
So it wasn’t surprising Malek gave Elliot a shoutout from the podium and, later, backstage.
“I want to honor all the Elliots, because there’s a little bit of Elliot in all of us.”
“We all have things in common with him,” Malek added later. “We live in a world where so many of us feel voiceless, like we’re not being heard by our government or society. I just want everyone, no matter how you grew up — your socioeconomic circumstances that you were born into — to be given a chance like I’ve been given a chance.”