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First-time Emmy nominee Elizabeth Olsen understands your ‘Agatha All Along’ obsession

Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff in "WandaVision."
Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff in “WandaVision.”
(Marvel Studios)

Elizabeth Olsen’s bewitching performance as “WandaVision’s” grief-stricken Wanda Maximoff has landed her a 2021 Emmy nomination.

The Marvel Studios limited series was among the top nominees Tuesday, earning a total 23 nominations including acting honors for Olsen, her co-stars Paul Bettany and Kathryn Hahn, as well as nods for series director Matt Shakman and head writer Jac Schaeffer.

“It’s new for Marvel to be recognized in this world,” Olsen told the Times. “I’m really grateful that we’re being recognized and it’s technically challenging stuff that requires a huge team effort. And I’m really grateful that everyone who deserves to be seen got seen on our production.”

A television series that celebrated the history of TV sitcoms, “WandaVision” followed Wanda over the course of nine episodes as she processed the various tragedies she has experienced, including the death of her lover, Vision.

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Olsen discussed what the Emmy recognition means for her, “WandaVision’s” earworms and more in our conversation, which has been edited for length and clarity.

“The Crown” and “The Mandalorian” dominate the 2021 Emmy nominations. Here are the honorees in the major categories.

Congratulations on your nomination! Did you watch the livestream? How did you hear about the news?

I didn’t watch the livestream. I knew it was happening. I was just letting things happen. I was emptying my dishwasher and my partner was watching the livestream. He kept saying he was more excited than I was, but I just always have to be calm and collected about everything.

I think the thing that I am most excited to hear is that so many departments in our show got nominated. It’s a technically really difficult show. For everyone’s hard work to have been recognized — like, crazy hours, and months and months and months [of work] — I think that that really was the icing for me.

23 nominations is no joke.

No! And I heard that from one of these conversations because I have been running around all day today. I don’t know why I planned so much today but I did.

Has it sunk in yet? How does it feel to be a first-time nominee?

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I was very excited to be feeling like I was considered part of the group of people that were being considered. I feel like there’s so many incredible women out in the world, especially on television right now. So I feel very lucky. I think it’s exciting to be recognized by your own community, and that feels good. I’m like a self-proclaimed underdog, so I wasn’t expecting it. But I certainly feel very grateful for it.

Limited series is an especially competitive category lately.

It is mind-blowing. There’s so much great work out. I feel like you know everyone has all these queues of what TV show to watch next. There’s so many incredible female-driven performances out there.

How does it feel to be able to share this with your “WandaVision” co-stars Paul Bettany and Kathryn Hahn, who were also nominated?

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I mean, those are your people, right? You’re only as good as the people you’re working with. So we all were just trying to lift each other up and have the same work ethic and discipline and fun. It was such a team effort. I feel like sometimes some jobs are crazier than others, and this was just a different level of a challenge. And without the leadership of [director] Matt Shakman, without [head writer] Jac Schaeffer’s writing and vision, we wouldn’t have been able to pull it off. I’m just grateful that the show as a whole, as well as technically, was recognized.

In Marvel’s “WandaVision,” nothing is as it seems. So we prepared an episode-by-episode guide to the Disney+ series for you to keep handy as you watch.

The show’s music was also recognized. Does “Agatha All Along” get stuck in your head — in a good way — as much as it did for the audience?

We sang all of our tunes. I think, maybe, some of the “WandaVision” opening credit songs were some of the ones that were stuck in our heads constantly. And then “Agatha All Along” was this number one hit. You can’t not love it. It’s like the [Baby] Shark song.

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What is it like to reflect on this journey? When you when you started playing Wanda, it was a smaller role in a big franchise film.

I really had no idea that I would have an opportunity like “WandaVision.” I’m really grateful that Kevin Feige wanted to really challenge the audience that we already had. If we’re going to tell a story over television, we might as well make a story that’s also a love song to television, an homage to television, in order to help tell this woman’s story. I’m very grateful for the opportunity that he gave me and for the crew that he built. It was one of the most fulfilling jobs I’ve ever had.

It’s a big week for the women of the MCU. There’s the recognition for “WandaVision,” “Black Widow” is finally out. How has it been to watch this shift from what was more like a boys club?

I feel like they’ve been wanting to get “Black Widow” out for years, I’m so happy it’s finally out for them. Because I think they are trying to feel more rounded when it comes to representation. It’s great that people are enjoying both of these projects and people are showing up to see [them]. That’s only a testament to how you can’t really separate the boys and the girls.

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Since Wanda’s story is going to continue, how do you see “WandaVision” fitting in the overall puzzle for you?

What “WandaVision” did was create a new audience that’s invested in her and I think there are lots of fun ways to take advantage of that investment. And now you get to tell stories that have a bit more weight for the audience now, with them having this previous attachment to her and her journey, and knowledge of her life. I think that’s what’s been the greatest part of the puzzle as a whole for moving forward from here.


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