Jeffrey Tambor‘s been nominated seven times prior to tonight (for his roles on The Larry Sanders Show and Arrested Development) but it’s his role as Maura Pfefferman on Transparent that scored him his first win.
He beat out the other seven in the stacked category, Anthony Anderson, Louie C.K., Don Cheadle, Will Forte, Matt LeBlanc and William H. Macy. Jimmy Kimmel kinda-sorta held the nominees hostage while presenting but even he couldn’t take away the seriousness of the moment. Because not only is Tambor’s portrayal of a transgender woman who comes out to her family late in life a groundbreaking one, the actor’s acceptance speech was as well.
“I had a teacher who used to say that when you act you have to act like your life depends on it,” he began. “Now I’ve been given the opportunity to act because people’s lives depend on it.”
Tambor went on to thank creator Jill Soloway, the rest of the cast, then his wife. But the tears either fell or threatened to fall when he dedicated his win to the transgender community.
“Thank you for your patience. Thank you for your courage. Thank you for your stories. Thank you for letting us be part of the change.”
This all followed Soloway’s win for Directing, who after doing the typical thank you’s, she referred to her “Moppa” (the inspiration for Tambor’s character, Moira), saying, “She could go tomorrow and look for an apartment, and in 32 states it would be legal for the landlord to look her in the eye and say, ‘We don’t rent to trans people.’ We don’t have a trans tipping point yet, we have a trans civil rights problem.” She then asked that Americans vote to pass the trans equality bill. Hear, hear.