Kaley Cuoco has earned her first Emmy nomination. The actress scored a career first on Tuesday when she became a first-time Emmy nominee in the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series category for her searing performance in HBO Max’s thrilling The Flight Attendant. Cuoco’s Emmy nomination comes five months after she was nominated for her first Golden Globe.
In the lead actress category, Cuoco will be competing against Hacks’ Jean Smart, Shrill‘s Aidy Bryant, Mom‘s Allison Janney and Black-ish‘s Tracee Ellis Ross.
The series also earned an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Comedy Series.
Though Cuoco starred in the Emmy-nominated The Big Bang Theory for 12 seasons, the 35-year-old actress/producer had never earned individual recognition at any of the major awards shows until The Flight Attendant. (Cuoco and her Big Bang co-stars were nominated for six straight ensemble comedy honors at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, from 2012 to 2017.)
In The Flight Attendant, which was renewed for a second season following an intriguing finale, Cuoco stars as Cassie Bowden, a flight attendant who wakes up after a drunken evening of debauchery and sex with a handsome stranger (Michiel Huisman), only to find him gruesomely murdered. Without any recollection of what happened or if she had anything do with his death, Cassie goes down a dangerous spiral as her past demons resurface amid her search for the truth.
Ahead of the series’ launch last November, Cuoco opened up to ET about shedding her Big Bang Theory persona to play a woman who has some demons to contend with.
“I loved everything about her,” she told ET of her character. “Obviously, this girl struggles and she’s got a lot of emotional turmoil, and as we find out in the eight episodes, a lot goes back to her childhood, which is something she’s been running from her entire life. And alcohol is what makes her escape from what has truly happened to her. The trauma of waking up [after] this murder, it’s just adding on and bringing her back to her childhood.”
“I got to play so many different emotions that I’ve never been able to do before. I’ve never had the opportunity, so this was my time,” Cuoco added. “In the last few episodes, she really hits rock bottom and I think I went into the hair and makeup room maybe twice ’cause we just kind of let everything go. And it was so cool ’cause it felt so real and authentic. I’m like, shouldn’t look her best. This is not [that], you know what I mean? So it was kind of cool to get authentic and real and play it as real as I possibly could.”
The 2021 Primetime Emmy Awards, hosted by Cedric the Entertainer, will air live Sunday, Sept. 19 at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on CBS and Paramount+. In the meantime, stay tuned to ETonline.com for complete Emmys coverage.
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