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Michelle Williams Wins Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

Williams noted the complexity of portrayed Gwen Verdon in an expansive IndieWire interview earlier in the year.

"Fosse/Verdon" Michelle Williams

“Fosse/Verdon” Michelle Williams


Michelle Williams has won the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie for her portrayal of Gwen Verdon in FX’s “Fosse/Verdon.”

The biographical miniseries told the story of director-choreographer Bob Fosse (Sam Rockwell) and Verdon, a celebrated actress and dancer. Although the two married and were immensely influential on American entertainment, the duo faced numerous obstacles, including Fosse’s infidelity and medical issues. “Fosse/Verdon” dramatized their story, and Rockwell and Williams portrayed their characters throughout multiple stages of their life.

Williams expressed support for equal pay in the entertainment industry during her acceptance speech, noting that those who feel empowered will reinvest their energy into their art.

The actress discussed her work on “Fosse/Verdon” with IndieWire in an expansive interview last month and noted the complexities of portraying a character’s different ages for a single project. It was significantly more involved than throwing on some makeup and a prosthetic or two: Williams researched footage of Verdon to better emulate her movements and mannerisms at various points in her life to more authentically bring the acclaimed dancer’s persona to the small screen.

“You can just look like an actor wearing makeup, and then the whole thing is ruined,” Williams told IndieWire in an August interview. “So after we were well underway and I realized that we were going to be playing these people at these various ages, I had a little freak out. Luckily, something that’s really helpful when you’re playing a person who existed is that there is this footage. So I really clung to a few pieces of archival material about how Gwen aged and how it changed her body and her voice and her gestures.”

The makeup required for Rockwell and Verdon to portray their characters at varying ages was especially praised, and the miniseries also won an Emmy for Outstanding Makeup for a Limited Series or Movie (Non-Prosthetic).

Williams beat out Amy Adams (“Sharp Objects”), Patricia Arquette (“Escape at Dannemora”), Aunjanue Ellis (“When They See Us”), Joey King (“The Act”), and “Niecy Nash (“When They See Us”) to secure her Emmy in the crowded category.

The 71st Primetime Emmys aired Sunday, Sept. 22 at 8 p.m. ET on Fox. Follow IndieWire on Twitter and Facebook for all the latest Emmys news, including live updates as the awards air Sunday night. You can also read all of IndieWire’s Emmys coverage on our awards homepage.

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