Emmys 2016: ‘People v. O.J. Simpson’ Scores Big; Sarah Paulson Takes Trophy

68th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards - Arrivals
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LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 18: Actress Sarah Paulson attends the 68th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 18, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.

The big winner of the 68th Primetime Emmy Awards was FX’s The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story with five wins for Outstanding Limited Series, plus writing (for the “Marcia, Marcia Marcia” episode) and acting: Courtney B. Vance, Sarah Paulson and Sterling K. Brown. (Including the Creative Arts Emmys, the miniseries came in second overall in total Emmys this year, behind HBO’s Game of Thrones.)

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Executive producer Ryan Murphy explained backstage “the great thing about the brilliant scripts by Larry [Karaszewski] and Scott [Alexander] and D.V. [DeVincentis, who wrote “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia”] and Joe [Robert Cole], in the wrong hands it could have been very tabloidy.” He added that all the writers “worked really had to make it about something deeper and more serious and more modern so that’s what we’re doing moving forward with American Crime Story, the miniseries.”

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After winning for her role as Prosecutor Marcia Clark, Paulson told reporters backstage that “playing a real person while they’re still living is a big responsibility.” That said, she intentionally did not meet Clark until deep into filming. “Ryan was really insistent that I not meet her until I had enough of it filmed meaning that I would not be thrown or anything by meeting her,” the first time Emmy-winner said.

Once she did talk to Clark, “she didn’t give me any advice, but she was very, very communicative about how much gratitude had for what the series did in general to sort of bring a brighter light in a positive way,” Paulson said. “She was under such scrutiny. You have to remember, she was a public servant. She wasn’t an actress.”

Vance, who was unable to talk to his alter ego, Johnnie Cochran, who died in 2005, said he had been a big fan of O.J. Simpson from his football career and had blocked out the murders and case during the infamous trial in 1995. “This was an opportunity to educate myself as to what happened,” he explained. “It was an educational process for me.”

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Brown was never able to talk to Christopher Darden but was glad to offer a clearer picture of him in the miniseries: “I think a lot of us had a very two-dimensional portrayal of who he was, sort of being inept and bumbling at his job and from reading and the research that I did, I didn’t find that to be the case at all. I found, like most people, everybody does the best that they can until they know how to do better and I wanted to show somebody who’s doing the best they knew how to at that particular time.”

Asked about the ongoing public fascination with the case, executive producer Nina Jacobson said, “The case touches on everything that America is obsessed about: Race, gender, class and justice and the fact that justice is not blind, not so nearly as it wants to be.”