Me & My Emmy

Me and My Emmy: Alfre Woodard

Bent, beaten or waterlogged, she loves her awards.

  • Corey Nickols

Primetime Emmy Tally: Four

How She Got the Gold: One as outstanding lead actress in a miniseries or special, for HBO’s Miss Evers’ Boys (1997); one as outstanding supporting actress in a drama series, for NBC’s Hill Street Blues (1984); and two as outstanding guest actress in a drama series, for ABC’s The Practice (2003) and NBC’s L.A. Law (1987).

Now for the Noms: Seventeen in all: for lead roles in the drama series St. Elsewhere (1986) and the telefilms Unnatural Causes (1987), A Mother’s Courage: The Mary Thomas Story (1990) and The Piano Lesson (1995); for supporting performances in the telefilms Words by Heart (1985), The Water Is Wide (2006), Pictures of Hollis Woods (2008) and Steel Magnolias (2013), plus the miniseries Gulliver’s Travels (1996) and the comedy series Desperate Housewives (2006); also for guest performances in the drama series Homicide: Life on the Street (1998), True Blood (2011) and again for St. Elsewhere (1988).

Class Reunion: “On Emmy night, you get to see all the kids in school — we laugh, hug and cut up. When you are fortunate enough to work, you see only your scene partners and your crew. But we are all bound together by this very strong bond of kinship.”

The Big Shake: “My first two Emmys lived happily on the top shelf of the bookcase in my office. In ‘94, the Big One hit and they came careening down; their wings embedded through the carpet into the hardwood floor beneath. After that, I gathered them up and they lived on the floor with my books.”

The Big Flood: “Several years later, I had the good fortune to add a third to the sisterhood. She lived in the family room with other family trophies — all on the floor. An El Niño hit that January, and that room was under a foot of water. She wears the damage like a badge of honor.”

Stand and Deliver: “My fourth Emmy has escaped earthquakes and floods. She’s shiny but thirsty, since we’ve been in severe drought for most of her tenure. People say I should get them fixed. I like who they are. They bear witness to my journey, my L.A. history. They are dinged, scarred, aged, resilient and beautiful. Just like me and my colleagues, who are still standing.”


This article originally appeared in emmy magazine, Issue No. 7, 2017