'Orange Is the New Black': Laverne Cox Compares Emmy Nom to Sidney Poitier's Oscar

Laverne Cox
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NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 10:  Laverne Cox attends the amfAR Inspiration Gala New York 2014 at The Plaza Hotel on June 10, 2014 in New York City.

Orange Is the New Black breakout Laverne Cox is the Emmys' first openly transgender acting nominee. And while she sees it as a notable moment, the fight's not over.

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After thanking Whoopi Goldberg for being her own role model, Cox said that her whirlwind year hasn't been without its pressures. "It gets to me sometimes," she admitted, adding that over the past weekend, she found herself thinking about Sidney Poitier, who became the first black person to win a best actor Oscar, in 1964 for Lilies of the Field. "What he says about that moment is that he didn't feel that he had overcome as black actors because he was the only one. So I think that the revolution begins when it's not just me, and there's more of us."

Cox, who plays resident salon maven Sophia Burset on the Netflix prison dramedy from creator Jenji Kohan, received a nomination in the outstanding guest actress in a comedy series category. Her nomination is one of a dozen given to Orange Is the New Black, including outstanding comedy series and acting recognition for stars Taylor Schilling, Kate Mulgrew, Uzo Aduba and Natasha Lyonne.

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Cox said that she had been playing the same role repeatedly before joining Orange. "I was waiting for a part that really had nuance, complexity and dimension," she explained, commenting that the episode that revealed her character's backstory was her "This is it!" moment. "I just wanted to do my best, give it all and show people what I've got, and I have an Emmy nomination now!"

She concluded, "I hope that people out there now can associate being transgender with being accomplished, being successful and achieving your dreams."

Season 2 of Orange Is the New Black is now streaming on Netflix.

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