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Michelle Williams took home the award for lead actress in a limited series or movie at Sunday’s 2019 Emmys for her role as Gwen Verdon’s on FX’s Fosse/Verdon, and used her moment in the spotlight to speak about equal pay.
Accepting her award from Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Williams said that the win felt like “an acknowledgement of what is possible when a woman is trusted to discern her own needs, feels safe enough to voice them and respected enough that they’ll be heard. When I asked for more dance classes I heard, ‘Yes’; more voice lessons, ‘Yes’; a different wig, a pair of fake teeth not made of rubber, ‘Yes.’ All of these things they require effort and they cost more money but my bosses never presumed to know better than I did about what I needed in order to do my job and honor Gwen Verdon.”
She also thanked FX and Fox 21st Studios for paying her the same as co-star Sam Rockwell, who stars as Bob Fosse, saying that “they understood that when you put value in a person, it empowers that person to get in touch with their own inherent value and where do they put that value? They put it into their work.”
Williams added, “Next time a woman ?—and especially a woman of color, because she stands to make 52 cents on the dollar compared to her white male counterpart ?—tells you what she needs in order to do her job, listen to her, believe her, because one day she might stand in front of you and say, ‘Thank you for allowing her to succeed because of her workplace environment and not in spite of it.'”
The actress beat out fellow nominees Amy Adams (Sharp Objects), Patricia Arquette (Escape at Dannemora), Joey King (The Act), Aunjanue Ellis (When They see Us) and Niecy Nash (When They See Us). Williams’ win is her first; she is also nominated as an executive producer for Fosse/Verdon, which mark her first two Emmy noms.
The 71st annual Emmy Awards, which went hostless this year, aired live on Fox from Los Angeles’ Microsoft Theater.
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