Why the Emmys are broken if Melanie Lynskey doesn’t get a nomination this year

James Croot is the editor of Stuff to Watch. Listen to the Stuff To Watch podcast by clicking the play button below, or find it on podcast apps like Apple or Spotify.

OPINION: If there is any justice, a Kiwi will be among the Emmy nominees to be announced for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series in the wee hours of next Wednesday morning (July 13) New Zealand time.

While Euphoria’s Zendaya, Ozark’s Laura Linney, and This is Us’ Mandy Moore have been virtual locks for months, momentum has built (including winning the Critics Choice Awards) for our own Melanie Lynskey to be among those around a of the most prestigious vying TV acting awards in the business.

Her portrayal of the troubled and troubled plane crash survivor Shauna Sadecki (née Shipman) in last summer’s surprise hit Yellowjackets (still streaming here in New Zealand on Neon) was lauded by viewers and critics alike – and rightly so.

She delivers an absolutely perfect and beautifully nuanced performance that, like the entire story, only gets richer and more compelling the more time we spend with it.

Initially the former top athlete and straight A-pupil seems a sad, calm figure to the disaffected housewife whose daily highlights now seem to include TV quiz shows and “interactions” with both ceramic and more mechanical rabbits, but it’s not long before she’s a steelier one , darker side revealed.

Not only can Lynskey hold her own against high-profile contemporaries like Juliette Lewis and Christina Ricci, she’s also the standout of the ensemble series.


Melanie Lynskey has created many memorable characters over her nearly 30-year career.

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For those who have followed the nearly 30-year career of the former New Plymouth Girls High School student, who was pulled out of the classroom to play Pauline Parker in Sir Peter Jackson’s 1994 fantasy-infused true-crime novel Heavenly Creatures, an Emmy would be an award -Nomination It wouldn’t just be an award for a single series, it would be a long overdue recognition for one of the most underrated actors in Hollywood. A result of a rare opportunity for a high-profile role that Lynskey grabbed with both hands – and garnered an army of new admirers in the process.

In America in particular, she has been considered one of the queens of the independent film scene for years. A more than reliable performer who can elevate even the most insular, introspective or micro-budget film to must-see status.

Two awards in two years at the Sundance Film Festival, for her performance in The Intervention in 2016 and Macon Blair’s drama I Don’t Feel At Home in this World Anymore in 2017 overall, are testament to that.

Prior to that, there were supporting roles in mainstream films such as Ever After, Sweet Home Alabama, Away We Go, and Coyote Ugly, and two seasons as a guest regular on the Charlie Sheen sitcom Two and a Half Men ( as Charlie’s neighbor Rose). Traveling home over the years for the likes of Snakeskin, Show of Hands and The Changeover.

In fact, now that the rest of the world is finally realizing what many of us Kiwis have known about her abilities for years, it’s hard to believe that Lynskey almost gave up everything after arriving in Hollywood in the mid-1990s.


Melanie Lynskey has garnered plaudits for her role in Yellowjackets, but will she get an Emmy nomination next week?

Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald in 2017, she admitted she was frustrated by casting agents’ obsession with her physical appearance.

“It was very, very painful. Mainly because I was basically anorexic at the time,” she said [I thought] ‘This is me really trying to be skinny and if that’s not enough I don’t know what to do’.”

When she returned to New Zealand, she did an audition for Gaylene Preston that was so half-assed that the director ended up spending an hour with her to go through the things that were making her unhappy and how they could fix it.

“It was basically the first time someone sat down with me and said, ‘I see you’re in trouble.'”

She didn’t get the part, but the therapy session gave her the courage to continue.

Melanie Lynskey plays Shauna Sadecki (née Shipman) in Yellowjackets.


Melanie Lynskey plays Shauna Sadecki (née Shipman) in Yellowjackets.

It’s this openness and honesty off the set (whether in interviews or on social media) that arguably helped Lynskey grow into such an amazing character actor, able to channel humanity and empathy into every role and penetrate, regardless of their background or world. Outlook.

I have been fortunate to interview her on a number of occasions, both in person and over the phone, and I have always found her to be down to earth, charming and extremely thoughtful.

I was the one who accidentally broke her heart by telling her that Cadbury’s was closing their chocolate factory in Dunedin, delighted at how her role in the adaptation of Margaret Mahy’s The Changeover finally allowed her to achieve her dream, in working in a bookstore in Christchurch, while listening carefully. She described her fear of singing in public (“My mother always told me I’m a terrible singer. I literally won’t even sing Happy Birthday if other people do.” sing”) and apologized to Bic Runga for her changeover rendition of Schwanken.

Melanie Lynskey's first film role was in Sir Peter Jackson's 1994 film Heavenly Creatures opposite Kate Winslet.


Melanie Lynskey’s first film role was in Sir Peter Jackson’s 1994 film Heavenly Creatures opposite Kate Winslet.

Lynskey has also always been more than happy to talk about her acting process and praise the skills of her fellow cast and crew members, often in detailed, scholarly — and occasionally hilarious — ways.

“It gives you a really good sense of your own agency and decision making,” she said in 2016 of Changeover co-director Miranda Harcourt, who has known Lynskey since Harcourt first helped and taught her audition for Heavenly Creatures has “Control emotions and conserve energy.” “She makes you feel in control and believes it’s a collaboration.

“She’ll come across and look annoyed, but express that frustration visually and with a grunt. For me, I love that. The worst thing is when someone comes up and says, ‘Can you put it better like that?’ and gives you a “Line reading. Miranda gets into it and just knows how she wants it to feel. It’s very powerful because it’s up to you to interpret what she wants.”


Melanie Lynskey and Sophie Nélisse reflect on how they each brought their Yellowjackets characters to life.

If that’s a lesson she learned early in her own career, there’s one that Lynskey is trying to pass on to the next generation after her, whether it’s Erana James from Changeover or the teenage version of Shauna from Yellowjackets – Sophie Nélisse.

“I always try to convey to all young women that their voice is just as important as everyone else’s. If something is troubling you, for whatever reason, you deserve to have as much say in the conversation as everyone else.”

Yes, she might not be the Emmy pick, but Melanie Lynskey more than deserves to be part of the conversation this year.

The nominations for the 74th Primetime Emmy Awards are scheduled to be announced on Wednesday, July 13 starting at 3:30pm (NZ time). Yellowjackets is now available to stream on Neon.

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