Liz Garbus’s experience finding out she was nominated is a unique one for sure. In the span of a few moments, the exceptionally talented director experienced the agony of defeat into the joys of victory. Was it for I’ll Be Gone In The Dark? No, and quite frankly it should have been. However, sometimes good things happen to good people. Garbus was nominated for her direction in the season 4 finale of The Handmaid’s Tale. Did creator Bruce Miller call to tell her? No, it was a Twitter alert from a fan site that let Garbus in on her good fortune. Read on to see more about this special moment.
Dewey Singleton: You seemed genuinely shocked you were nominated.
Liz Garbus: I was definitely shocked that I was nominated for The Handmaid’s Tale. Yes, I was. I mean, I’m thrilled. I’m so proud of the episode, but yeah, it was a bit of a wonderful surprise.
DS: When I spoke with Elizabeth Olsen and she told me she found out about her nomination as she was taking the dishes out of the dishwasher. How did you find out that you were nominated?
LG: Well, actually I had been checking on the website of the Emmys to see, because we had a nonfiction series that I was really hoping would get nominated. It’s called, I’ll Be Gone In the Dark, and actually believed it had a real shot and then I was like, “Oh, crap.” I closed my computer and started walking downstairs. Then I got an alert from Twitter, actually from The Handmaid’s Daily, which said that I had been nominated. At that point, the website for the Emmys was crashing and whatnot so I called my agent who was like, “Damn, I’m trying to refresh” and we were all trying to refresh the site (laughs). So it was from Twitter, from a fan site. That’s been truly amazing.
DS: You realize that fan site’s going to eat up that reaction, that response.
LG: I’m happy for them to blow up they’re a great site.
DS: Now, in terms of the cast, has anybody reached out to you? Has any of the creators or writers?
LG: Yes, I have connected with Bruce, with Warren, with Eric, with our editor Wendy, with Elizabeth Williams, the production designer. I spoke to Bradley. So, yes, there’s been a lot of warmth and it’s really a very wonderful family of people working together. I mean, the acting nominations are a thrill for all those guys and ladies and gentlemen and wish Joe was in there too. But, it’s just really an extraordinary cast and team of writers and frankly, a team of technicians who make the show so gorgeous.
DS: Was there anybody from the show that you were especially pumped to see get nominated?
LG: Yes, of course, I was so pleased to see Elizabeth Williams nominated, and Wendy Hallam who also edited my episode. And all the supporting cast who are so incredible. Again, I wish that Joe was in there, and he’s the loveliest human being on earth, but I think he’s also very, very proud of his work and knows how awesome he is. So yes, I was very pleased for everybody. And of course, for Bruce and Warren, that Lizzie. Goes without saying.
DS: Typically, network TV didn’t do nearly as well in the Emmy nominations as the others did. Do you think that’s the sign of the times, or is it just the sign of how things were in 2020?
LG: Okay .. so, you’re definitely punching above my weight class here. I haven’t looked at it in the holistic sense, but look, the streamers are taking risks. They’re taking risks on talent and on content and it’s paying off.
DS: Well, I appreciate it. I’m just amazed that you found out the way you did. You’re a genuinely wonderful individual who takes on such great risks and constantly makes great content.
LG: Thank you!