The 69th Emmys had a bit of a Holy Cross touch last night as Ann Dowd ‘78 took home the Primetime Emmy for Best Supporting Actress for her work as Aunt Lydia in the Hulu series “The Handmaid’s Tale.”
Dowd was one of two members of the cast of “The Handmaid’s Tale”to be nominated for Best Supporting Actress, as Samira Wiley was also nominated. The other nominees she bested were Millie Bobby Brown (“Stranger Things”), Uzo Aduba (“Orange Is the New Black”), Chrissy Metz (“This Is Us”), and Thandie Newton (“Westworld”). In addition to her Best Supporting Actress win, Dowd also was nominated for another Primetime Emmy, Outstanding Guest Actress, for her work in “The Leftovers.”
“Well, I think this is a dream,” Dowd said in her Best Supporting Actress acceptance speech. “I know it’s an actor’s dream and I’m deeply grateful to you. I don’t have the words, so I thank you.”
“The Handmaid’s Tale” is a Hulu series portraying a dystopian future society where Handmaids, women capable of having children, are severely oppressed and forced into subjugation to wealthy families to dedicate themselves solely to giving birth. Dowd’s character, Aunt Lydia, is a brutal instructor and guardian of the Handmaids. “The Leftovers” is an HBO show about those who were left behind on Earth after the Rapture.
Dowd has carved out a nice career on stage and in movies and television for over 30 years. She has starred in movies such as “Garden State,” “The Manchurian Candidate,” and “Marley and Me.” She also received the National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actress for her work as Sandra in the 2012 thriller “Compliance.”
Unlike many actors and actresses, Dowd was not a theatre major at Holy Cross. She majored in psychology with a concentration in health professions. She was involved in theatre at Holy Cross and at the encouragement of her professors and classmates travelled to New York to audition for the Goodman School of Drama at DePaul University in Chicago, where she earned her MFA.
In 2016, Dowd received an honorary degree from Holy Cross at the 170th Commencement Ceremonies.