Normal People star Paul Mescal has been quick to praise co-star Daisy Edgar-Jones after he was nominated as Lead Actor in a Limited Series at the Emmy Awards, while she missed out in her equivalent category.
Mescal, who played the endearingly awkward and hesitant Connell in the hit BBC Three series, told Deadline that Edgar-Jones was “just so excited” for all the nominees despite her disappointment. As well as his nomination, Normal People director Lenny Abrahamson has also been nominated.
“I’m the biggest fan of her as an actor,” he said. “I just would not for a second have been able to do anything that I did without her. It wouldn’t have happened.”
He told Vulture that he was disappointed she hadn’t earned an Emmy nom: “If it was me I would have given her all the love in that category. I can’t speak highly enough of the work she did on the show. I know there are extraordinary actresses nominated in that category, but I think Daisy’s work is just phenomenal in this.”
Abrahamson agreed that the Lead Actress category was incredibly competitive this year.
“I was so delighted about Paul, but obviously I was so hoping Daisy would get a nomination as well,” he said. “The thing as well is that her category this year was particularly hard. There were so many amazing people there. It was just so hard, but I think the whole show is about those two, so everybody’s recognition reflects on the two of them as the central engine of the whole story.”
Nominees in Edgar-Jones’ Lead Actress in a Limited Series category are Cate Blanchett (Mrs America), Shira Haas (Unorthodox), Regina King (Watchmen), Octavia Spencer (Self Made) and Kerry Washington (Little Fires Everywhere).
Mescal faces competition from Jeremy Irons (Watchmen), Hugh Jackman (Bad Education), Jeremy Pope (Hollywood) and Mark Ruffalo (I Know This Much Is True).
Abrahamson said Mescal’s honour was “an incredible end to an incredible story” for a young man who hadn’t acted on television before. “For him to be cast, having not been on any drama, and then against so many people with such reputations and such recognition, and yet to make it through to be one of those five [nominees] is just staggering and it speaks to his talent.”
Mescal has his sights on a debut film role. “I would like to start working in film and get my first film credit under my belt. But if an amazing play came along or another series where I felt I had to play that character, those would go straight to the top of the list.”
Find out which other shows and stars were nominated at the Emmy Awards 2020.
Watch Normal People, a co-production between the BBC and US network Hulu, on BBC iPlayer now.
If you’re looking for more to watch, check out our TV guide.