Emmy Nominee Sarah Paulson Talks ‘Nerve-Racking’ Shocker, Surprising Snubs and Her Friendly Competition

“I never have confidence that those things are going to happen because I’m still too much of a little kid who dreamt of being an actress,” the “American Horror Story” actress tells TheWrap

“American Horror Story: Hotel” star Sarah Paulson scored her fourth Primetime Emmy nomination on Thursday, and spoke to TheWrap about being completely surprised by it — despite executing the daunting task of playing two characters who also happened to share the same body.

“I did not think I was going to get it. These kind of things are always very nerve-racking,” Paulson said hours after the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences announced the nominees. “It sounds super silly, but I really wanted the nomination for the character I played. I just thought Bette and Dot, I just thought it would be so wonderful if they got nominated.”

One might assume that after three previous nominations — two for “American Horror Story” and one for her role in HBO movie “Game Change” — Paulson would be used to the recognition, but she remains humble and in touch with her inner child after scoring a spot in the Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Limited Series Or a Movie category.

“I never have confidence that those things are going to happen because I’m still too much of a little kid who dreamt of being an actress,” Paulson said. “And having these things happen would be something I would fantasize about, so the fact that it’s happening is a bit surreal.”

TheWrap’s Q&A with Paulson just moments after she was nominated on Thursday morning.

TheWrap: What was your immediate reaction to getting nominated again?
Sarah Paulson:
I screamed. I always tend to scream a little bit. I can’t help it. I’m like a five year old. I sort of yelped with joy, and then it was very quickly followed by the excitement about how many nominations the show got… Sometimes not everyone gets in, so it was just so wonderful to see how much love the show got. I felt very proud to be a part of it.

Did you think anybody that you’re a fan of got snubbed?
I really love Janet McTeer. I really love Cynthia Nixon. I love Susan Sarandon, so I was expecting all of them to be in there. It just goes to show you that nothing is guaranteed. So as many people who were excited for me and expecting it, I sure was not. I just wasn’t.

Who is your stiffest competition in your category?
I think all of them. It’s a very extraordinary list of actresses [Regina King, Angela Bassett, Kathy Bates, Zoe Kazan, Mo’Nique]. All of them, except for Mo’Nique, I actually know and are people I would consider friends, so it’s very sweet company to be in… the Emmys will be a blast for me, no matter what.

Are there any people who discouraged you along the way on your path to stardom that can now eat their words? Who would be the Emmy revenge target of your speech if you win?
No one ever discouraged me. But there were plenty of people when I was running around the room re-enacting scenes from the my favorite movies who would probably like to have put earplugs in their ear, and when I was screeching “The sun will come out tomorrow” at the top of my lungs, are probably thinking they saw some early work of mine… No one was ever discouraging me. I had a very supportive bunch.

Then on the flip side, who would you like to thank for supporting you?
My sister and my best friend, Amanda, who has always been a huge champion of mine. My sister Elizabeth, in particular, has always been — there were many years when I wasn’t working, and nothing was taking off, and I wasn’t getting traction anywhere. I worked a little bit, and I wouldn’t work again for a long time. My sister just always had enormous faith in me and somehow it was enough to make me think that maybe she was right, and I just kept going.