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Arts & Culture

'Olive Kitteridge' Emmy Wins Follow Debate On Roles For Women

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UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: And the Emmy goes to "Olive Kitteridge."

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

"Olive Kitteridge" is the HBO miniseries that was one of the big winners at last night's Emmy awards. It won six Emmys and left many people tweeting, Olive who?

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

"Olive Kitteridge" is an adaptation of a Pulitzer Prize-winning book by the same name. It's about a woman in a small town in Maine wrestling with marriage, motherhood and aging. Here's Frances McDormand accepting her Emmy for her performance as Olive.

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FRANCES MCDORMAND: We're all here because of the power of a story well told. Sometimes that's enough.

SHAPIRO: McDormand spoke with NPR's Melissa Block last year and explained why this story deserved to be told as a miniseries.

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MCDORMAND: Female characters in literature are full. They're messy. They've got runny noses and burp and belch. In - unfortunately, in the - in film, female characters don't often have that kind of richness. Four hours was just enough. Six hours would've been better.

SHAPIRO: In a time when Hollywood doesn't have a lot of rich roles for older women, last night's Emmys were seen as an affirmation. Frances McDormand told NPR she hoped her role would inspire actors of all ages.

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MCDORMAND: One of the reasons that I am doing press again after 10 years absence is because I feel like I need to represent publicly what I've chosen to represent privately, which is a woman who is proud and more powerful than I was when I was younger. And I think that I carry that pride and power on my face and in my body. And I want to be a role model. I want to be an elder. I want to be an eldress.

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MCEVERS: Frances McDormand speaking to NPR's Melissa block last fall about her title performance in HBO's "Olive Kitteridge." McDormand won an Emmy for that portrayal last night. The series won six awards in total. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.