Susan Sarandon on Competing with Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon for the Emmy

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Full ScreenPhotos:Vanity Fair and FX’s 2017 Emmy Party Portraits

Rachel Keller, Legion

Photo: Photograph by Justin Bishop.

Rob McElhenney and Kaitlin Olson, *It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia*

Rob McElhenney and Kaitlin Olson, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

Photo: Photograph by Justin Bishop.

Matthew Rhys, *The Americans*

Matthew Rhys, The Americans

Photo: Photograph by Justin Bishop.

Susan Sarandon, *Feud*

Susan Sarandon, Feud

Photo: Photograph by Justin Bishop.

Zazie Beetz, *Atlanta*

Zazie Beetz, Atlanta

Photo: Photograph by Justin Bishop.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead, *Fargo*

Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Fargo

Photo: Photograph by Justin Bishop.

Colton Haynes, *American Horror Story*

Colton Haynes, American Horror Story

Photo: Photograph by Justin Bishop.

Rachel Keller, <em>Legion</em>

Rachel Keller, Legion

Photograph by Justin Bishop.

Rob McElhenney and Kaitlin Olson, <em>It&#39;s Always Sunny in Philadelphia</em>

Rob McElhenney and Kaitlin Olson, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

Photograph by Justin Bishop.

Matthew Rhys, <em>The Americans</em>

Matthew Rhys, The Americans

Photograph by Justin Bishop.

Susan Sarandon, <em>Feud</em>

Susan Sarandon, Feud

Photograph by Justin Bishop.

Zazie Beetz, <em>Atlanta</em>

Zazie Beetz, Atlanta

Photograph by Justin Bishop.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead, <em>Fargo</em>

Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Fargo

Photograph by Justin Bishop.

Colton Haynes, <em>American Horror Story</em>

Colton Haynes, American Horror Story

Photograph by Justin Bishop.

On the Saturday night before the Emmys, an assemblage of television stars from the stable of FX shows gathered at Craft, in Century City, Los Angeles, to celebrate its 55 nominations. For the second consecutive year, Vanity Fair and FX teamed up to host a starry, festive affair ahead of television’s biggest night. Actors from Atlanta, Feud, Louie, Better Things, American Horror Story, and more sipped on cocktails and enjoyed hors d’oeuvres as they caught up, comparing notes on their awards weekend plans and celebrating their success over the past year.

Susan Sarandon and Stanley TucciFeud co-stars and both nominees—huddled in the center of the candlelit event sponsored by Genesis, Santa Margherita Wines, and Viktor&Rolf Flowerbomb. Real life-couple and The Americans co-stars Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys held court in the back of the restaurant, almost always surrounded by a group of well-wishers. Louis C.K. made his rounds through the room to greet American Horror Story’s Billy Eichner and Baskets star Zach Galifianakis, the latter of whom stopped by the party in a windbreaker and beanie. Feud’s Kiernan Shipka—sporting a striking new curly-haired look—and American Horror Story’s Allison Pill (a new entrant in the Ryan Murphy universe) chatted excitedly upon entering. American Horror Story stars Colton Haynes and Cheyenne Jackson caught up, joined by their respective significant others. And Atlanta’s Donald Glover—dressed in a bold white-and-blue printed button-down—was the man of the hour, seen by many as a front-runner in the best actor in a comedy category.

Upon seeing Louis C.K. and Pamela Adlon, Susan Sarandon literally bowed down to her FX peers. Moments later, Adlon explained that she and Sarandon had an unlikely connection: her eldest daughter Gideon and Sarandon’s son Miles Robbins actually just filmed a movie together called Pact.

“They got to be best friends,” laughed Adlon. “So Gideon will tell me, ‘Mom, Susan says, ‘Hi.’ But I still geek out over her.”

Adlon is nominated in the Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for her series Better Things, which she co-created, produces, writes, and stars in. The critically lauded comedy, which debuted its second season earlier this week, is deeply personal for Adlon—as it is inspired by her experience raising three daughters as a single mother. Having worked in the industry since she was 12 years old—her biggest previous parts being the supporting-actress and voice-acting variety—the breakthrough is still unexpected.

“It is very meaningful to do this kind of thing. . . running your life and being your own boss,” Adlon said. “Being able to work right now at the age I am right now is impossible. That I am exploding. . .It is impossible. You know what, I am Tootsie. When he is on the cover of Time.” Adlon also touched upon her Best Actress in a Comedy Series category’s stacked competition including Tracee Ellis-Ross (black-ish), Allison Janney (Mom), Ellie Kemper (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep). . . not to mention a few other Hollywood legends.

“I just want to get to Monday because the reality that I am competing against Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin who are my heroes of my life, I don’t want to be the person to unseat them, or Julia Louis-Dreyfus. I can run a show. I can direct, star, and take care of everybody on set. Two countries, two crews, a breeze. This weekend: I am shaking like a leaf. I have so much anxiety to even leave the house. It is too much spotlight on me. I could burst into tears right now.”

Minutes later, on a candlelit terrace, an awards veteran Sarandon revealed that those nerves never really subside—even when you’ve collected 10 total Emmy and Oscar nominations, and one actual Academy Award.

“Zac Posen made a dress for me, which was so generous,” said Sarandon. “So it was not as traumatic as it usually is because I don’t decide on what I wear until the last minute. And there are so many of us [from the cast] who are nominated, it should be fun.” (Sarandon said that she stays in touch with the Joan Crawford to her Bette, nominated co-star, Jessica Lange, but that she has not seen Lange in a while because Lange has been in Montana.)

Sarandon reflected on the strange coincidence of being nominated for an Emmy for playing Bette Davis—a real life role that “has kind of been chasing me my entire life.”

“She actually approached me about playing her but there was not a script,” Sarandon said of the Oscar-winning legend, whom she played on Ryan Murphy’s first season of the anthology series Feud. “I felt that I had an opportunity to really give people a look at a person that the younger generation might not know. I really respect her and I found that we were very similar in our attitude towards the business.”

Like Adlon, Sarandon is also nominated in an incredibly tight category—best actress in a limited series—which includes four Oscar winners as contenders: Sarandon, Lange, and their Big Little Lies counterparts Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon.

Asked whether she is friendly with the Big Little Lies nominees, Sarandon said, “I don’t know Nicole.” (Though she pointed out that she is friends with Kidman’s best friend, fellow Australian Naomi Watts.) Referencing a 1998 thriller Twilight, which Sarandon starred in opposite Paul Newman and Gene Hackman, and a twentysomething Witherspoon, the Emmy nominee said, “I worked with Reese when she was young.”

She explained with a shoulder shrug, “I am kind of out of the Hollywood thing.”

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