Right here and now, we're declaring 2016 the year of Sarah Paulson. You can argue that assessment but when looking back on the plethora of television entertainment we were provided over the past year, it's hard not to recognize the outstanding -- and very hard -- work that Ms. Paulson has delivered.
Not only did she shoot "American Horror Story: Hotel" and "People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story" simultaneously, the Emmy-winning actress brought six different characters to three different shows and that right there is an accomplishment worth recognizing.
2016 began with Hypodermic Sally's quest for love and acceptance ending on "American Horror Story: Hotel." Not only did she find the attention she firmly required in various social media channels, Paulson dug deep into her actor toolbox to tap into the dark emotional spectrum to bring a tortured character like this to life. And to help bring herself back to the light, the actress brought "Murder House" favorite Billie Dean Howard back into the "AHS" canon... Even if only for a fleeting "Hotel" moment.
As we mentioned above, Paulson portrayed Sally McKenna on "AHS: Hotel" during the exact same time she took on the landmark undertaking of bringing Marcia Clark to life on "People v. O.J. Simpson." For many actors, that may seem like an impossible feat, but when you look closely at both characters, you might find small character features -- cigarettes and odd hairstyles -- that helped to keep Paulson grounded in her work.
With "Hotel" behind her and "People v. O.J. Simpson" being showered with Emmy praise, Sarah Paulson dove back into her ongoing partnership with Ryan Murphy in the most meta "American Horror Story" season yet. Here, she tapped into two new characters -- and one "AHS" fan favorite -- to equally engage audiences. Starting off as Shelby Miller, "Roanoke" soon peeled back multiple curtains to explore our obsession with true-crime/docu-series entertainment.
From her re-enactment portrayal of Shelby to her performance as Audrey Tisdale -- the British actress who played Miller in "My Roanoke Nightmare" -- fans raved at the confusing brilliance of Ryan Murphy's latest. It was a found footage tale wrapped up in a reality TV bow.
And just when you wondered if it was the best season of the genre series so far -- sorry, nothing can beat "Asylum" -- Paulson dug deep into her repertoire of characters and brought Lana Winters back for one more hoorah.
Sally, Billie, Marcia, Shelby, Audrey and Lana... Aside from the likes of Tatiana Maslany -- who has brought too many wonderful roles to "Orphan Black" -- we can't think of any other actress in recent memory to do what Sarah Paulson has accomplished. And as she prepares to bring actress Geraldine Page to life in Ryan Murphy's upcoming series "Feud," there's really no sign she plans to slow down anytime soon.