Sandra Oh Stands Behind Striking Writers

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Stylishly dressed Sandra Oh may look the part of Hollywood star, but get her talking about the writers' strike and her Canadian sensibility comes blasting through.

"There are some Canadian crew members on Grey's Anatomy, and myself and the Canadian crew are talking about the strike in a way that is much more socialist based than the Americans," the 36-year-old actress tells The Canadian Press.

"We get the point. We're like: 'Absolutely, you have to strike.' This is the most important industry strike ever. It speaks tremendously to how the media is run globally now, and the rights of thousands and thousands of workers. I am really hoping that the producers come to the table and are fair to the writers."

Sandra Oh was in her native country Monday to be honored by the Women in Film and Television organization with this year's CTV International Achievement Award.

It was a good day for the Ottawa-based Oh family - Sandra's beaming parents were on hand to watch their actress daughter get feted by her Canadian peers while her brother, Raymond, was spending the day doing his final oral exam on his PhD thesis on medical genetics at the University of Toronto.

"I am extremely proud of him," Sandra Oh says, crediting her South Korean-born parents with their children's successes. Her sister, Grace, is a B.C. Crown attorney.

"They were extremely loving parents but they were also really disciplined. They were tough on us. Their expectations were high; they're still high."

Sandra Oh Picture

It's family, in fact, that has kept Sandra Oh so grounded.

"People are crazy. Actors are notoriously crazy. And when you go down to L.A., people are even crazier. And fortunately I had an extremely stable, loving upbringing. My siblings and I are very close, and that means something."

Oh's acting career began in the early 1990s when she beat out hundreds of other actresses for the coveted title role in the CBC movie The Diary of Evelyn Lau.

Since then, she's been pretty much unstoppable, starring in films like Sideways and Under the Tuscan Sun before landing the part of the ferociously ambitious Dr. Cristina Yang on the ABC powerhouse hit, Grey's Anatomy.

Oh has won both a Golden Globe and a Screen Actor's Guild award as Dr. Yang, and is delighted with the direction being taken by her character this season.

Cristina was left at the altar by her former boyfriend, played by Isaiah Washington, and is now butting heads with his replacement, Dr. Erica Hahn (Brooke Smith).

"I really think the show is about women and hopefully it will keep exploring what it's like to be a female doctor. I am hoping their relationship will delve into that," Sandra Oh says.

"It's interesting - it's a good obstacle for Cristina, because she's so driven. What do you when you're like Cristina and suddenly you have a huge obstacle in your path?"

Pre-strike, the Grey's Anatomy set was considerably calmer this year, Oh says, but is quick to add that the peace isn't entirely due to Isaiah Washington's absence.

"I'm not going to put everything on him because that's not the case and everything that happened, it's almost impossible to comment on," she said.

"But I can tell you that this year the set and the production has found an easier footing. I think that has to do with being in Season 4, and the popularity of Grey's cresting and finding a good foothold because it was madness for a couple of years, it really was. I think people are now managing their stress levels a lot better."

Sandra Oh says she's not too concerned that viewers may forever tune out of Grey's Anatomy if the strike drags on for a long time.

"Grey's Anatomy is really strong and we have a loyal following. If anything, hopefully we can tell them we want to bring you the show, but write to Disney."

For now, Sandra Oh says she's simply delighted to be back home for a few days and is revelling in that most dreaded of Canadian institutions - winter.

"Stepping out into that Ottawa air - it was like a winter wonderland, there was all this beautiful snow," Oh said of her arrival in Canada.

"Los Angeles has the most amazing weather, but it's a giant summer. For me, in fact, it's been a 12-year summer. I miss winter terribly, I really do."

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.


Grey's Anatomy Quotes

Life is too precious to waste doing anything less than what makes us happy.


MEREDITH: "You don't get to call me a whore. When I met you, I thought I had found the person that I was going to spend the rest of my life with. I was done! All the boys and all the bars and all the obvious daddy issues, who cares? I was done. You left me. You chose Addison. I'm all glued back together now. I make no apologies for how I chose to repair what you broke. You don't get to call me a whore."
DEREK: "This thing with us is finished. It's over."
MEREDITH: "Finally."
DEREK: "Yeah, it's done."
MEREDITH: "It is done."