Lizzy Caplan Thought Emmy Nomination 'Was Not Going to Happen'

07/10/2014 at 05:05 PM EDT

Lizzy Caplan Surprised by First Emmy Nomination
Lizzy Caplan and Michael Sheen
Craig Blankenhorn/SHOWTIME
Good thing Lizzy Caplan doesn't give too much credence to her daily horoscope.

The 32-year-old actress, who portrays sexual pioneer Virginia Johnson in Showtime's buzzy drama Masters of Sex, had checked her horoscope before today's Emmy nominations, and the outlook was not good.

"Four of them pretty much said it was not going to be the best day, so lower my expectations," Caplan tells PEOPLE. "I really needed to get a life. Not getting a nomination wasn't the worst thing that could happen. I felt fortunate that I even had the luxury of stressing out about something like this."

That stress melted away this morning when Caplan, who was at home in Los Angeles recovering from a bout of bronchitis, got an early call from a friend about her first-time nomination – one of five for the first-year drama series.

"I had come to the conclusion that it was not going to happen for me, but probably for the show and definitely for Michael Sheen," admits Caplan, who until this series, was best known for her role in 2004's Mean Girls. "I'm very shocked."

While Caplan's costar Michael Sheen, who plays Dr. William Masters, was overlooked, the show received nominations in a variety of other categories. Allison Janney earned a guest-starring nod for her role as the sexually frustrated wife of Beau Bridges, who also earned a nomination of his own for playing Masters' closeted boss.

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