Image courtesy of The Emmys
By Noelia Veras
Hollywood has since its inception unfairly and disproportionately praised white creatives while ignoring talented minorities, especially black actors. On July 28, Emmy nominations were announced and since then there has been a lot of discourse surrounding these nominations. Notably, the nominations are the most inclusive they have ever been as they highlight the efforts of more performers of color and performers who are a part of the LGBTQ+ community.
Mirroring the efforts announced by the Oscars in early July, the Emmys took this step toward inclusivity by completely altering the nominee formula.
“To align the nominations selection process across all awards categories and to allow for more inclusiveness in the recognition of excellence, the number of nominees per category will now be based on the number of submissions in each category,” The Television Academy announced on the Emmys website. “Emmy submissions for 2020 have increased by 15% over the previous competition year.”
The increase in submissions is a reflection of the number of new voices, new television platforms and tremendous growth in content from existing platforms across our industry,” said Television Academy Chairman and CEO Frank Scherma. “Despite production suspension resulting from COVID-19, there is a wealth of excellent work submitted for this year’s competition.”
Of the 102 total acting nominations, 33% of these nominations went to Black actors. According to a report from The Los Angeles Times, this is more than double the representation in the past as only 14% of nominations in the past five years have included Black actors.
Some of the nominated Black actors include Zendaya in Euphoria, Billy Porter in Pose, Maya Rudolph in The Good Place and in Saturday Night Live, Tracee Ellis Ross in black-ish, Jeremy Pope in Hollywood, Issa Rae in Insecure, Kerry Washington in Little Fires Everywhere, Octavia Spencer in Self Made: Inspired By The Life Of Madam C.J. Walker, Regina King in Watchmen, Andre Braugher in Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and William Jackson Harper in The Good Place.
HBO series Watchmen received 26 nominations, achieving the role of most overall Emmy nominations for 2020. The show is based on a graphic novel and highlights the history of racism in America.
Ramy Youssef earned his first Emmy nomination with self-titled television show Ramy. This nomination is revolutionary as it is the first Muslim American sitcom to ever be nominated for an Emmy. Youssef is nominated for both Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy and for Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series.
CNN reported that although this step toward inclusivity is a positive one, there are still some gaping holes in the Emmys efforts. CNN notes that, “while Billy Porter, who is Black, was nominated for lead actor in a drama series for ‘Pose,’ none of the central trans actors on the show received a nod.”
Further, Asian and Hispanic representation was severely lacking in this year’s nominations. Although Sandra Oh received a nomination for Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her work on Killing Eve, Asian artists were not well represented.
Similarly, only one Latinx actor, Alexis Bledel, received a nomination. Bledel received a nomination for Outstanding Guest in a Drama Series for her work on The Handmaid’s Tale.
The Emmys are certainly heading in the right direction, but the efforts for recognizing minority talent must continue. The Emmys this year must go beyond nominations and also recognize wins for minority creatives.
The 72nd Emmy Awards will be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel and will have its first-ever Black producer Reginald Hudlin. The show will air on September 20 on ABC.