Emmy Awards Diversity Of Nominees Increased
This year’s crop of Emmy contenders reached a new milestone in terms of diversity of the nominees, according to TV managing editor Cynthia Littleton of the well known entertainment industry news magazine Variety. On Monday, the list of final winners represented some significant gains but also reflected how progress comes in fits and starts.
Emmy voters missed the chance to make history by giving the lead drama actress trophy to Sandra Oh of BBC America’s Killing Eve, who was the first Asian-American actress to be nominated in the category.
In the category of lead actor in a limited series, Darren Criss’ win for FX’s The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story marked the second consecutive year that an actor of Asian descent won in the category, following Riz Ahmed’s victory in 2017 for HBO’s The Night Of.
A number of African-American actors and performers were recognized with Emmy Awards this year. Regina King won lead actress in a limited series for Netflix’s crime drama Seven Seconds. Thandie Newton of HBO’s Westworld won supporting actress in a drama. RuPaul and VH1’s RuPaul’s Drag Race made Emmy history with double wins for reality-competition series and reality-competition host.
The comedy and drama guest actor and actress Emmy trophies (presented last weekend during Creative Arts Awards) also went to African-American actors: Tiffany Haddish for Saturday Night Live, Katt Williams for FX’s Atlanta, Ron Cephas Jones for This Is Us and Samira Wiley for The Handmaid’s Tale.
But, as diverse as the actor and performer Emmy nominees were this year, the writing, directing and top producing nominees remained overwhelmingly white.
The LGBT community was well-represented on the Microsoft Theater stage Monday night. FX’s The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story won for limited series with its look at how homophobia impacted the culture and the law enforcement investigation of the serial killer who murdered the famed fashion designer in 1997. Versace exec producer Ryan Murphy (who also won a directing trophy for the show) said he dedicated the award to victims of hate crimes and “all of those taken too soon.”
Backstage, Murphy marveled at how much the TV industry has changed in the two decades since he began his career as a TV writer. “As a gay man who was told when I started in the business I could not even write, in 1998, a gay character, now that I can prosthelytize for my community is important to me,” he said.