Magazine article Variety

Emmy Diversity Colors Comedy, Limited Categories

Magazine article Variety

Emmy Diversity Colors Comedy, Limited Categories

Article excerpt

FOR the second year in a row, the Television Academy can laugh at movies' #OscarsSoWhite problem.

Actors of color nabbed 18 of the major 73 acting nominations in the Emmy categories of lead and supporting performers in drama, comedy, and limited series. That's just shy of 25%, and even an improvement over last year's historic showing, in which 16 actors of color were among the 75 nominees.

Every lead performance category featured a nominee of color this year.

First-time nominee Rami Malek, who is Egyptian-American, broke into the club for lead actor in a drama, which last year was entirely white.

Similarly, "Black-ish" star Tracee Ellis Ross broke the color barrier in lead actress for a comedy, which was also an all-white slate last year. Ross is the first black woman nominated in the category since Phylicia Rashad in 1986 for "The Cosby Showf

Compared to back-toback years of all-white acting nominations at the Academy Awards, this year's nominations indicate that Emmy voters are seeking out and are intrigued by stories that include créatives from different ethnic and racial backgrounds.

In the category of lead actor in a limited series, half of the nominated actors are black men: Idris Elba, Cuba Gooding, Jr., and Courtney B. Vance.

It's difficult to imagine what kind of demographic acrobatics the Oscars would have to attempt to come even close to that kind of representation in a single category, considering that the film awards have nominated exactly three black male performers, total, since 2012.

At the same time, the distribution of awards indicate some interesting trends and biases about diversity in television - in other words, there is always more work to be done.

Latino actors were almost completely shut out again this year, with a nomination in narration for "Jane the Virgin"'s Anthony Mendez and a nom in the easily overlooked shortform performances for "Crossroads of History" actor Oscar Núñez.

And aside from Malek's work in "Mr. Robot" (in which he plays a white character), television drama series nominees are not exactly a diverse bunch.

The regular casts of "The Americans," "Better Call Saul,""Downton Abbey;' "Game of Thrones,""Homeland," and "House of Cards" were almost entirely white this season.

There are a couple of exceptions (notably, Michael Mando in "Better Call Saul," Nathalie Emmanuel and Jacob Anderson in "Game of Thrones," and Annet Mahendru in "The Americans," though her Russian character was written out of the show this season). …

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