Are the Emmy Awards Moving Backwards?

By N. Jamiyla Chisholm Jul 17, 2019

It seems the Emmy Awards are moving backwards. When the 2019 nominations were announced Tuesday (July 16), only 26 of them were for actors or reality show hosts of color, compared to last year’s total of 38 (and 2017’s total of 27), Deadline reports. Actors of color were shut out of the Lead Actress in a Comedy, Supporting Actress in a Drama, Supporting Actor in a Comedy, Supporting Actress in a Comedy and Guest Actor in a Comedy Series categories.

There were some moments to celebrate, however. “When They See Us,” written and directed by Ava DuVernay–who was nominated for best direction and script—earned the most nods for people of color, including for first-timers Jharrel Jerome and Asante Blackk. Castmates Marsha Stephanie Blake, Aunjanue Ellis, John Leguizamo, Niecy Nash and Michael K. Williams also made the list.

And then there’s FX Network’s “Pose,” which was nominated for Outstanding Drama Series. It stars Billy Porter, who is the first openly gay Black actor to be recognized in the Lead Actor category. “It’s about representation. It’s about all people’s stories being told,” Porter told Deadline. “I have been in this industry for 30 years and have never been the object of anyone’s affection or love interest. I have always been the gay best friend, the clown so it’s really interesting to move this space. It’s very humbling.” 

Other actors of color who were nominated include: Viola Davis, Cicely Tyson and Glynn Turman (“How to Get Away With Murder”); Anthony Anderson (“black-ish”); Don Cheadle (“Black Monday”); Sterling K. Brown, Phylicia Rashad and Ron Cephas Jones (“This Is Us”); Giancarlo Esposito (“Better Call Saul”); Maya Rudolph (“The Good Place”); Laverne Cox (“Orange is the New Black”); Sandra Oh (“Killing Eve” and “Saturday Night Live”); RuPaul Charles (“RuPaul’s Drag Race”) and Marie Kondo (“Tidying Up With Marie Kondo”).

See the complete list of Emmy Award nominations here.