For the third year in a row, the Primetime Emmy nominees are
the most diverse ever.
In total, 25 people
of color were nominated across the Emmys’ 18 onscreen acting awards, up from
the 22 nominated in 2016. Of the major acting categories (not including guest
and short-form), 16 were nominated. Last
year, people of color represented 24.6 percent of the major acting nominees and
21.9 percent in 2015. In 2014, that number was only 9.7 percent.
EMMYS 2017: The Complete List of Nominees
In addition to the acting nominees, Atlanta, black-ishand Master
of None picked up nominations in major categories including Outstanding
Comedy Series. In fact, this year is the
most diverse the category has ever been, marking the first time since 1970,
when The Bill Cosby Show and Room 222 were both nominated, that more
than one show with a predominately nonwhite cast was nominated in the same
year. The shows' leads, Donald Glover, Anthony Anderson and Aziz Ansari, will also face off in the Lead Actor in a Comedy category.
The most diverse categories this year the non-major acting categories with Riz Ahmed, Dave Chappelle, Lin-Manuel Miranda nominated for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy and BD Wong and Brian Tyree Henry facing off for Drama. Kim Estes becomes the first black actor nominated in the Short-Form category for Dicks.
The nominations arrive in the wake of the 2017 Oscars, which
nominated a person of color in every acting category and awarded Moonlight Best Picture. At the 68th
Emmys, the winners proved to be the most diverse yet, with Sterling K. Brown, Regina
King, Rami Malek and Courtney B. Vance among the actors recognized. And many
saw it as a watershed moment, if Hollywood and TV paid close enough attention.
EMMYS 2017: The Standout Performances of the Season
“For me to stand here as not the typical leading man, and to
have come home with this I think speaks a lot about where we’re headed and I
think we can just keep going further in that direction,” Malek said backstage.
Last year, the actor became the first person of color to win Lead Actor in a
Drama since Andre Braugher won in 1998.
(Brown, who is nominated in this year
for This Is Us, could be the first black person to take the prize since
Braugher’s win for Homicide: Life on the Streets.)
Cox, who was nominated again this year for Guest Actress in a Drama for Orange Is the New Black, pressed the issue onstage, advocating specifically for transgender
visibility. “Give trans talent a shot. I would not be here tonight if I was not
given that chance,” she said.
But diversity wasn’t limited to the acting categories -- or what’s even seen onscreen. Key & Peele creators Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele took home the trophy for Variety Sketch Series, adding to Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang’s recognition behind the camera.
Their award was presented by four-time Emmy nominee Damon
Wayans -- a moment not lost on either winner. “The fact that one of our heroes
-- a person we saw on television, a person of color that we could go, ‘Oh, you
can do that’ -- Damon is the person that helped us know that we can dream,” Key
told ET. “So for him to present the award tonight was really, really sublime.”
Given this year’s pool of nominees, the 69th ceremony may
see even more winners of color, providing many at home a surge in representation not previously seen before.
The 69th Emmy Awards, hosted by Stephen Colbert, will air live
from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, Sunday, Sept. 17, starting at 8
p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on CBS.