Kerry Washington Earns Impressive 4 Emmy Nominations -- But Got Emotional Over Lynn Shelton's Nod

Kerry Washington at the 2020 Vanity Fair Oscar Party
David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

The actress called director Lynn Shelton's posthumous nod 'deserved.'

Kerry Washington is a four-time Emmy nominee -- in this year alone. In a statement to ET, the actress called her impressive round-up of nominations "such an honor," but said "tears came" when she heard the nomination for her late friend and Little Fires Everywhere director, Lynn Shelton. 

Shelton died on May 16 after being hospitalized as a result of a previously unidentified blood disorder. She was 54. The director, who helmed episodes of TV series like GLOW, Mad Men, New Girl and more -- in addition to her feature film work -- earned a posthumous nod for Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special for the series finale of Little Fires Everywhere, titled "Find a Way."

"The tears came this morning when I heard about Lynn Shelton’s nomination for Little Fires Everywhere. I’m so incredibly grateful that the Television Academy has chosen to honor Lynn with this very deserved nomination," Washington said. "I know she’s celebrating in the beyond."

On Tuesday morning, Washington was nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie for Little Fires Everywhere. With her production company, Simpson Street, she also earned nods for Outstanding Limited Series or Movie for Little Fires Everywhere, Outstanding Television Movie for American Son, and Outstanding Variety Special for Live in Front of a Studio Audience.

"To be recognized in this way this morning is such an honor -- but to be able to share it with my partner Pilar Savone and our Simpson Street family makes it even more meaningful," she said. 

"The exepreinces we’ve been able to have this year were beyond our wildest dreams: working with the legendary Norman Lear and Jimmy Kimmel to bring iconic shows from the '70s to new audiences with Live in Front of a Studio Audience, to adapting American Son, a Broadway play about Black lives and police violence to Netflix, to bringing Celeste Ng’s beautiful novel Little Fires Everywhere to life with my incredible friends Reese Witherspoon, Lauren Neustadter and Liz Tigelaar," Washington added. 

A record number of Black performers were nominated for Emmys this year. A total of 33 individual Black performers are up for every onscreen acting category, with Giancarlo Esposito, Maya Rudolph and Sterling K. Brown each nominated twice. There's at least one Black performer recognized in all the acting categories, including voice work -- except Outstanding Voice-Over Performance. 

The 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards will be handed out Sunday, Sept. 20 during a live broadcast hosted by Kimmel on ABC. See more on this year's Emmy nominees in the video below.