×

Emmys: Acting Categories Show Diversity, if Not Parity

Even in the middle of Hollywood’s big diversity push, it was still startling to see a significant amount of it across all acting categories this year. There are 36 non-white acting nominees this year — a solid 20% jump from last year, when there were 30.

Drill down deeper and it becomes clear that this year’s more inclusive slate is thanks to the supporting and guest categories in particular. Just take a look at limited series, where FX’s “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” earned noms for Penelope Cruz, Edgar Ramirez and Ricky Martin. Or comedy, where “Atlanta” co-stars Brian Tyree Henry and Zazie Beetz landed their first supporting nods, as did “Saturday Night Live” Kenan Thompson — an astonishing 15 years after he first became a cast member.

Donald Glover and Sterling K. Brown — nominated as leads for “Atlanta” and “This Is Us” respectively — became double nominees thanks to noms in the guest comedy actor category, where they’re joined by Lin-Manuel Miranda (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”) and Katt Williams (“Atlanta”). Black women also dominate the guest actress category, with Samira Wiley (“The Handmaid’s Tale”), Viola Davis (“Scandal”), Cicely Tyson (“How to Get Away With Murder”) and Kelly Jenrette (“The Handmaid’s Tale”) all earned nods in drama, and Tiffany Haddish (“Saturday Night Live”), Wanda Sykes (“Black-ish”) and Maya Rudolph (“The Good Place”) landed ones in comedy.

Two leading nominations proved to be particularly pleasant surprises. “Insecure” creator Issa Rae landed a nomination in the competitive lead actress in a comedy category, finally getting recognition for her performance, which grounds the entire show. And then there’s “Killing Eve’s” Sandra Oh, who gained the most immediate notice for her lead actress in a drama series nod. It isn’t just richly deserved, but it also makes her the first actor of Asian descent to ever get a nomination in that category in the entire history of the Emmys — a breakthrough as incredible as it is depressing.

It’s tempting to ask how that could be possible, but as Oh herself has acknowledged, the answer is simple: non-white actors, and particularly those of Asian descent, just haven’t been afforded many opportunities to get cast, let alone lead a show. To wit: even in a year featuring more non-white actors than ever, Oh is still the sole non-white actor in her category. Things are improving, as is long overdue, but there’s still a lot of ground to cover in order to achieve real balance.

More TV

  • Willow ShieldsVariety Portrait Studio, Beautycon Festival

    'Hunger Games' Alum Willow Shields Joins Netflix Drama Series 'Spinning Out'

    Willow Shields has been cast in a series regular role in “Spinning Out,” the upcoming ice skating drama series at Netflix. She joins a cast that also includes Kaya Scodelario, who was announced as the series lead on Thursday, taking over the role originally held by Emma Roberts. Shields will star as Serena, Kat Baker’s (Scodelario) [...]

  • Adam Levine Cardi B

    Maroon 5 and How the Super Bowl Halftime Show Became Music's Least Wanted Gig

    Who would have thought that the Super Bowl Halftime show, an American institution watched by more than 100 million people, would become the least wanted gig in music? But thanks to the ongoing controversy concerning the NFL’s stance on a player’s right to protest, brought to the forefront by football’s top conscientious objector Colin Kaepernick, [...]

  • CBS Studios Exterior

    James Corden's Fulwell 73 to Develop Sci-Fi Drama at CBS (EXCLUSIVE)

    CBS is developing a drama series that hails from James Corden’s production company, Fulwell 73, Variety has learned exclusively. The series is titled “Embody.” In the series, after a mission gone wrong renders her permanently blind, a special agent volunteers for an experimental government program that can temporarily transfer her consciousness into someone else’s body, giving [...]

  • Jimmy Kimmel's Latest Trolling Effort Involves

    Jimmy Kimmel's Latest Trolling Effort Involves 'Fortnite'

    The latest request from Jimmy Kimmel asks parents to turn off the TV while kids are playing “Fortnite.” The host of Jimmy Kimmel Live explained that he asked parents to prank their kids with a new Youtube Challenge called “Hey Jimmy Kimmel, I turned off the TV during Fortnite.” Parents participated by filming the results [...]

  • Celebrities Sound Off on 2018

    Celebrities Pick Their Favorite Movies and TV Shows of 2018

    Still looking for the latest and greatest movie, TV series or book to finish before the year is out? Why not ask the folks behind Hollywood’s favorite hits, what they’re reading and viewing this 2018. We reached out to the stars and creators behind the things you love (including Barry Jenkins, Steven Canals and Dan Levy)  to [...]

  • Mary Poppins 1964

    P.L. Travers' Efforts to Adapt 'Mary Poppins' for Film, TV Were Often Less Than Jolly

    Disney’s “Mary Poppins Returns,” a sequel decades in the making, opens Dec. 19. Even before the 1964 original, Hollywood made several attempts to adapt P.L. Travers’ books, with Samuel Goldwyn and Katharine Hepburn among those involved in the chase. But aside from a one-hour 1949 CBS television version, they all hit a dead-end. The first [...]

  • Morgan Spurlock Sexual Misconduct

    Morgan Spurlock to Pay TNT $1.2 Million After Abandoning Docuseries

    Morgan Spurlock has reached a settlement with Turner Entertainment Networks a year after he confessed to a history of sexual misconduct and walked away from a documentary series. Spurlock’s company, Warrior Poets, has agreed to pay Turner $1,173,707, according to a final judgment filed in federal court in Los Angeles on Thursday. In the spring [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content