×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Emmys: Winners Reflect Hollywood’s Wider Lens and the Need for More Progress

This year’s crop of Emmy contenders reached a new milestone in terms of diversity of the nominees. On Monday, the list of final winners represented some significant gains but also reflected how progress comes in fits and starts.

Emmy voters missed the chance to make history by giving the lead drama actress trophy to Sandra Oh of BBC America’s “Killing Eve,” who was the first Asian-American actress to be nominated in the category.

In the category of lead actor in a limited series, Darren Criss’ win for FX’s “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” marked the second consecutive year that an actor of Asian descent won in the category, following Riz Ahmed’s victory in 2017 for HBO’s “The Night Of.”

A number of African-American actors and performers were recognized this year. Regina King won lead actress in a limited series for Netflix’s crime drama “Seven Seconds.” Thandie Newton of HBO’s “Westworld” won supporting actress in a drama. RuPaul and VH1’s “RuPaul’s Drag Race” made Emmy history with double wins for reality-competition series and reality-competition host.

As diverse as the actor and performer nominees were this year, the writing, directing and top producing nominees remained overwhelmingly white. “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” creator/showrunner Amy Sherman-Palladino made history as the first woman to win comedy series writing and directing honors in the same year. Those awards spurred James Corden to quip “Let’s get it trending —  #EmmysSoWhite.”

The comedy and drama guest actor and actress trophies (presented last weekend during Creative Arts Awards) also went to African-American actors: Tiffany Haddish for “Saturday Night Live,” Katt Williams for FX’s “Atlanta,” Ron Cephas Jones for “This Is Us” and Samira Wiley for “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

Backstage, King said she was surprised by her win for the low-profile Netflix series. And she admitted that part of her doubt came because her other five competitors in the category were white. She chalked some of that up to the fact that the nation is so divided on political and culture issues, especially when it comes to identity and the embrace of multiculturalism.

“Things are always looked at as black and white. I am guilty of that a lot of times as well,” King said. “That was one of the moments that was really sitting with me on stage that this Television Academy of my peers and my peers don’t just have the same skin color as me. And they’re not only just interested in things that represent what they look like. They’re interested in art and storytelling and seeing things from different perspectives. This is an example of us thinking more globally and not thinking in a box.”

The LGBT community was well-represented on the Microsoft Theater stage Monday night. FX’s “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” won for limited series with its look at how homophobia impacted the culture and the law enforcement investigation of the serial killer who murdered the famed fashion designer in 1997. “Versace” exec producer Ryan Murphy (who also won a directing trophy for the show) said he dedicated the award to victims of hate crimes and “all of those taken too soon.”

Backstage, Murphy marveled at how much the TV industry has changed in the two decades since he began his career as a TV writer. “As a gay man who was told when I started in the business I could not even write, in 1998, a gay character, now that I can prosthelytize for my community is important to me,” he said.

RuPaul echoed King’s sentiments in his backstage remarks. With humor and a fun format, “Drag Race” aims to break down social barriers in a country that is still divided on the issue of sexual orientation and identity.

“We celebrate people who dance outside the box,” RuPaul said. “Those stories need to be told. I think there is value in those stories for everyone.” 

More TV

  • A Man Walks Into the Cnn

    CNN Puts Former Sessions Aide in Newsroom Role

    Sarah Isgur Flores, a press aide to former US Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has been hired to help direct and plan political coverage for CNN, a move that generated some pushback on social media Tuesday. Politico previously reported the CNN hire. Flores in the past has criticized CNN coverage. A spokesperson for the AT&T-owned media [...]

  • Gerald Blum, Inspiration for 'WKRP In

    Gerald Blum, Inspiration for 'Big Guy' Carlson on 'WKRP in Cincinnati,' Dies at 86

    Gerald “Jerry” Blum, the inspiration for the character of radio station general manager Art “Big Guy” Carlson on the long-running TV sitcom “WKRP in Cincinnati,” died Saturday at 86. The Atlanta radio veteran was affectionately transformed into the fictional Carlson by veteran comic actor Gordon Jump on “WKRP,” which ran for four seasons on CBS [...]

  • Arrested Development Season 5 review

    TV News Roundup: 'Arrested Development' Sets Season 5 Return Date at Netflix

    In today’s TV news roundup, the second half of “Arrested Development” season five gets a release date and Netflix announces the voice cast for “Green Eggs and Ham.” CASTING Netflix has announced the ensemble voice cast for the upcoming “Green Eggs and Ham” series executive produced by Ellen DeGeneres and based on the Dr. Seuss book. [...]

  • LA Rams running back Todd Gurley

    Live+7 Ratings for Week of Jan. 28: Super Bowl LIII Clobbers Competition

    In a shock to no one, the 2019 Super Bowl handily defeated all of its broadcast competition in the Live+7 numbers for the week of Jan. 28. Live sports typically receive virtually no lift in delayed viewing, and Super Bowl LIII was no exception. The game did, however, rise from a 31.1 rating in adults [...]

  • Jussie Smollett

    Jussie Smollett Faces Prison, Career Ruin if He Lied About Attack

    Jussie Smollett is facing prison time and the implosion of his career if it turns out he lied about being the target of a hate crime, legal and public relations experts say. “The best thing that Jussie can do is pray and pray a lot,” said Ronn Torossian, founder of 5W Public Relations. “If he [...]

  • BETTER THINGS "Chicago" Episode 1 (Airs

    TV Review: 'Better Things' Season 3

    A few episodes into the new season of “Better Things,” fed-up mother Sam (creator Pamela Adlon) tries a new tactic to break up one of the countless petty fights between her daughters. Instead of forcing them apart and hoping for the best, she throws up her hands and decides to just let them go at it, [...]

  • Anna Paquin, Sophie Okonedo in Flack

    TV Review: 'Flack' Starring Anna Paquin

    There’s a familiar, acrid aftertaste to “Flack,” Pop’s new drama about the controlled chaos of the publicity industry. The grim behind-the-scenes machinations of the glossy entertainment industry have always been one of TV’s favorite subjects, as are the people tasked with pulling the strings without anyone ever realizing. Over just six episodes, the show manages [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content