We shouldn’t only celebrate AAPI representation in May, as the artistic contributions of our global talents have produced some of the best television and film productions in the last decade. However, as we come to the close of the annual celebration, it’s worth noting the multiple AAPI acting contenders that are in the running for Primetime Emmy nominations.
Netflix’s “Squid Game” rocked the streaming world, becoming the most-watched series in the platform’s history. Yet, with universal acclaim, it’s disheartening to feel that the show isn’t a lock to sweep the board across its eligible categories. Of course, you can chalk that up to the competitive landscape, including “Succession” and “Severance.” Still, it’s already grappling with making history as the first non-English series ever to be nominated at the Emmys.
Looking at “Pachinko” from Apple TV+, another international series that has garnered acclaim from critics, however, it feels like a longshot for noms outside of the artisan categories, despite the popularity of South Korean sensations Lee Min-Ho and Academy Award winner Yuh-Jung Youn (“Minari”). We should have room for more than one non-English series in the conversation, but as the field of television becomes even more expansive with the growing landscape of content, it’s harder to stand out in the crowded field.
It’s no secret that Asian and Pacific Islanders are not well represented in Hollywood, in either film or television. Research from the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative found that 44 films had an Asian or Pacific Islander in a lead or co-lead role, 14 of which were headlined by Dwayne Johnson. In addition, only six of the roles were helmed by AAPI women, and none were over 40 years old.
In the television landscape for the Emmy season, there seems to be a more significant swath of options for members of the TV Academy to consider in the acting categories when filling out their ballots.
The good news is we have a field of actors and actresses that could fill out almost any respective lineup, even beyond the near-dozen names listed.
Variety lists 11 AAPI contenders that are eyeing Emmy nominations.
Check out the latest predictions on the Emmys Collective pages, with links to the individual categories. Voting opens on June 16.
Honorable mentions: Awkwafina (“Nora from Queens”), Arian Moayed (“Inventing Anna”), Kayvan Novak (“What We Do in the Shadows”), Nasim Pedrad (“Chad”), Phillipa Soo (“Dopesick” and “Shining Girls”), Emeraude Toubia (“With Love”), Ming-Na Wen (“The Book of Boba Fett”), Oh Young-soo (“Squid Game”)