This Might Be the *Blackest* List of Emmy Award Nominees Ever
Photo Credit: ABC/Emmy
Television

This Might Be the *Blackest* List of Emmy Award Nominees Ever

ABC/Emmy
ABC/Emmy

Nominations for the 68th Emmy Awards were announced by the Television Academy in a ceremony hosted by Television Academy Chairman and CEO Bruce Rosenblum along with Anthony Anderson from the ABC series “black-ish” and Lauren Graham from “Parenthood” and the upcoming Netflix revival, “Gilmore Girls.”

“Television dominates the entertainment conversation and is enjoying the most spectacular run in its history with breakthrough creativity, emerging platforms and dynamic new opportunities for our industry’s storytellers,” said Rosenblum. “From favorites like Game of Thrones, Veep, and House of Cards to nominations newcomers like black-ish, Master of None, The Americans and Mr. Robot, television has never been more impactful in its storytelling, sheer breadth of series and quality of performances by an incredibly diverse array of talented performers. The Television Academy is thrilled to once again honor the very best that television has to offer.”




Of note, to this blog, given its stated focus:

  • In the Outstanding Casting For A Limited Series, Movie Or Special category: “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, ” and the “Roots” miniseries reboot are both nominated.
  • In the Outstanding Directing For A Limited Series, Movie Or Dramatic Special category: Both Anthony Hemingway and John Singleton are nominated for directing episodes of “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story.”
  • In the Outstanding Directing For A Variety Special category: Chris Rock is nominated for directing “Amy Schumer: Live At The Apollo” and Kahlil Joseph and Beyoncé Knowles Carter are both nominated for directing “Lemonade.”
  • In the Outstanding Lead Actor In A Comedy Series category: Anthony Anderson is nominated for his performance in “black-ish.”
  • In the Outstanding Lead Actor In A Limited Series Or Movie category: Idris Elba is nominated for “Luther,” Courtney B. Vance as Johnnie Cochran in “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story,” and Cuba Gooding, Jr. as O.J. Simpson in “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story.”
  • In the Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series category: “black-ish” scores another nomination – Tracee Ellis Ross.
  • In the Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series category: Taraji P. Henson in nominated for “Empire,” and Viola Davis for “How To Get Away With Murder.”
  • In the Outstanding Lead Actress In A Limited Series Or Movie category: Kerry Washington as Anita Hill in “Confirmation” is nominated and Audra McDonald as Billie Holiday in “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill” received a nominated as well.
  • In the Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series category: Andre Braugher gets a nod for “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” Keegan-Michael Key for “Key & Peele,” and Tituss Burgess for “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.”
  • In the Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Limited Series Or Movie category: Bokeem Woodbine is nominated for “Fargo,” as is Sterling K. Brown as Christopher Darden in “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story.”
  • In the Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series category: Niecy Nash is nominated for “Getting On.”
  • In the Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Limited Series Or Movie category: “American Crime” gets another nod: Regina King.
  • In the Outstanding Guest Actor In A Comedy Series category: Tracy Morgan is nominated for hosting “Saturday Night Live.”
  • In the Outstanding Guest Actor In A Drama Series category: Both Reg E. Cathey and Mahershala Ali are nominated for “House Of Cards.”
  • In the Outstanding Host For A Reality Or Reality-Competition Program category: Steve Harvey is nominated for “Little Big Shots starring Steve Harvey” and RuPaul Charles for “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”
  • In the Outstanding Comedy Series category: “black-ish” is nominated.
  • In the Outstanding Limited Series category: “American Crime,” “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” and “Roots” are all nominees.
  • In the Outstanding Television Movie category: “Confirmation” and “Luther” are both nominated.
  • In the Outstanding Variety Sketch Series category: “Key & Peele” is a nominee.
  • In the Outstanding Variety Special category: “Lemonade” is nominated.
  • In the Outstanding Documentary Or Nonfiction Special category: “What Happened, Miss Simone?” is nominated.
  • In the Outstanding Informational Series Or Special category: “Star Talk With Neil deGrasse Tyson” and “The Story Of God With Morgan Freeman” are both nominated.
  • In the Exceptional Merit In Documentary Filmmaking category: Stanley Nelson’s “The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution” is nominated.

For the full list of nominees, click here to download the press file.

I wouldn’t hesitate to go out on a limb and say that this year’s list probably includes the highest number of black nominees in the history of the Primetime Emmys. I didn’t even mention those nominated in other categories like Makeup, Costume/Wardrobe Design, Editing, Sound Mixing, Short Form Series, and more.

Consider that, just last year, Viola Davis made history, becoming the first black woman to win the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. Incredible when you consider that this was the 67th edition of the Awards. Some would say, better late than never; for others, it’s about damn time! This came after just 5 (just FIVE) previous nominations for black actresses in that specific category in the entire history of the Emmys – Debbie Allen, Alfre Woodard, Regina Taylor, Cicely Tyson, and Kerry Washington for “Fame,” “St. Elsewhere,” “I’ll Fly Away,” “Sweet Justice,” and “Scandal” respectively. So that should give you some idea of just how much black talent has been recognized by the Emmys over the years – not very often; certainly not with this kind of volume.

Two years ago, in 2014, there were 13 black nominees in the above so-called *key* categories, according to the S&A archives. This year, there are about twice that number.

Before 2016, last year, 2015, likely holds the record for most black nominees. Looking through the S&A archives again, I count as many as 27 black nominees last year, across all categories, not just the above*key* categories.

You’d have to go back to the early/mid-1990s to find TV seasons with the kind of representation we saw in the last season (2015/2016), in terms of black talent in front of and behind the camera – especially when it comes to dramas. As you might recall, it was around this time last year when I published a piece titled “73+ New TV Pilots & Series with Black Actors in Starring and/or Supporting Roles Ordered for Next Season,” which looked at what was a record number. And while most of them did not make it to series, we’ve seen the effects of that record number of orders manifest itself over the last 9 to 10 months.




I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see a healthy number of the above nominees win in their categories – not only because they deserve to win, but also especially because we’re in a year in which stalwart Hollywood institutions are facing heavy criticism – maybe more-so than ever – for the lack of diversity among their ranks. There might be some added pressure (real or perceived) on Emmy voters to distance the Awards show from what we saw at the Oscars this year.

The 68th Emmy Awards, including the star-studded Red Carpet preshow, will telecast from The Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, Sunday, September 18th (7-11pm ET) on ABC.

Emmy Award-winning live television and event producer Don Mischer will executive produce the broadcast hosted by Jimmy Kimmel.

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