Emmy Awards nominations break barriers with historic firsts in diversity

Los Angeles, California – The Television Academy's nominations for the 2021 Emmy Awards were announced on Tuesday in a virtual livestream event, and were overall huge wins for more inclusion of diversity.

The 73rd Emmy Awards will honor the best in American prime-time television programming.
The 73rd Emmy Awards will honor the best in American prime-time television programming.  © IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

The 73rd annual Emmy Awards ceremony will take place on September 19 in Los Angeles and will air on CBS and Paramount+.

It will return to a live, in-person broadcast after being one of the first award shows to experiment with a virtual ceremony last year.

HBO and HBO Max led this year's pack with a total of 130 nominations, followed closely by Netflix with 129. Disney+, in only its second year eligible, gained 71 nominations.

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Celebrities Megan Fox and Kourtney Kardashian strip down and get close in new SKIMS campaign

The networks are battling it out with Netflix’s The Crown and Disney+'s The Mandalorian tying for a leading 24 nominations each.

Marvel has finally broken through at the awards with their first big streaming series WandaVision, which received 23 nominations.

Newcomer Bridgerton, Netflix's most-watched series, snagged 12 nominations, yet just one for acting for the show's leading man Regé-Jean Page, who announced earlier this year he won't be returning for season two.

And notably, Oprah's bombshell interview with Prince Harry and Megan Markle finds itself Emmy-nominated as well.

At its forefront, the new nominations delivered big breakthroughs to diversify representation in its accolades, with more nods for BIPOC artists and shows than ever before.

In turn, it has distanced itself from problems that have plagued the Golden Globes over cries of racism and sexism in the Hollywood Foreign Press and within entertainment industry as a whole.

History makers and industry shakers

The 2020 Emmy Awards were held virtually, with Schitt's Creek sweeping the winnings.
The 2020 Emmy Awards were held virtually, with Schitt's Creek sweeping the winnings.  © Emmy Statuette. The 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards will honor the best in U.S. prime time television programming.

In the category of Lead Actor in a Drama, actors of color made up the majority of nominees for the very first time. For Lead Actress in a Drama, nominees of color made up half of the category, the most ever.

HBO's horror series Lovecraft Country saw the first two Black leads to ever be nominated from the same series, despite the network announcing last week the show will not be picked up for a second season.

And Drag Race host RuPaul, who was nominated in three categories this year, may become the most-awarded Black artist in Emmy history if he wins all three awards.

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MJ Rodriguez has also made history for being the first transgender actor to receive a nomination in a major acting category for her work in Pose – a significant step for both BIPOC and LGBTQ+ representation.

This year has also seen wins for Asian artists. Bowen Yang of Saturday Night Live is the first Asian actor to be nominated for Supporting Actor in a Comedy, and the first Chinese American man to be nominated as a principal actor at the awards in general.

Hamilton's Phillipa Soo joins him as the first Asian up for Supporting Actress in a Limited Series.

Hamilton itself, the Disney+ showing of the Broadway musical smash, picked up 12 Emmy nominations – but not without some raised eyebrows.

As it is taped live theater, it was eligible as both a pre-recorded variety special and a "limited or anthology series or movie," perhaps scoring it extra nods despite it not being specifically made for TV. It will have tough competition as it goes head-to-head with the wildly popular Friends: The Reunion special.

Hamilton's actors swept seven acting nods, with all but one being actors of color.

Yet, there is only one BIPOC writer nominated in each of the Emmys' writing categories, and just two directing nominees overall, in Michaela Coel and Barry Jenkins.

It proves there is still a ways to go on the path towards equal recognition and opportunity in Hollywood.

The Emmy Awards Ceremony will be hosted by Cedric the Entertainer at the Microsoft Theatre with a limited audience of nominees and guests in attendance.

Cover photo: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

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