After performers of color notched a record 49 acting and reality hosting Primetime Emmy nominations in 2021, the count this year has declined to 31, repping a 37% drop.
Still, this year’s figure is higher than 2019 when there were only 26 non-Caucasian actors and reality hosts.
Three Emmy categories were completely devoid of nominees from a diverse background: Lead Actress in a Limited/Anthology Series, Supporting Actor in a Limited/Anthology Series and Guest Actress in a Comedy Series.
The TV Academy also came up short in recognizing Latino and Hispanic performers, with Oscar Isaac (Lead Actor Limited/Anthology Series, Scenes of a Marriage) and Colman Domingo (Guest Actor Drama, Euphoria) being the only two nominees.
Similar to last year, six nominees in the reality/competition hosting category were persons of color including Nicole Byer (Nailed It! Reality/Competition Host nominee who was also recognized in the Variety Special Writing slot for Nicole Byer: BBW (Big Beautiful Weirdo), RuPaul (RuPaul’s Drag Race), Padma Lakshmi (Top Chef), Kamaro Brown and Tan France of Queer Eye and Raymond John from Shark Tank.
While Squid Game made history as the first non-English language show to score main Emmy noms (a total of 14, including Drama Series), and ABC’s Abbott Elementary broke through with seven overall nominations for the freshman show, including Comedy Series, such groundbreaking shows as FX’s Reservation Dogs about Indigenous Americans, AppleTV+’s Pachinko and Emmy perennial black-Ish (which had its final season) were greatly overlooked by TV Academy voters.
Also making history today was Quinta Brunson from ABC’s Abbott Elementary who became the first Black woman to receive Primetime Emmy noms for both Lead Actress Comedy and Comedy Series Writing in a single year.
Last year, the Disney+ movie rendering of the Tony-winning hit musical Hamilton (6 acting noms) as well as series like Lovecraft Country (5 acting noms) and The Handmaid’s Tale (4 noms) fueled recognition for performers of color, which made for a tough comparison as Hamilton and Lovecraft Country were one-offs and The Handmaid’s Tale was not eligible this year. Also denting the 2022 diversity tally is the omission of repeat nominees such as Giancarlo Esposito (Better Call Saul), Kenan Thompson (SNL, Kenan), Anthony Anderson (black-ish), Tracee Ellis Ross (black-ish) and Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us).
In the acting categories those recognized included Sandra Oh (Lead Actress Drama, Killing Eve), Zendaya (Lead Actress Drama, Euphoria; the former Emmy winner a 2x nominee this year with a nod for the HBO series in Music and Lyrics), Lee Jung-jae (Lead Actor Drama, Squid Game), Quinta Brunson (Lead Actress Comedy, Abbot Elementary; also nominated in writing comedy series for the ABC show), Issa Rae (Lead Actress Comedy, Insecure), Donald Glover (Lead Actor Comedy, Atlanta), Oscar Isaac (Lead Actor Limited/Anthology Series, Scenes of a Marriage), Himseh Patel (Lead Actor Limited/Anthology Series, Station Eleven), Jung Ho-yeon (Supporting Actress Drama, Squid Game), Park Hae-soo (Supporting Actor Drama, Squid Game), Oh-Yeong-su (Supporting Actor Drama, Squid Game), Janelle James (Supporting Actress Comedy, Abbott Elementary), Sheryl Lee Ralph (Supporting Actress Comedy, Abbott Elementary), Sarah Niles (Supporting Actress Comedy, Ted Lasso), Toheeb Jimoh (Supporting Actor Comedy, Ted Lasso), Nick Mohammed (Supporting Actor Comedy, Ted Lasso), Tyler James Williams (Supporting Actor Comedy, Abbott Elementary), Bowen Yang (Supporting Actor Comedy, SNL), Natasha Rothwell (Supporting Actress Limited/Anthology Series, The White Lotus), Sanaa Lathan (Guest Actress Drama, Succession), Lee You-mi (Guest Actress Drama, Squid Game), Colman Domingo (Guest Actor Drama, Euphoria), Arian Moayed (Guest Actor Drama, Succession), Jerrod Carmichael (Guest Actor Comedy, SNL) and Sam Richardson (Guest Actor Comedy,Ted Lasso).
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