Emmy takeaways: record for black actors and new nominees

Source: AFP Published: 2020/7/29 16:18:40

Chicago Bulls' Michael Jordan (left) goes up against Charlotte Hornets' Bobby Phills during the third quarter in Game One of their Eastern Conference semifinal in Chicago on May 3, 1998. Photo: IC

The Emmy nominations on Tuesday yielded a step forward for diversity and nods aplenty for ESPN's popular Michael Jordan documentary.

Here are some top takeaways form the announcement by the Television Academy, ahead of the Emmy Awards on September 20:

Of the more than 100 acting nominations in the series, limited series and television movie categories, more than a third of them went to black actors - a new record.

Among them are Billy Porter (Pose), Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us and The Marvelous Mrs Maisel), Issa Rae (Insecure) and Regina King (Watchmen).

The increased number of nominations for black performers confirmed efforts by the Television Academy to boost racial diversity on the small screen.

"Black Lives Matter. Black Stories Matter," the Academy tweeted Tuesday.

The Emmy nominations announcement comes amid a national reckoning over race, with protests against racism and police brutality taking place across the country.

"This type of representation is a long time coming. There's no shortage of talent within the black community," Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, a nominee for HBO's Watchmen, told Entertainment Tonight.

"Sometimes it takes certain circumstances in the world for people to open their eyes and people to open up, to widen their periphery."

But while black and Asian actors made gains in 2020, the lack of any Latino actors in the mix was glaring.

The salacious Netflix series Tiger King, which was all the rage at the onset of the COVID-19 lockdown, will face off against The Last Dance, which revolves around basketball legend Michael Jordan's career with the Chicago Bulls, in the outstanding documentary or nonfiction series category.

The two shows will compete against Hulu's Hillary, about failed US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, PBS's American Masters, which examines the lives of outstanding artists, and HBO's McMillion$, about the McDonald's Monopoly game scam.

The Last Dance, which also aired during the lockdown while sports leagues were forced to suspend play, was the most-watched documentary ever on ESPN.

"I'm so proud of our entire team, who worked tirelessly for years to make The Last Dance what it was," director Jason Hehir said. 

"I am beyond grateful for their expertise, their dedication and their perseverance amidst unprecedented circumstances as we finished the show in the early stages of this pandemic."

Newspaper headline: Step forward for diversity


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