- All major acting awards at the 2021 Emmys were won by white performers.
- Netflix’s “The Crown” and Apple TV’s “Ted Lasso” dominated the acting awards.
- This year’s acting nominees had been the most diverse in Emmy’s history.
The Primetime Emmys handed all major acting trophies to white performers Sunday night despite fielding one of the most diverse slates of nominees in history.
Back when the nominations were announced in July, the television academy was praised for registering a record “49 non-Anglo nominees,” as Deadline reported. And of those 49 nominees, 43 were actors in the drama, comedy, and limited series categories — the highest number in Emmy’s history.
That list of nominees included fan and critical favorites such as Billy Porter, who previously won in 2019 for FX’s “Pose.” The recently deceased Michael K. Williams was nominated for his last role in HBO’s “Lovecraft Country,” and “Saturday Night Live” had nominations in breakout star Bowen Yang and veteran Kenan Thompson.
‘s popular royal drama “The Crown” dominated the drama categories with Gillian Anderson, Josh O’Connor, Olivia Colman, and Tobias Menzies picking up all four gongs in the category. And Apple TV’s “Ted Lasso” cleaned up in the ceremony’s comedy section with wins for Jason Sudeikis, Hannah Waddingham, and Brett Goldstein.
The hashtag #EmmysSoWhite was trending on Twitter shortly after the ceremony finished, with many viewers criticizing the television academy.
“The Emmys is like that tv show you’re still watching *just in case* it finally does something different,” LA Times journalist Ashley Lee wrote, “but every year it proves you wrong and does its same old thing again. and again. and again. #EmmysSoWhite.”
—Ashley Lee (@cashleelee) September 20, 2021
The film critic Amon Warmann highlighted the diverse shows that were nominated, but ultimately ignored, tweeting: “The Underground Railroad. Small Axe. I May Destroy You. Pose. All eligible. All historic. And still, no POC win any acting awards and #EmmysSoWhite trends.”
—Amon Warmann (@AmonWarmann) September 20, 2021
While no person of color won an acting award Sunday, there were breakout wins in technical categories with Michaela Coel picking up the gong for outstanding writing in a limited series for “I May Destroy You.” Coel is the first black woman to win in the category. RuPaul Charles picked up his 11th Emmy for outstanding competition program for “RuPaul’s Drag Race” to become the most decorated Black artist at the Emmys. And Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Hamilton” won for outstanding variety special.
Early in the evening, host Cedric The Entertainer joked about the potential lack of diversity in the winners, saying: “The good news is there are a lot of Black people nominated tonight like my dawg Anthony Anderson … This is Anthony’s 11th nomination, but tonight he’s up against Michael Douglas and Ted Lasso. So good luck, partner, but I gotta say, looks like it’s still hard out here for a pimp.”
Anthony Anderson did ultimately lose out to Jason Sudeikis.
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