It was wonderful to see Pose star Mj Rodriguez nominated as best actress in a drama, recognizing her powerhouse performance on that show with the first lead acting nomination for a transgender person. And for a critic like me, who has advocated for ethnic diversity in TV for decades, seeing nominations for ambitious, Black-centered shows such as Lovecraft Country, Amazon Prime Video’s The Underground Railroad and ABC's Black-ish right next to key nods for accomplished Black performers such as Bridgerton’s Regé-Jean Page and Uzo Adubo from In Treatment is like a dream come true. Best of all, the Emmys recognized Michaela Coel and her groundbreaking series, I May Destroy You, when the Golden Globes did not.
But it is time for the Emmys—and the TV industry at large—to spread that wealth beyond Black performers and Black-centered shows. Yes, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Rosie Perez, Anthony Ramos, Bowen Yang and Phillipa Soo all got key nominations. But if Disney+’s version of Hamilton hadn’t been eligible, many of those nominations would not have occurred. So I’m hopeful this is a first step toward bringing even more—and more well-rounded—diversity to big Hollywood awards nominations.
Geeks rejoice! Superhero and genre shows get more love than ever
True enough, Game of Thrones often soaked up loads of nominations back in the day. But this year, several shows in the horror/superhero space, so often overlooked by major Hollywood awards, got love in major categories, including WandaVision, The Mandalorian, Lovecraft Country and Amazon Prime Video’s dark superhero satire, The Boys (which was the biggest surprise for me). We saw powerhouse studio Marvel get its first Emmy nominations this year, which likely means this is just a taste of future geekdom to come.
‘Saturday Night Live’ remains an influential powerhouse
Every few years, a snarky critic writes an epitaph for this annoyingly inconsistent-yet-often-brilliant sketch comedy landmark. And then SNL racks up the Emmy nominations to prove just how premature those rumors of death truly are. It’s not just that its 21 nominations beat comedy favorite Ted Lasso by one nod; it had a significant presence in supporting and guest acting comedy categories. Kenan Thompson even managed to snag a nomination as best lead actor in a comedy for his sitcom, Kenan, while still starring as a major player on SNL—where he was also nominated for best supporting actor in a comedy.