The Emmys Show the Oscars How Diversity’s Done

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BROOKLYN NINE-NINE: Capt. Holt (Andre Braugher) in the "Johnny and Dora" Season Finale episode of BROOKLYN NINE-NINE airing Sunday, May 17 (8:30-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. CR:

When the most recent Oscar nominations were announced in January, something was glaringly wrong. Of the four acting categories, not a single non-white actor was nominated.

EMPIRE: Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) watches the performance in the special two-hour “Die But Once/Who I Am” Season Finale episode of EMPIRE airing Wednesday, March 18 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. CR: Chuck Hodes/FOX

Taraji P. Henson

Six months later, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences has done a much better job. A majority of the acting categories have at least one nominee of color. Most notably, two African-American women—Viola Davis for How to Get Away With Murder and Taraji P. Henson for Empire—are up for lead actress in a drama, a category that has never been won by a black woman.

But that’s just the start of the Emmys refreshing embracement of diversity this year. On the comedy side, Anthony Anderson from black-ish and Don Cheadle of House of Lies will compete for lead actor. Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Andre Braugher, Key & Peele’s Keegan-Michael Key and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’s Tituss Burgess are all up for supporting actor in a comedy series. Supporting female comedic nominees include Getting On’s Niecy Nash and Orange is the New Black’s Uzo Aduba.

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Diversity is also present in the limited series and movie categories, with Queen Latifah leading the way as a nominee for lead actress in Bessie, alongside David Oyelowo for lead actor in Nightingale. Latifah’s Bessie co-star Mo’Nique snagged a nod for supporting actress, as did Angela Bassett for American Horror Story: Freak Show and Regina King for American Crime. Michael Kenneth Williams is also celebrating a nomination for his supporting role in Bessie, as is Latino actor Richard Cabral for American Crime.

Emmy Statues

Emmy Statues

Even the dramatic guest acting categories had a bit of representation. Reg E. Cathy is up for House of Cards, as are Cicely Tyson for How to Get Away With Murder and Khandi Alexander for Scandal.

But there’s still work to do. No people of color received nominations in the categories of lead actor and supporting actress in a drama series. The same went for lead actress in a comedy series (for which many believed was a major snub to Jane the Virgin actress Gina Rodriguez, who took home the prize at the Golden Globes earlier this year). The guest actor and actress in a comedy series were also fully white-washed.

Now we just have to wait and see whether history can be made come September 20.

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