The upcoming 66th Primetime Emmy Awards will carry with it a relevant bit of news for African-Americans. This year, 11 Black actors and actresses were nominated across the major categories, the most since 1977. That year, the ABC mini-series Roots was nominated 21 times across the major categories and 37 times overall.
Much like the Academy Awards, the Primetime Emmys have been criticized for its lack of racial diversity. Just last year, House of Lies actor Don Cheadle and Scandal star Kerry Washington made history after becoming the first Black actor-actress duo to be nominated in the Lead category.
Both Cheadle and Washington return to this year’s awards with the same nominations. Joining them will be Joe Morton from Scandal, Andre Braugher from Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Chiwetel Ejiofor for Dancing On The Edge, Idris Elba for Luther, Cicely Tyson for A Trip To Bountiful, Angela Bassett for American Horror Story: Coven, Reg E. Cathey for House Of Cards, and Orange Is The New Black stars Uzo Aduba and Laverne Cox. Cox is also the first transgender person to be nominated for an Emmy.
The only other time Black actors and actresses have enjoyed a high number of nominations was in 1986, when NBC’s The Cosby Show was nominated for 13 overall nominations.
Cheadle recently said in an interview that while the nominations are a worthy achievement, it doesn’t signal that there’s a push for bringing more people of color to the forefront in Hollywood. However, the fall television season will see a record number of Black actors on TV show, including another Black actress, Viola Davis, fronting a TV show created by Shonda Rhimes. That show, How To Get Away With Murder will follow Scandal on Thursday nights.
In 1977, the Roots mini-series yielded an Outstanding Lead Actor Emmy for Louis Gossett Jr. for his role as Fiddler. Olivia Cole won in the Outstanding Single Performance by a Supporting Actress in a Comedy or Drama Series category.
The 66th Emmy Awards will be broadcast on NBC on Monday, August 25th at 8 p.m. ET.
(Photo: PR Photos)