Emmys so colorful as TV shows movies the faces of America

Wed Sep 14, 2016 8:39am EDT
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By Jill Serjeant

(Reuters) - Six months after #Oscarssowhite upset the biggest movie awards in the world, television's Emmy line-up is telling a different, far more colorful, story.

Some 21 actors across the ethnic spectrum have been nominated for Emmys this year. For the first time in the 68-year history of the biggest honors in television, men of color were nominated in all six lead actor categories.

It does not end there. Emmy organizers have showered nominations on shows like "Mr. Robot," starring Egyptian-American Rami Malek as a socially awkward hacker; African-American family sitcom "black-ish"; "Master of None," created by actor Aziz Ansari and his Asian-American writing partner Alan Yang; and FX's marathon recreation of the 1995 O.J. Simpson double murder trial seen through the prism of modern U.S. race relations.

"Bravo to the Television Academy and the TV industry overall for showing the rest of the industry the way," said Gil Robertson, president of the African-American Film Critics Association.

"They are responding to their audiences. They have clearly paid attention and are showing respect to the diverse population groups they serve. That is smart business," Robertson added.

Part of the greater diversity in television is due to the sheer number of scripted shows - currently around 400 - now available on mainstream networks, cable and streaming platforms like Amazon, Netflix and Hulu. Television also has a quicker turnaround time than movies, which can take years from development to reach theaters.

Freed from the demands of advertisers on the new platforms, producers are taking risks with content and casting, and mainstream television is taking notice both in front of, and crucially, behind the camera.


Courtney B. Vance poses with his award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play for "Lucky Guy" at the American Theatre Wing's annual Tony Awards in New York, U.S. on June 9, 2013.   REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo