The first Emmy Awards was on January 25, 1949. Since then, there have been many changes including the number of nominees from five to eight. Another major change this year is diversity. Diversity has been an issue in not only the Oscars but the Emmy Awards as well. From the past several decades, there has always been a significant large number of white nominees and winners in the Emmy Awards. There has also been more representation of other races especially in 2020, with many numbers of firsts being broken.
10 years ago for the 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards, 88 out of the 93 acting nominations went to white performers, which means that 10 years ago, nearly 80 percent of the nominees were all white. Since then, there has been a declining proportion of 58 percent white actors, but last year, in 2019, the total number of winners of 19 had only 2 performers of color. Rashad Robinson, the president of the racial justice organization Color of Change, said diversity at major awards shows deserves to be taken seriously because recognition can launch the careers of artists of color, opening doors to new and greater opportunities. Acknowledging the importance of diversity at major award shows, how have the Emmy Award nominees reflected this?
In the acting categories, 33 percent of the nominees were Black, an increase compared to 14 percent the five years prior. The Emmy nominations this year for black performers also set a new record. Actors that have openly identified as members of the LGBTQ+ community took in nearly a dozen nominations, a huge step from years before. Ramy Youssef, an actor and writer, became the first Muslim American sitcom to score a nomination for amazing lead actor and outstanding directing in a comedy series.
Although there is a tremendous amount of representation in the Emmys this year, there is definitely some backlash that can be seen. According to the graphs provided by Television Academy and IMBD, the lack of Latino, Asian, Middle Eastern, Pacific Islander, and Northern African nominees compared to White and Black nominees is little to almost none. The percentage of nominees other than White and Black is less than 5 percent, shockingingly.
Throughout the recent years, nominees of different races and the LGBTQ+ community have been better presented in award shows, which can be seen in the 2020 Emmy Awards. Even though certain groups are still being misrepresented, the 2020 Emmy Awards have taken the step for equality and diversity.