With Emmy nominations only a day away, we are anxiously waiting to see which series make the cut, especially among the freshman shows. Indeed, the biggest successes of the past season have been new network TV series that showcase Latinos (“Jane the Virgin“), African Americans (“Empire,” “Black-ish” and “How to Get Away with Murder“) and Asian Americans (“Fresh Off the Boat“). But could they not do as well as we are predicting at the Emmys because of the bias against the traditional nets?
Yes, we are predicting that the networks will reap 35 nominations across the acting and series categories. However, last year we had anticipated they would earn 36 such nominations but they ended up with only 25.
Among those leff off the list last year were the freshman show “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and its Golden Globe winning lead Andy Samberg, the resurgent “The Good Wife” and past Emmy favorite James Spader (“The Blacklist”). These snubs reflected the recent decline of network television at the Emmys. In 2011, laffers on the traditional nets occupied all six Comedy Series slots; last year, only two contended. And the last network drama series to contend was “The Good Wife” in 2011.
Could this shift away from network fare mean no Emmy nominations for the likes of Terrence Howard (“Empire”) and Anthony Anderson (“Black-ish”)? And will there be a backlash against the TV academy? Network shows featuring actors of color truly deserve to be nominated as they are producing some of the finest work on television.
Just five months ago, the Oscars faced one of its greatest controversies when the slate of 20 acting nominees was all-white. Though this spoke to the lack of roles for actors of color, the motion picture academy was berated for the exclusion of David Oyelowo (an Emmy contender this year), whose stirring performance in “Selma” was deemed Oscar-worthy by numerous critics. A publicity nightmare ensued, where #oscarssowhite only affirmed some beliefs over America’s racial divide.
Conversely, the Emmys were applauded last year for its inclusivity, including a first-ever nomination for a transgender actor, Laverne Cox (“Orange is the New Black“). And this year’s nominations are likely to be as diverse due to the variety of shows on cable and streaming services. Indeed, such series are likely to lead the nominations. Thanks to them, #emmyssowhite is unlikely to catch on.
This umbrella of diversity also stretches to gender divides seen traditionally in peer groups such as directing, which could see an overhaul this year given the all-female winners at DGA Awards: Lesli Linka Glatter (“Homeland”), Jill Soloway (“Transparent”) and Lisa Cholodenko (“Olive Kitteridge”). And, as their programs aired on Showtime, Amazon Instant Video and HBO respectively, they are more likely to reap Emmy bids than female directors on network television.
Here’s hoping the Emmys also diversify which medium their nominees come from, and look past their love for cable and streaming shows and nominate the talent of network TV too.
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