On Sept. 18, the 68th Primetime Emmy Awards were held at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles to celebrate and recognize the work of television actors, actresses, and more. In contrast to the recent controversy surrounding the Oscars, the Emmy Awards were highly recognized for their racial diversity. The awards featured the most racially diverse nominees and winners throughout all the years of American television. Not only were the winners themselves celebrated, but the racial diversity, indictment of sexism, and the acceptance of the LGBT community were also commended.
“The racial diversity in the 2016 Emmy Awards was very impressive, although I still think it took far too long for many Americans to appreciate non-white actors,” said Sunny Oh (11), drama student. “I am glad that we are finally seeing some changes in the general media, and making some progress toward equality. The mixture in the Emmy Awards this year certainly provided a platform for talented actors who come from different backgrounds, and I feel that such representation is truly needed for humans to progress toward a society in which we all acknowledge one another’s’ abilities.”
At least one actor or actress of color was nominated in almost every award category. Egyptian-American actor Rami Malek won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, and African-American actor Regina King was selected as the Best Supporting Actress. Not only did the Emmy Awards recognize racial diversity, it also highlighted the work of many female directors. Sarah Paulson won an Emmy for writing the “People v. O.J. Simpson” series, breaking the social norm of male dominance among directors. However, according to Forbes Magazine, only seven out of the 45 people nominated for writing and directing screenplay were women.
“I realized how much the Emmy Awards have progressed throughout the years.” said John Arthars, drama teacher. “It’s amazing to see the increase of race being nominated and won. I hope they still increase throughout the years and I am really excited for next years results.”
According to People, the 2016 Emmy Awards ceremony received mass support from critics over the diverse nominees and winners. This year’s Emmy Awards showed a marked contrast from award ceremonies such as the Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars, which was bombarded with criticism for being racially biased, according to The Guardian. Specifically, the Oscars failed to nominate a single actor or actress of color two years in a row, instigating a hashtag trend, #OscarsSoWhite.
“It is crazy how in the 21st century racial bias is still an issue.” Sean Lee (10) said. “When I read about how monochromatic the results of the Oscars were, I was appalled. Not a single color celebrity was even nominated, better yet a winner of an Oscar. However, while looking at the Emmy Awards, I could not believe how in almost every award, there was at least one colored actor or actress nominated. It is time for a change and this years Emmy Awards ceremony really kicked off a head start.”
Diversity and gender equality are two ongoing controversial topics. Forbes Magazine has stated that the Emmy Awards of 2016 have embarked on a new journey to eliminate racial and gender bias and that the viewers admired the change in the Emmy Awards even though they had a delayed start. The viewers hope that not only the Oscars but also other award ceremonies can do the same in the future.