A diverse slate of nominees did not translate to the list of winners at the 2021 Emmy Awards. Despite multiple nominees of color in nearly every category, every major acting trophy was handed to a white winner on Sunday night.
“The Crown” swept the drama categories, with the four acting prizes taken home by the show’s white stars. Gillian Anderson, Tobias Menzies, Josh O’Connor and Olivia Colman triumphed in categories which also included nominees like “Pose” star MJ Rodriguez, the recently deceased Michael K. Williams and a slew of “Handmaid’s Tale” actors including Max Minghella, O-T Fagbenle and Samira Wiley.
On the comedy side, people of color were also shut out where the stars of “Ted Lasso” and “Hacks” picked up wins. Jean Smart and Jason Sudeikis took home the lead acting wins, with Sudeikis’ co-stars Hannah Waddingham and Brett Goldstein winning in supporting. “Saturday Night Live” breakout star Bowen Yang and “The Flight Attendant” actress Rosie Perez were among the people of color nominated. Yang’s co-star Kenan Thompson picked up two nominations — for “SNL” as well as his NBC sitcom “Kenan.”
The guest acting categories at last weekend’s Creative Arts ceremonies fared better in terms of diversity, with “SNL” hosts Dave Chappelle and Maya Rudolph winning in comedy, and “Lovecraft Country’s” Courtney B. Vance winning for guest actor in a drama.
“Mare of Easttown” followed up on its word-of-mouth success from earlier this summer with a sweep of every limited series acting category it was nominated in. Star Kate Winslet and supporting players Evan Peters and Julianne Nicholson all took home trophies on Sunday. In the lead actor category, “Halston” star Ewan McGregor triumphed over “Hamilton” stars Lin-Manuel Miranda and Lin-Manuel Miranda, among others.
One of the few people of color to take the stage to accept awards at Sunday’s ceremony was “RuPaul’s Drag Race” host and executive producer RuPaul Charles, who accepted the trophy for Outstanding Competition Program flanked by judge Michelle Visage and competitors Gottmik and Simone in full drag. Charles became the winningest Black person in Emmys history on Sunday, having recently claimed his sixth straight win for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Competition Program. He has 11 Emmys in total.
“I May Destroy You” writer, star and director Michaela Coel was another one of the night’s most celebrated winners when she was announced as the winner for Outstanding Writing for a Limited/Anthology Series or Movie. The other writing and directing categories, however, were dominated by white winners from the teams behind “Hacks,” “The Crown” and “Last Week Tonight.”