"I'm proud to see so many Black artists nominated this year,"said Jeremy Pope, who was nominated for outstanding lead actor in a limited series or a movie for Netflix's Hollywood

By Robyn Merrett
July 28, 2020 07:08 PM
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Issa Rae, Kerry Washington, Jeremy Pope
Getty Images (3)

The entertainment industry is making strides in recognizing people of color as a record number of Black actors received Emmy Award nominations this year.

After the nominees were revealed Tuesday morning, Variety reported that 34.3 percent of the acting nominees are Black. There are a total of 102 acting nominees across the categories.

Sterling K. Brown received a nomination for outstanding lead actor in a drama series for This Is Us as well as a nomination for outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. His costar Ron Cephas also received a nomination for outstanding guest actor in a drama series for This Is Us.

Zendaya Coleman was recognized for her groundbreaking role as Rue Bennett in Euphoria, receiving a nomination for outstanding lead actress in a drama series — her first-ever Emmy nomination.

As for Billy Porter, he was nominated for outstanding lead actor in a drama series for Pose. Newcomer Jeremy Pope was nominated for outstanding lead actor in a limited series or a movie for Netflix's Hollywood, which was created by Ryan Murphy. Pope, 28, starred as the fictional Black and openly gay screenwriter Archie Coleman.

"Thank you to the Television Academy, my entire Hollywood family, and to Ryan Murphy for giving me my television debut. My heart is full. I'm proud to see so many Black artists nominated this year. It gives me hope that systemic change in our entertainment industry is not only possible, it's imminent," Pope said.

Zendaya in Euphoria
HBO

In the category of outstanding lead actress in a limited series or movie, Regina King was nominated for Watchmen, Octavia Spencer received a nomination for Self Made, and Kerry Washington was recognized for her role in Little Fires Everywhere.

Washington, 43, produced the Hulu series alongside Reese Witherspoon, Lynn Shelton, Liz Tigelaar, Pilar Savone and Lauren Neustadter.

Washington raved over the Emmy recognition on Twitter, also expressing gratitude for the nominations received for American Son and Live in Front of a Studio Audience: "To have @LittleFiresHulu, #AmericanSon and #LiveinFrontOfaStudioAudience be recognized by the @TelevisionAcad, this morning is such an honor. Feeling so much love, and feeling so blessed XOXOXOXOXOX."

Meanwhile, both Anthony Anderson (black-ish) and Don Cheadle (Black Monday) were nominated for outstanding lead actor in a comedy series.

Anderson's TV wife Tracee Ellis Ross also received a nomination for black-ish in the category of outstanding lead actress in a comedy series alongside Insecure's Issa Rae. And Rae's costar Yvonne Orji was nominated for outstanding supporting actress for her role as Molly Carter.

Orji, 36, celebrated the news on Twitter and joked, "I know Molly stressed y'all THE heck OUT this season, but shout out to all of you riding with @InsecureHBO and for VOTING!! We IN HERE! And it's even sweeter when the WHOLE SQAUD THRIVIN TOO! [handclap emoji] to @IssaRae on her Emmy nod, the entire show, AND @BlackLadySketch!"

Nominee Angela Bassett was recognized for outstanding guest actress in a comedy series for her appearance on A Black Lady Sketch Show, which was produced by Rae, 35. (The show received a nomination for outstanding variety/sketch series.)

Angela Bassett in A Black Lady Sketch
HBO

Maya Rudolph was also nominated in the same category — twice. She received a nomination for outstanding guest actress for Saturday Night Live and The Good Place. For her role in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Wanda Sykes was recognized for outstanding guest actress in a comedy series.

In the outstanding supporting actress in a drama series category, both Samira Wiley (The Handmaid's Tale) and Thandie Newton (Westworld) were nominated.

Mahershala Ali is up for outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series for Ramy alongside Kenan Thompson for Saturday Night Live. For his appearance on Saturday Night Live, iconic comedian Eddie Murphy received a nomination for guest actor in a comedy series.

Maya Rudolph in The Good Place
NBCU

Looking at the category of outstanding guest actress in a drama series, the following women were nominated: Cicely Tyson (How to Get Away with Murder), Laverne Cox (Orange Is the New Black), and Phylicia Rashad (This Is Us).

For outstanding supporting actor in a limited series or movie, Tituss Burgess was nominated for Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. The Reverend. 

"This one strikes differently," Burgess said of the nomination. "It's been a rough year for all of us. This honor is about more than acknowledgement. It's about motivation to be my most authentic self so I can create authentic work. This news has lifted me in ways I did not anticipate! Much love and gratitude to the Academy and my Kimmy family."

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jovan Adepo and Louis Gossett Jr. were also nominated in the category for Watchmen.

Tituss Burgess in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Netflix

Uzo Aduba received a nomination for outstanding supporting actress in a limited series or a movie for Mrs. America while Nicole Byer was recognized for outstanding host for a reality or competition program for Nailed It!

Finally, RuPaul was nominated for RuPaul's Drag Race and Karamo Brown and the rest of his Queer Eye costars received recognition for the show.

After the nominations were revealed, fans expressed their excitement on social media.

"Today is a good day for those rooting for everybody Black #Emmys," a fan tweeted.

"She was the first Black female lead on a network drama in 40 years, and now she broke an Emmy record with 4 nominations across 4 different categories. Kerry Washington deserves all the awards and accolades for her work," a different fan tweeted.

"Zendaya being nominated for a Emmy at just 23 for her first mature role... Black excellence at its finest!" another fan said.

"So happy Issa Rae and the Insecure HBO crew are getting their Emmy's recognition. Imagine creating a YouTube show, it blowing up, getting the attention of HBO & becoming not just a sought after actress but a sought after creator. A Black woman did that. #Emmys," a Twitter user tweeted.

This year's historical list of nominees comes a year after Black actors only made up 19.8 percent of the nominees in 2019, Variety reported.

The 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards will air live on Sept. 20 on ABC.