Emmy nominations are here, and they’re insanely weird

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Queeries is a weekly column by CBC Arts producer Peter Knegt that questions LGBTQ art, culture and / or identity through a personal lens. The 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards still take place in September regardless … everything, and this morning we learned which television they might be celebrating. The nominations were truly some of the most diverse batches of contenders I’ve ever seen at a big awards show, including a record-breaking show of LGBTQ artists and storytellers.

Queer-centric series like Hollywood (12 nominations), Course de dragsters de RuPaul (10 nominations, plus 2 others for Not stuck), Kill Eve (8 nominations), Queer eye (6 nominations), Acclamation (6 nominations), euphoria (6 nominations), Pose (5 nominations), Will and grace (5 nominations), The politician (5 nominations) et CBC Ruisseau Schitt (15 nominations!) Dominated the debates, as did many queer artists. Overall, the level of LGBTQ representation among nominations is virtually unprecedented.

Take this not-so-fun fact: only three openly LGBTQ actors have ever been nominated for an Oscar – and only one of them for a queer role. In contrast, today the Emmys named 13 LGBTQ people in their acting categories: Dan Levy (who was also nominated for writing and directing Ruisseau Schitt), Kate McKinnon (Saturday Night Live), Wanda Sykes (The wonderful Mrs. Maisel), Billy Porter (Pose), Fiona Shaw (Kill Eve), Samira Wiley (The Handmaid’s Tale), Andrew Scott (Black mirror), Laverne Cox (Orange is the new black), Cherry Jones (Succession) Jeremy Pope (Hollywood), Jim Parsons (Hollywood), Holland Taylor (Hollywood) et Tituss Burgess (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. the Reverend). The majority of those appointments were for LGBTQ roles, and almost half were queer people of color. It really is a big problem.

The women of Pose have been snubbed by the Emmys for the second year in a row. (F / X)

The awards show seems to take the baby’s smallest steps toward diversity each year in their nominations, but this year the Emmys have taken a small leap. It doesn’t even seem problematic that seven heterosexual actors – Andre Braugher, Sandra Oh, Jodie Comer, Linda Cardellini, Hugh Jackman, Alexis Bledel and Zendaya (whose nomination for euphoria was such a wonderfully deserved surprise) – are ready to portray LGBTQ characters.

Of course, while there was obviously a lot to celebrate with these nominations, there were also a few very glaring omissions. Steven Canals, Brad Falchuk and Ryan Murphy’s F / X Season Two Pose was the true crowning glory of LGBTQ representation last season, and although he received 5 much-deserved nominations for Porter and his hair, makeup and costume teams, he easily should have tripled that number. I mean, how is it fair that Brad Pitt got a nomination for spending essentially 60 seconds on a Zoom call while the staggering hours of performance offered by the rest of PoseThe cast – mostly made up of trans women of color – has been ignored? Mj Rodriguez, Indya Moore and Angelica Ross in particular were more than worthy of nominations in their respective categories.

I hope to come next year, the third season of Pose (currently postponed due to COVID-19) will have found its way to our screens and its main ladies at an Emmys ceremony that is in fact allowed to take place in a conventional manner. But for now, as we all stay at home and rely even more on our favorite TV shows to keep us entertained and connected, it’s good to rejoice that so many LGBTQ creators are being recognized for their contributions. It wasn’t that long ago that a single nomination for a queer person to a big awards show would be remarkable in itself. These Emmy nominations prove that should never be the norm again, and hopefully other accolades (I’m looking at you, Oscars – if you ever do happen again, at least) follow suit.

The winners of the 72nd Primetime Emmy Award will be announced on September 20, 2020 at a ceremony hosted by Jimmy Kimmel.

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