The Emmy nominations were announced on Thursday morning, and at least when it comes to the lead actor categories, the Emmys are miles ahead of the Oscars when it comes to the diversity of its nominees.
Every lead actor category, both male and female, included at least one person of color in the pool of nominees, with some including more than one. Several of the supporting actor categories also include people of color.
This year’s nominees include Idris Elba (Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie), Aziz Ansari (Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series), Courtney B. Vance (Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie), Audra McDonald (Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie), Kerry Washington (Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie), Taraji P. Henson (Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series), Viola Davis (Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series), and Tracee Ellis Ross (Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series), among many others.
This stands in sharp contrast to this year’s Oscars, which didn’t include any people of color in any actor category. The Oscar nominations kickstarted conversations about the voters and the voting process and spawned #OscarsSoWhite.
Generally speaking, TV has film beat when it comes to diversity and inclusivity. Though it still has a long, long way to go, the great number of television shows and the fact that the television industry is larger than the film industry means that there’s more opportunity, and, in recent years, that has translated to improvement when it comes to diversity on the small screen.
With the shortcomings of the Oscar nominations becoming a big and formative talking point of the 2016 awards season, the Emmy nominations feel like a sign of positive change when it comes to reflecting the diversity that exists within televisions massive talent pool. Hopefully, it’s just a sign of progress — and not the end of it.