2021 Emmy Awards Criticized After No Actors of Color Win in Major Categories: '#EmmysSoWhite'

·3 min read
Kate Winslet
Kate Winslet

Despite a diverse field of nominees in nearly every category at the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards, no actors of color were awarded major trophies at the 2021 ceremony on Sunday.

Instead, white actors ultimately took home all 12 lead and supporting categories across the comedy, drama and limited races at the Emmys.

The Crown dominated the drama categories, with the four acting prizes going to Gillian Anderson, Tobias Menzies, Josh O'Connor and Olivia Colman over nominees like Pose star Mj Rodriguez in the lead actress race and the late Michael K. Williams in the supporting actor category.

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People of color were also shut out in the comedy categories, with Ted Lasso's Jason Sudeikis and Hacks star Jean Smart picking up lead acting wins. Sudeikis' costars Hannah Waddingham and Brett Goldstein won in the supporting races.

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Meanwhile, Saturday Night Live breakout star Bowen Yang and The Flight Attendant actress Rosie Perez were among the actors of color who were nominated in the supporting actor and supporting actress categories, respectively.

Additionally, Mare of Easttown won big in the limited series category. Star Kate Winslet and supporting actors Evan Peters and Julianne Nicholson took home trophies, while Halston star Ewan McGregor beat out Hamilton's Lin-Manuel Miranda and Leslie Odom Jr., among others, in the lead actor race.

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RuPaul was one of the few people of color to take home a trophy during Sunday's ceremony, winning for outstanding competition program and becoming the most-awarded person of color in the history of the Emmys with 11 wins.

"Thanks to all our lovely children on our show from around the world," RuPaul, 60, said while accepting the award. "They are so gracious to tell their stories of courage and how to navigate this difficult life, even more difficult today. This is for you."

I May Destroy You writer, star and director Michaela Coel was also celebrated when she won for outstanding writing for a limited series.

"I just wrote a little something for writers really," she began. "Write the title that scares you, that makes you feel uncertain, that isn't comfortable. I dare you in a world that entices us to browse through the lives of others to help us better determine how we feel about ourselves, and to in turn fill the need to be constantly visible."

She continued, "For visibility these days seems to equate to success. Do not be afraid to disappear from it, from us for a while, and see what comes to you in the silence."

However, the other writing and directing categories were dominated by white winners from Hacks and The Crown.

It's worth noting that during the Creative Arts Emmys, handed out last week and aired on FXX, three of the four acting categories — guest performances — were won by people of color: Lovecraft Country's Courtney B. Vance and Saturday Night Live hosts Dave Chappelle and Maya Rudolph.

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As the awards were announced, Emmys viewers took to Twitter with the hashtag #EmmysSoWhite to criticize the lack of winners of color.

Preston Mitchum, the Director of Advocacy and Government Affairs at The Trevor Project, tweeted, "So we're back to — and always will be — #EmmysSoWhite."

One user tweeted, "Why are people upset about the #EmmysSoWhite? Because representation matters, recognition matters, and acknowledgment matters. Award after award goes to another white person while people of color hand out awards and clap in the background."

Another added, "The #Emmys really said representation but only the nominees. #EmmysSoWhite."

The 73rd Emmy Awards, hosted by Cedric the Entertainer, aired live from 8-11 p.m. ET on CBS.

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