Black Actors Earn Record-High Number of Emmy Nominations

Black actors have a stronger presence in the Primetime Emmy Awards than they ever have, earning a record-high percentage of acting nods in Tuesday's nominations.

Other people of color, though, were largely shut out of the acting fields, and the writing and directing categories still remain largely the province of white men, even as the industry has a reckoning with its record on inclusion and diversity in front of and behind the camera.

Of the 102 acting nominations in the series, limited series and TV movie fields announced Tuesday, Black performers secured 35 (among 33 actors, as Maya Rudolph and Giancarlo Esposito were both nominated twice). The 34.3 percent of nominations represents an all-time high for Black actors, besting the previous record of 27.7 percent two years ago. It's also a sizable year-to-year jump, as Black actors only garnered about 20 percent of acting nominations in 2019.

Additionally, three of the six nominees for animation voice-over performance and half of the 10 the short-form acting nominees are Black.

Eleven of the 34 lead acting nominees are Black, including repeat honorees Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross (Black-ish), Don Cheadle (Black Monday), three-time nominee Kerry Washington (Little Fires Everywhere) and three-time winner Regina King (Watchmen). In supporting categories, Black actors earned 14 of 44 nominations. They make up 10 of the 24 guest-star nominations.

Only three other non-White performers — Sandra Oh (Killing Eve), Dev Patel (Modern Love) and Ramy Youssef (Ramy) — earned acting nominations.

The directing and writing categories still skew white and male, with men making up more than two-thirds of the nominees in both. White directors of any gender make up more than 70 percent of nominees (35 of 48), and white writers received 33 of 40 individual nominations in those categories (excluding variety series, where entire staffs are nominated).

Only three women of color received directing nods: Dime Davis for HBO's A Black Lady Sketch Show, Linda Mendoza for Netflix's Tiffany Haddish Presents: They Ready and Nadia Hallgren for Netflix's Becoming.

The seven people of color nominated for writing include three men (Cord Jefferson for Watchmen, Dave Chappelle for his Netflix special Sticks & Stones and Feras Fayyad for The Cave on Nat Geo) and four women (Stefani Robinson for What We Do in the Shadows, Tanya Barfield for Mrs. America, Marika Sawyer for John Mulaney and the Sack Lunch Bunch and The Cave's Alisar Hasan).