Emmys: 'Pose' Star Billy Porter Nominated for Best Drama Actor, Trans Actresses Snubbed

JoJo Whilden/FX
Billy Porter in 'Pose'

Ryan Murphy's groundbreaking FX series — which features five trans women of color as series regulars — scored a total of seven noms with none for stars Mj Rodriguez, Indya Moore and Dominique Jackson.

The nominations for the 2019 Emmys were announced Tuesday morning and Pose — Ryan Murphy's groundbreaking FX drama centered around New York's LGBTQ ballroom scene of the late '80s and early '90s — was among the TV shows that were honored.

Billy Porter, who plays the exuberant ballroom emcee and fashion designer Pray Tell on the series, was nominated for outstanding lead actor in a drama series. Others in the category include Jason Bateman (Ozark), Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us), Kit Harington (Game of Thrones), Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul) and Milo Ventimiglia (This Is Us).

However, in the outstanding lead actress in a drama series category, Pose's trio of leading ladies — Mj Rodriguez (Blanca Evangelista), Indya Moore (Angel Evangelista) and Dominique Jackson (Elektra Abundance) — were noticeably left out. The show, which is now airing its second season, made history when it debuted in 2018 for casting five transgender women of color as series regulars, an unprecedented number for a scripted series in the U.S.

Though Rodriguez, Moore and Jackson were snubbed, Pose was nominated for outstanding drama series alongside Better Call Saul (AMC), Bodyguard (Netflix), Game of Thrones (HBO), Killing Eve (BBC America), Ozark (Netflix), Succession (HBO) and This Is Us (NBC).

Pose — co-created by Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Steven Canals — received a total of six nods that also included outstanding makeup for a single-camera series; outstanding hairstyling for a single-camera series; outstanding casting for a drama series; outstanding period costumes; and outstanding shortform nonfiction or reality series for its one-off special, Pose: Identity, Family Community (Inside Look).

In a statement obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis applauded the Television Academy for recognizing Pose and Porter in its nominations.

"The Television Academy sent a powerful message today not only about LGBTQ representation, but diverse LGBTQ representation on television. Today’s nominees better showcase the diversity of LGBTQ people from the trans and LGBTQ people of color in FX’s groundbreaking drama Pose," she said in part, adding, "Billy Porter is a gifted actor whose historic nomination will inspire so many LGBTQ fans who cheer for him each week on Pose. He is a force for change in the entertainment industry who consistently uses his voice to send game-changing messages of individuality and empowerment."

Pose — which won a Peabody Award in May and has been nominated for Golden Globes and Critics Choice Television Awards, among other industry accolades — has been lauded by critics for its inclusive approach to telling LGBTQ stories and highlighting issues that impact the community. In season one, the show tackled the marginalization of LGBTQ people of color as the HIV/AIDS crisis worsened in the U.S. And, recently in season two, Murphy and writer-producer-director Janet Mock spotlighted the epidemic of fatal violence against trans women of color.

As Murphy explained in a recent interview with THR, the entire team behind Pose hopes to hold a mirror up to society. "At its best, Pose is advocacy. I think we're at a tipping point in our culture — and it's only getting worse under this current administration — where all you can do is ask people to get angry," he said. "What will it take?"

The Primetime Emmy Awards, honoring the best in TV programming, will be handed out Sunday, Sept. 22. The show will air live on Fox starting at 5 p.m. PT from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. A host has not yet been announced.

1:13 p.m. Updated with a statement from GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis.