Critics' Choice Awards May Be New but They're Doing Great Things for Women
It may be in its infancy, but the Critics' Choice Television Awards are already making their mark on the state of television diversity. Although the awards are only in their fourth year, the number of nominees of color for "best acting" has gone up by seven from last year, and by 12 from the first awards show in 2011. There has also been an increase in female-driven comedy, which might make this year the best Critics' Choice Awards yet.
Although the overall demographics of the nominations look promising, the winners could topple the diverse pyramid of representation, especially for women. After all, 12 Years a Slave made film history when swept the BAFTA, Golden Globes, and Oscars, not when it was nominated for all three awards. The comedy nominees pit brand-new diverse shows like Broad City, Orange is the New Black, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine against more traditional (and less inclusive) fare, like The Big Bang Theory. Even though OITNB fangirls have already professed the show's superiority and assured its win, there is a large possibility that the borderline-misogynist Silicon Valley could beat it. In the drama category, the chances of a non-white-male winner are even slimmer, since shows like The Good Wife, True Detective, and Breaking Bad could easily sweep Best Series and Best Actor titles.
Of course, there is no hope for the talk show category, unless Ellen triumphs over late night darlings like Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon. Ellen Degeneres has been nominated three times in the four years of Critics Choice awards, so hopefully she can finally beat out past winners like Jon Steward (who has won twice). However, in the reality TV section there are some promising hopefuls: this year we have Neil DeGrasse Tyson alongside RuPaul in the hosts category, where no people of color were nominated just three years before.
Although the diverse nominees show more promise than the one-sided gender dynamics of Cannes, for example, the winners will ultimately test the ability of American awards shows to include underrepresented groups, like women and people of color, in television and film. We'll all have to watch on June 19 to see if the Critics Choice Awards can pull off a win for diversity on the small screen.