The 2014 Emmys Had a Not So Shocking Diversity Problem So Let's Examine the Highs & Lows
As always, diversity is a dicey prospect when it comes to Hollywood. While television is often better than movies, the 66th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards didn't always take advantage of their diverse group of talented nominees. It's obvious that there's a real middle-aged white guy thing going on in cable TV, the category most likely to win awards, but what's disappointing about this year is that it could all have been so different. Orange Is the New Black was a leader in nominations! Kerry Washington killed it once again on Scandal, and she's embarrassingly overdue! But instead, we got a remarkably… similar looking group of winners (cough, cough white cough cough men).
Here are a few highlights/lowlights:
Ryan Murphy gave a touching and considerate tribute to Larry Kramer, AIDS patients, and gay men nationwide in his acceptance for The Normal Heart. While most of the A-List stars standing behind him are straight, that didn't lessen the power of seeing one of the earliest gay activists standing beside one of the successful beneficiaries of his hard work.
Key & Peele's little improvised, stepping on one another's lines bit didn't get much from the audience, but at least they got the chance to show off their comedy chops.
I guess "one woman" works on Colbert's writing staff. And Moira Walley-Beckett took home a writing award for you know, the best episode of television in the past year, "Ozymandias."
Cary Joji Fukunaga took home a win for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series for doing all of True Detective. And Gail Mancuso may be a part of the Modern Family juggernaut, but there are so few female directors it's hard to be mad.
Some of the diverse wins were shuttled off to the Creative Arts Awards, where Uzo Aduba and Joe Morton took home Guest Acting awards and got the chance to present writing awards.
Lucy Liu presented for Supporting Actor in a Drama, but wasn't a nominee for Elementary (after a pretty great season!) or cut to particularly frequently despite looking stunning and being a movie star. Same thing happened to Viola Davis. Halle Berry was the night's biggest presenter… and had nothing to work with. Why didn't Jimmy Kimmel make any jokes about these ladies? Spread the movie star love!
The show asked us to not admire Sofia Vergara's comedic timing, or that she had time to do both Modern Family and a solid supporting turn in Chef this summer, but instead objectify her for "always giving the viewers something compelling to watch." Gross.
But there was an overwhelming similarity in not just the ethnicity of the people up on the stage accepting awards, but who accepted those awards last year. Modern Family took home far too many, again . Did Ty Burrell really need another when Andre Braugher had a fantastic debut year in Brooklyn 99? At least Braugher has won before, a perennial drama nominee for Homicide: Life on the Street and Men of a Certain Age, among others.
If you're still not convinced that the Emmys had a real monotony problem, how sad is it that one of the most thorough displays of diversity was in the In Memorium segment? That is, until a poor selection from Robin Williams' Inside the Actor's Studio tour-de-force (hint, it's the part that involved Iran) ended the whole thing on a sour note — when there were two whole hours of nonstop comedy to choose from. Oh well. We always have OITNB Season 2, right? They can't possibly deny Lorraine Toussaint, right??? RIGHT?