Like with most awards shows, the nominations for the 2017 Emmy Awards are a divisive bunch, with clear fan favorites (Elisabeth Moss, anyone?) and big surprises (hell yes, Milo Ventimiglia) alike earning nods. But there's one category that, no matter what your TV allegiances are, it's hard not to celebrate: Actress in a Limited Series or Movie. It's hard not to cheer that in nominating Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Felicity Huffman, Carrie Coon, Jessica Lange, and Susan Sarandon, this Emmys category puts women, particularly those over 40, front and center — it's just a shame that the rest of Hollywood refuses to do the same thing.
All of the actors honored in this category are older than the norm for women in movies and TV, with Kidman at 50, Witherspoon at 41, Lange at 68, Sarandon at 70, and even Coon at 36. Even the stars who didn't make the cut but were considered possibilities, Lauren Graham, and Oprah Winfrey, are 50 and 63, respectively. This is a pretty major deal, considering the well-known fact that Hollywood tends to cast aside female actors once they hit the age of 30 or so, forcing them out of lead roles and limiting available parts. Instead of emphasizing this unfortunate trend, though, the Limited Series category is instead honoring the older woman who have gotten high-quality parts and delivered great performances despite the industry's ingrained ageism.
But it's incredibly frustrating that this category is such an anomaly in Hollywood. The actors honored here all deserve their nods, but they shouldn't be such standouts, either in the world of television or movies. The industry should have enough room for its female actors, especially older ones, that all award show acting categories feature nominees of various ages, without it being a big deal. Male actors are given prestigious, awards-worthy roles all the time — there's no reason that women shouldn't be given the exact same thing just as frequently.
Hopefully this year's Emmy nominations will remind those in charge at Hollywood studios that older female actors not only available to take on major roles, but that, if they are given the chance, they'll deliver — in a seriously huge, awards-worthy way.