Black performers matter. Nineteen African-American actors received Emmy nominations Thursday morning, a record-breaking tally thanks in large part to the huge response to “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” and the better-than-expected showing of “Black-ish,” which in addition to being nominated as best comedy series also scored nods for stars Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross.
Diversity was also represented in the Emmys’ most pleasant surprise: noms for Netflix’s “Master Of None” and its star Aziz Ansari.
“Black-ish” and “Master” were the only newcomers on the comedy list.
On the local front, long-time Minnesota favorite Louie Anderson earned his first prime-time Emmy nod for his gender-switching role as a passive-aggressive mom in FX’s “Baskets.” “Fargo,” set but not shot in the state, earned 22 noms, tying it with “The People v. O.J. Simpson.” “Game of Thrones,” last year’s winner for best drama, led the field with 23 nods.
In individual achievement, it’s hard to top Laurie Metcalf who will compete as lead comedy actress (“Getting On”) and guest appearances in “Horace and Pete” and “The Big Bang Theory.”
Metcalf sliding into shows on three different formats — pay cable, network and streaming service — shows just how wonderfully complex viewing has gotten, and how quickly the Emmys are adapting.
Of the seven series in the race for best comedy, three — “Master,” “Transparent” and “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” — came from either Netflix or Amazon. In all, Netflix scored 54 noms, more than any other network and behind only HBO and FX in bragging rights.
Those hoping for more diversity in the late-night category had to have been disappointed. Neither Samantha Bee or new “Daily Show” host Trevor Noah made the cut. Emmy did find room, though, to include Jerry Seinfeld’s “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” which airs on Crackle, assuring that the category remains an all white-male race.
“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” one of the few network shows run by women, also fell short in major categories, despite its star and co-creator Rachel Bloom winning a Golden Globe earlier this year.
“Orange is the New Black,” which features an almost entirely female cast, also faltered with only one nomination. Last year’s winner as best supporting actress, Uzo Aduba, did not make the cut, perhaps to make room for Constance Zimmer of Lifetime’s “UnREAL.” Another Golden Globe champ Christian Slater of “Mr. Robot” also got left off, but his co-star Rami Malek and the show itself were honored. “The Good Wife’s” final season was totally ignored.
“Veep,” last year’s winner as best comedy, led the polls in comedy with 17 nominations, eight more than last year.
The 68th Annual Emmy Awards will be handed out Sept. 18 on ABC with host Jimmy Kimmel.