In recent years, the entertainment industry's most prestigious award shows have been repeatedly called out for their historic lack of non-white representation in both nominations and winner lists.
So when it was revealed last July that the Television Academy had nominated more than two dozen black entertainers for this year's Primetime Emmy Awards—up from the 19 in 2017—many people took this record-number increase as a sign of relative progress.
A considerable number of Latinx entertainers scored nominations too (albeit less in the acting categories), including John Leguizamo, Antonio Banderas, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Alexis Bledel, as well as The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story's Ricky Martin and Edgar Ramirez.
And after having received FIVE supporting actress nominations for her breakout role as Cristina Yang on Grey's Anatomy, Killing Eve star Sandra Oh became the first Asian person to be nominated for an Emmy for lead actress in a drama series. Hiro Murai, the filmmaker behind the viral This Is America music video, also received a nod for Best Comedy Director for the critically-acclaimed Atlanta episode "Teddy Perkins."
Well, the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards finally aired last night and let's just say people's expectations did NOT meet reality. Of the 26 categories, only three entertainers of color won acting awards: Regina King for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or a Movie (Seven Seconds), Thandie Newton for Outstanding Supporting Actress (Westworld), and Darren Criss for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie (The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story).
This underwhelming show of representation took place throughout a series of jokes and sketches about diversity—"We Solved It", "The Reparations Emmys"—led by Emmy hosts and SNL cast members Colin Jost and Michael Che.
And after the first 11 winners, who were all white, took the stage to accept their awards, presenter James Corden made a joke about getting #EmmysSoWhite to trend on Twitter, seemingly in reference to honoree Betty White.
Speaking of presenters, some folks also made the same observation as @SemharGhebre who wrote, "Why are all the minorities presenting the awards to all the white winners?"
Debates have since sprung up both on and offline as to whether the 1,500+ Television Academy voters and Hollywood as a whole actually understand the concept of diversity in the first place.
And while added fame and celebration definitely comes with the trophy, Emmy wins have a lasting effect on future acting opportunities and the state of Hollywood at large. As noted in the 2018 UCLA Hollywood Diversity Report: "These annual rituals matter because the accolades bestowed by the academies set standards that help shape the types of prestige projects industry decision makers are likely to greenlight in the future. To the extent that women and people of color are marginalized at the Oscars and Emmys, they are also likely to be only peripheral players in the favored projects that make it to film and television."