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James Corden Wanted #EmmysSoWhite To Go Viral, Wellll...Be Careful What You Wish For

Out of the 26 winners, only three were people of color.

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.

Out of ten Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress #OscarNoms, all ten are white women. Not one woman of color.

The backlash ultimately snowballed into the #OscarSoWhite movement started by April Reign in 2016.

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.

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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.

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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."

Ahhhhh Sandra Oh brought her mom and dad to the #Emmys

On another note, only TWO Asian actors—Archie Panjabi for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series in 2010 and Riz Ahmed for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie in 2017—have EVER won an acting Emmy. And even more incredibly, a Native American actor has yet to be nominated for a continuing series (many TV critics and viewers believe Westworld's Zahn McClarnon was seriously snubbed being that the HBO show received a Best Drama nomination, but his raved about season two performance went unrecognized.)

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).

Yay 3 POC winners on the *televised* #Emmys. We did it folks, we fixed racism. Diversity is everywhere. A rainbow of winners. Good job folks. #EmmysSoWhite https://t.co/86zz5T1bUZ

(In a 2018 interview with Vulture, Darren did not identify as Asian-American despite his mother being Filipino, sparking controversy as to whether he should be considered as such.)

The top show awards went to Game of Thrones and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, both of which have predominantly white leads and casts. And as producer and host of RuPaul's Drag Race, Rupaul accepted the show's award for Outstanding Reality Competition Series.

A significant number of the Black and Latinx nominees, including Tiffany Haddish, Katt Williams, and Samira Wiley, were nominated for—and actually won—Creative Arts Emmy awards, which are different from the Primetime Emmy Awards. The Creative Artis aired Sept. 15 on FXX and, according to the Emmys website, "recognizes outstanding artistic and technical achievement in a variety of television program genres, guest performances in weekly series, as well as exceptional work in the animation, reality and documentary categories."

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.

Whatever #emmys! Patting yourselves on the back with "look at how diverse our nominees are" and then letting the diversity jokes fly while awarding white people. Television Academy, you are trash. https://t.co/KSGnj6R5nP

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.

"This is the most diverse #Emmys ever!" 1st winner: white 2nd winner: white 3rd winner: white 4th winner: white 5th winner: white 6th winner: white "This is the most diverse #Emmys ever!" ~ JAZZ HANDS ~

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?"

Why are all the minorities presenting the awards to all the white winners? #Emmys #Emmyssowhite

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.

I saw it described this way recently and really love it: Diversity is inviting everyone to the party. Equity is making sure tickets are of a manageable price to everyone invited. Inclusion is asking folks to dance. So... yeah. @TheEmmys were "diverse." But go further. #Emmys https://t.co/3KyDVsD8io

I think the plan of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences was to nominate diversity to make them feel included, but ultimately give the award to white people. At least that’s what I’m getting so far... #Emmys

@RealityRobbed This whole #Emmys70 show has felt very “I have a black friend.”

Well so far the Television Academy is continuing Hollywood's diversity standard as being white women only. Sigh. #emmys

And yet not one deaf or disabled actor because we're not given those roles or ANY roles, they're given to hearing & able bodies actors, but sure, #Diversity is ONLY about race. No, #RepresentationMatters to #deaftalent but sadly, we're never even invited to the room #Emmys https://t.co/NVWSQpAGHG

I would love to know how many voting members of the Television Academy are people of color and specifically Latino! #Emmys https://t.co/PT4TIfd1EA

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."

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