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This Year's Emmy Nominations Are Queerer and More Diverse Than Ever

Emmy Nominations

If there were any lingering questions about network television’s dwindling ability to nab Emmy nominations, it was answered with Thursday’s announcement of this year’s nominees, overwhelmingly skewed toward cable and streaming sites as well as toward fresh, queer, intersectional television, according to the Los Angeles Times' full list. Nearly every category features a nominee in an LGBT role or queer-leaning show, if not an out actor, and that bodes well for the future of representation on the small and increasingly smaller screens. 

Among the standout series nominated that feature LGBT characters, themes, or actors are The Handmaid’s Tale, Westworld, Master of None, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and the perennial favorite Modern Family. Additionally, shows that landed big with LGBT audiences and earned nominations include Stranger Things, Big Little Lies, and Feud: Bette and Joan (from out creator Ryan Murphy). The cult-like devotion to Black Mirror’s queer-themed "San Junipero" episode starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Mackenzie Davis did not go unnoticed. It earned a nomination for Outstanding Television Movie. 

It was another good year for RuPaul’s Drag Race, with the reality competition show garnering eight nominations, including for Outstanding Reality Competition and for Reality Competition Host, which RuPaul won last year. 

Out actors pulled in several nominations across the board. Evan Rachel Wood and Lily Tomlin scored nominations for their lead roles in Westworld and Grace and Frankie, respectively, while supporting categories include Samira Wiley for The Handmaid’s Tale, Tituss Burgess for Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and Kate McKinnon for Saturday Night Live. Orange Is the New Black's Laverne Cox and Strangers Things's Shannon Purser landed nominations for guest star in a drama. 

While, arguably the queerest shows on television, Transparent and Orange Is the New Black, did not receive nominations in the comedy and drama categories, Transparent’s Jeffrey Tambor was nominated for lead actor in a comedy while Kathryn Hahn and Judith Light were both nominated for supporting actress. Uzo Aduba also scored another acting nomination in the best supporting category for Orange Is the New Black.

Beyond nominations for LGBT shows, gone are the days of shows about troubled white male characters like Don Draper and Walter White dominating the conversation. This year’s nominations are a move in the right direction of diversity with shows about people of color and women like Atlanta, Black-ish, How to Get Away With Murder, Master of None, Big Little Lies, Feud: Bette and Joan, Grace and Frankie, and the lone female-hosted standout in the variety talk show category, Full Frontal With Samantha Bee, all scoring nominations. 

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