Emmys Criticised As All Major Acting Awards Go To White Actors

by : Niamh Shackleton on : 20 Sep 2021 13:43
Emmys Criticised As All Major Acting Awards Go To White ActorsPA Images

The Emmys are being criticised for favouring white actors in light of last night’s awards ceremony.

The annual Primetime Emmy awards took place yesterday, September 19, and, while the likes of I May Destroy You’s Michaela Coel and Ru Paul took home awards, a large majority of winners were white.


A record-breaking number of 49 non-white actors and creatives were among the nominees, including actors from Hamilton  and Bridgerton’s Regé-Jean Page, many of whom were expected to win, but went on to lose to their white counterparts.

Paapa Essiedu, left, and Michaela Coel (PA)PA Images

White actors dominated the big awards, with The Crown’s cast sweeping up many of the lead and supporting actor categories. Apple TV’s Ted Lasso, again with a predominately white cast, also took home an array of awards.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Emmy producers ‘took pains to keep the ceremony diverse’, but evidently their efforts were in vain as the first non-white winners didn’t come until one hour into the three hour-long ceremony.


Meanwhile, RuPaul was the first non-white winner to take the mic at almost two hours in. Now boasting 11 wins, the host of RuPaul’s Drag Race smashed the record for the most Emmy wins by a person of colour, with the TV reality programme being named outstanding competition program.

CBS star Cedric the Entertainer hosted the night and noted early on at the event that while there was a more diverse set of nominees this year, it was ‘still hard out [there]’.

Cedric the Entertainer (PA)PA Images

He said:


The good news is there are a lot of Black people nominated tonight, like my dawg Anthony Anderson. […] This is Anthony’s 11th nomination, but tonight he’s up against Michael Douglas and Ted Lasso. So good luck, partner, but I gotta’ say, looks like it’s still hard out here for a pimp.

People on social media have echoed similar sentiments, and called out the Emmys for allowing white winners to dominate the awards.

One person wrote, ‘All this black music, black host, black voice announcer, and white people getting all the awards,’ while someone else said, ‘50% of tonight’s nominees were people of color and Television Academy voters pretty much chose all the white people.’


Another person called out the Emmys for doing it ‘every year’. They tweeted, ‘Emmys do this every year: Nominate a diverse selection of our faves, only to give them to the same white actors and/or stories.’

‘Middle-aged white folks in conflict or British period pieces will win over nuanced, multi-dimensional plots involving characters of color,’ they continued.

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Niamh Shackleton

Niamh Shackleton is a pint sized person and journalist at UNILAD. After studying Multimedia Journalism at the University of Salford, she did a year at Caters News Agency as a features writer in Birmingham before deciding that Manchester is (arguably) one of the best places in the world, and therefore moved back up north. She's also UNILAD's unofficial crazy animal lady.

Topics: Film and TV, Awards, Emmys


The Hollywood Reporter
  1. The Hollywood Reporter

    #EmmysSoWhite: White Actors Sweep the 2021 Emmy Awards