The 2023 Emmys nomination ceremony has become decidedly less inclusive, but several Black actors still received nods for their work, including Quinta Brunson, Dominique Fishback and Tyler James Williams.
The nomination ceremony was hosted by Television Academy chair Frank Scherma and actress Yvette Nicole Brown. One of the first categories announced, lead actress in a limited or anthology series or movie, featured Fishback for her work in Donald Glover’s Swarm. No Black actresses were announced in the lead actress of a drama category and no Black actors were nominated in the lead actor of a comedy category.
Brunson was nominated for her leading comedic role in Abbott Elementary. Brunson also earned a guest comedic actress nomination for her episode of Saturday Night Live. She goes up against Taraji P. Henson, who guest-starred in Abbott Elementary. Sam Richardson earned a guest comedic actor nomination for Ted Lasso. Other recognized guest performances from Black actors include both Lamar Johnson and Kevionn Montreal Woodard of The Last of Us, who were nominated for guest actor performance in a drama, and fellow The Last of Us star Storm Reid, who was nominated in the guest actress performance in a drama category.
Williams was nominated in the supporting actor in a comedy category for Abbott Elementary, and fellow Abbott Elementary co-stars Janelle James and Sheryl Lee Ralph were also nominated in the supporting actress in a comedy category. Jessica Williams was also nominated in this category for her role in Shrinking.
Niecy Nash-Betts was the only Black actor nominated in the supporting actress in a limited or anthology series or movie. Her nomination came thanks to her performance in Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story. The series was also among the nominated limited or anthology series nominated.
RuPaul’s Drag Race continued its nomination streak by being announced among the nominees for outstanding reality competition, and The Daily Show with Trevor Noah was nominated for Outstanding Talk Series. A notable exclusion from this list was The Amber Ruffin Show, which did have a full season in 2022, but the series has now been relegated to being produced as specials.
The narration category was where many Black notables have been nominated. President Barack Obama was nominated for Working: What We Do All Day, alongside Morgan Freeman for Our Universe, Mahershala Ali for Chimp Empire and Angela Bassett for Good Night Oppy.
Other actors of color were nominated this year as well. Beef stars Ali Wong and Steven Yeun were nominated in the lead actress and actor category for limited or anthology series or movie. Beef co-star Young Mazino was nominated in the supporting actor of a limited or anthology series or movie category. Beef itself was nominated for limited or anthology series or movie, while Kumail Nanjiani was also nominated in the lead actor of a limited or anthology series or movie category for his work in Welcome to Chippendales. Pedro Pascal was nominated in the lead actor of a drama category for The Last of Us as well as for his narration of Patagonia: Life On The Edge Of The World. He also received a guest comedic actor nomination for his work on Saturday Night Live.
Jenna Ortega was nominated in the lead actress of a comedy category for Wednesday. Fire Island, written by and starring Joel Kim Booster among a multicultural cast, was nominated for in the TV movie category, as was Weird: The Al Yankovic Story, which features Brunson as Oprah Winfrey. Arian Moyaed was nominated for his dramatic actor guest role in Succession, as well as fellow Succession co-star Hiam Abbass in the dramatic guest actress guest role category.
Among the animated programming category, Kid Cudi’s animated film Entergalactic was nominated, the only Black-led animated program to gain the honor. Entergalactic also stars Williams as co-lead alongside Kid Cudi.
Several series featuring Black actors or actors of color were nominated as a whole–Andor, starring Diego Luna, House of the Dragon, starring Steve Toussaint, Bethany Antonia and Phoebe Campbell, The Last of Us, featuring Rutina Wesley and Nico Parker alongside Johnson and Woodard, Yellowjackets, starring Tawny Cypress and Jasmin Savoy Brown, Wednesday, featuring Iman Marson, Tommie Earl Jenkins and Joy Sunday, Obi-Wan Kenobi, featuring Moses Ingram, and The White Lotus, starring Aubrey Plaza, Natasha Rothwell and Will Sharpe. The film Hocus Pocus 2, which stars Whitney Peak and Sam Richardson and featuring RuPaul’s Drag Race alums Kornbread Jete and Kahmora Hall, was also nominated in the TV film category.
The reality series The Voice was also nominated, with the most recent season featuring Chance the Rapper as a judge.
The 75th Annual Emmy Awards are scheduled to air Sept. 18 at 8/7c on Fox.