It was a great night for diversity at the 68th Annual Emmy Awards. And, as host Jimmy Kimmel reminded the audience on Sunday night, Hollywood only cares about one thing more than it cares about diversity: congratulating itself about how much it cares about diversity. Clearly wanting to gloat after the #OscarSoWhite controversy put the Academy of Motion Pictures on blast, the Television Academy gave themselves a pat on the back as more accurately representing America’s diverse population. Aziz Ansari and his co-writer Alan Yang won early in the night for their writing on Netflix’s Master of None for an episode all about immigrant parents. Jill Soloway and Jeffrey Tambor picked up two more Emmys for, respectively, directing and starring in the queer and Jewish show, Transparent. The latter adding: “Please give transgender talent a chance.” Regina King got teary as she accepted her award for the gun violence and class-conscious ABC drama American Crime while Sterling K. Brown and Courtney B. Vance earned statues for their work as African-American lawyers in American Crime Story: The People vs OJ Simpson. And yes, Veep and Game of Thrones repeated their wins as Best Comedy and Best Drama but at least Egyptian-American Rami Malek triumphed in the Best Actor category for portraying Elliot in the hacker thriller Mr. Robot.
But one glaring absence from the many diverse voices on display? Latinxs. Yes, we knew going in that Jane the Virgin hadn’t cracked any of the top categories (#Justice4Gina) though several Latinxs had scored nominations (and some wins) in the below the line awards that were handed out last week at a special ceremony. We knew that the ladies of Superstore, Telenovela, Shades of Blue and Orange is the New Black had been snubbed. That the men of Narcos and Mozart in the Jungle couldn’t translate their Golden Globes buzz into Emmy glory. Heck, we even knew that regular nominee Sofia Vergara had finally been passed over after 7 seasons on Modern Family.
— Kayla Rae (@kaylarae_ve) September 19, 2016
But we’d hope the presenter list would go some ways to redress this absence. All we got, though, was Jimmy Smits handing out the final award of the night to Game of Thrones, and America Ferrera presenting the Best Reality TV Series award alongside Mandy Moore. Badass that she is, of course, at least the Ugly Betty star (who finished a triathlon the day before) took her time on stage to make a dig at Donald Trump.
In fact, the Republican presidential nominee was understandably a recurring presence throughout the night. Before even picking up his Emmy from Ferrera, producer Mark Burnett got singled out by Kimmel for having foisted the Celebrity Apprentice on all of us while Julia Louis Dreyfus spent her speech apologizing for the current political climate: “Our show started out as a political satire but now seems like a sobering documentary.” She promised though, to rebuild the wall between comedy and politics (and make Mexico pay for it, of course). Similarly, Ansari —who got cut off during his acceptance speech — borrowed time later on the show to turn the diversity self-congratulations on its head by joking he’d follow Trump’s ways and that the (not so many) Muslim and Latino nominees and attendees should be kicked out of the auditorium. “Wow, this would be so much easier if we were at the Oscars,” he quipped.
The other moment when a Latina got a shout out from the stage? When Kimmel joked that the outgoing president of the Television Academy only had this one night left to hit on Modern Family’s Sofia Vergara. Not even being the highest paid TV actress in America exempts you from being at the center of sexist jokes like these. But hey! It’s progress. Remember a few years ago when she was displayed on a rotating pedestal? And so, as was going to be the case, the many triumphs for diversity also merely reminded us how long we still have to go.
Since only one Latino received a statuette during the televised award ceremony last night (for directing), below is a list of highlights of the Latinxs that took home an Emmy at the Creative Arts Awards on September 10 and September 11, 2016.
A complete list of Emmy winners from both the televised ceremony and the Creative Arts Awards is here.
Additional reporting by Yara Simón.