If you were to look at today’s Emmy awards nominations, you’d be forgiven for thinking no Latinx projects or entertainers made any significant contributions to last year’s television landscape. Those of us hoping (yet again) for the Television Academy to recognize critically acclaimed shows like Vida, One Day at a Time, Jane the Virgin, Narcos: Mexico, or On My Block found ourselves as distraught as last year. And the year before.
Emmy favorites like Game of Thrones, Saturday Night Live and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel dominated the morning’s announcement, with the HBO fantasy drama breaking the record for most nominations earned by a drama series on any given year. There were, alas, some good news in those major categories: the Steven Canals-created Pose, which boasts the most thrilling cast ensemble on television, including MJ Rodriguez, Indya Moore and Angel Bismark Curiel, earned six nominations, including one for Best Drama. And Ava DuVernay’s heartbreaking miniseries When They See Us, about the “Central Park Five” story, wowed with 16 nominations, including one for its Dominican-American lead actor, Jharrel Jerome, and one for supporting actor John Leguizamo.
Those two acting citations account for half of the overall nominations that went to Latinx performers. The other two? Benicio del Toro‘s first-ever nom for his work on the Ben Stiller-directed Escape at Dannemora and Anthony Mendez‘s third-ever nomination in the Outstanding Narrator category (only this time, it was for PBS’s docuseries Wonders of Mexico and not for Jane the Virgin). If you’re keeping track, that means that Latinas merited no mentions. Not Gina Rodriguez and not Jennifer Lopez. Not Justina Machado and not Rita Moreno. Not America Ferrera and not Rosie Perez. Not any of the girls from Vida or from Pose or from Orange is the New Black.
One ends up needing to celebrate the small victories, like One Day at a Time‘s third consecutive nomination in the Outstanding Multi-Camera Picture Editing for a Comedy Series. Or Julio Torres‘ fourth nomination for writing on SNL. Or the Outstanding Children’s Program nomination for the Rodriguez-voiced Carmen Sandiego. Or the various noms earned by the Nuyorican Productions-backed and J. Lo-hosted World of Dance. And a nod in the Exceptional Merit category for Rudy Valdez‘s HBO documentary The Sentence. But it always feels so disheartening to need to do so. To have quality Latinx television programming continually be made to feel invisible. A show like Vida, thankfully, needs no Emmys to know it’s changing the game. But it sure would be encouraging to see the industry at large not so obviously giving it the cold shoulder while it’s doing so.
The 71st Primetime Emmy Awards will be broadcast September 22, 2019, on Fox.