Squid Game’s historic 14 nominations went a long way toward buoying the diversity numbers for the 2022 Emmy acting nominees.
Nearly 20 percent (five: lead actor Lee Jung-jae, supporting actors Park Hae-soo and Oh Young-soo, supporting actress Jung Ho-yeon and guest actress Lee You-mi) of this year’s nominated actors of color (26) hail from the Netflix drama, which also makes the 74th Emmys its most Korean ever. (Sandra Oh, who is Korean-Canadian, landed her 13th career Emmy nod, for drama lead actress in Killing Eve.)
Overall, half of the nonwhite nominees came from three casts: Squid Game and comedies Abbott Elementary (lead actress Quinta Brunson, supporting actresses Janelle James and Sheryl Lee Ralph and supporting actor Tyler James Williams) and Ted Lasso (supporting actors Toheeb Jimoh and Nick Mohammed, supporting actress Sarah Niles and guest actor Sam Richardson). Brunson’s additional nominations for best comedy series and writing make her the first Black woman to receive three Emmy nods for the same comedy series in a single year, according to the Warner Bros. Television Group.
Drama Euphoria (lead actress Zendaya and guest actor Colman Domingo) and comedy Saturday Night Live (supporting actor Bowen Yang and guest actor Jerrod Carmichael) each yielded two nominations for performers of color – as did, surprisingly, drama Succession, for guest actor Arian Moayed and guest actress Sanaa Lathan.
The Iranian-American Moayed and Lebanese-American comedy supporting actor nominee Tony Shalhoub (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) are both of Southwest Asian and North African (SWANA) descent, which The Hollywood Reporter currently includes in its count of historically excluded or marginalized identities.
Rounding out this year’s nonwhite acting nominees are comedy lead actor Donald Glover (Atlanta), limited series lead actors Oscar Isaac (Scenes From a Marriage) and Himesh Patel (Station Eleven), comedy lead actress Issa Rae (Insecure) and limited series lead actress Natasha Rothwell (The White Lotus).
White actors monopolized three categories: limited series lead actress and supporting actor, and comedy guest actress. In total, actors from the global majority represented just under a quarter (24.5 percent) of the 106 total nomination spots, down from 44 percent last year. (However, nominations don’t necessarily translate to wins: White actors went 12 for 12 across all lead and supporting races in 2021.)
The most diverse category this year is the comedy supporting actor race, which sees two Black actors, two Asian actors and an actor of SWANA descent among the eight contenders. That category remains the record holder for most nominees of color in a single year: 2020, when five Black actors were nominated alongside Shalhoub in a field of eight. (Dan Levy of Schitt’s Creek won.) And comedy supporting actress’ trio of Black women is the most nonwhite nominees that category has ever seen.
Black actors comprise just over half (14) of 2021’s acting nominees of color. Nine are of Asian descent – a single-year Emmys high, two are of SWANA ancestry and two are Latino (Domingo is Afro-Latino, so counted twice).
Beyond the acting categories, the Television Academy noted that women represented nearly half of the scripted directing and almost 40 percent of the scripted writing fields (and 34 percent of nominees across all writing categories).
July 12, 2:59 p.m. Corrected number of Emmy acting nominees this year who are Latino.