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Emmys 2014: Little diversity among winners



Sofia Vergara, left, and Television Academy CEO Bruce Rosenblum speak on stage at the 66th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live.
Sofia Vergara, left, and Television Academy CEO Bruce Rosenblum speak on stage at the 66th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live.
Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
Sofia Vergara, left, and Television Academy CEO Bruce Rosenblum speak on stage at the 66th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live.
Director Cary Joji Fukunaga accepts Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series for the 'True Detective' episode 'Who Goes There.'
Kevin Winter/Getty Images


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Breaking Bad and Modern Family were the big winners at the 2014 Emmy Awards.

Women and minorities — not so much.

Things looked promising for Netflix's Orange is the New Black, which led the pack of shows with Emmy nods. But on Monday night, the female-helmed prison dramedy with one of the most diverse casts on TV was shut out of all five major categories for which it had been nominated.

In fact, no performers of color took home a statue Monday, though some of the nominees had been considered top contenders including Angela Bassett (FX's American Horror Story: Coven) and Andre Braugher (Fox's Brooklyn Nine-Nine).

Darnell Hunt, who studies the media as director of UCLA’s Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies, said he was not surprised by the lack of diversity among winners.

"What that tells us is the industry and the academy, in particular, is pretty homogenous," Hunt said. "The people voting sort of reflect the status quo in the industry — the fact that there is this disconnect between what's happening in front of the camera, and what America is and what America is becoming."

Fans of the top-rated Scandal on ABC hoped that Kerry Washington would score an Emmy, making her the first African-American to win Best Actress in a Drama Series. But Washington would lose to now-three-time Emmy winner Juliana Margulies.

Orange's Uzo Aduba did win 'guest actress in a comedy' as “Crazy Eyes” but that was awarded at last week's little-seen Creative Arts Emmys. 

Actors of color such as Octavia Spencer have said that they've found more opportunity in television than in film, but Hunt said that increased roles for these performers hasn't been reflected "in what we celebrate and reward."

"So far we haven't seen a translation where the awards program reflects the increasing variety of things that are actually being made for the small screen," Hunt said.

Several Emmy wins in the directing and writing departments were noteworthy as the nominee fields were — and have been —  dominated by white men.

Greater diversity was on display on the red carpet and among presenters on the telecast. But the Academy of Television Arts & Science still drummed up controversy with a segment featuring Modern Family star Sofia Vergara. 

As the academy's president Bruce Rosenblum talked about  "greater diversity of storytelling" on TV, Vergara spun on a rotating dais, mugging and waving to the audience.

"What truly matters," Rosenblum said, "is that we never forget that our success is based on always giving the viewers something compelling to look at."

http://youtu.be/tZRkF2D9ipM

This did not sit well with viewers at home who criticized the Academy for objectifying Vergara.

@geanuracos

Some found it ironic that Rosenblum was praising diversity, while playing up old sexual stereotypes. Others questioned why Vergara was taking part in the bit.

@mgcsilva

Academy representatives did not respond to a request for comment. Vegara, for her part, told critics to 'lighten up.'