(Photo by Michael Buckner/Variety via Getty Images)
The Television Academy recognizes diversity in their nominations. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Variety via Getty Images)

2023 Emmy Nominations: Latinos make history in main acting categories, Black actresses set acting record

Pedro Pascal and Jenna Ortega both picked up noms for in the main acting categories. Supporting comedy actress will have a record four Black women nominated.


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This year’s 75th annual Emmy nominations recognizes a more culturally diverse class of new and veteran actors, with Latino and Black performers coming out strong. 

Pedro Pascal and Jenna Ortega on Wednesday, July 12 joined a short list of Latinos to be nominated for Emmys for leading roles. Pascal was nominated for best lead actor in a drama for his role as Joel Miller, the protagonist of HBO’s critically acclaimed “The Last of Us." 

He is the second Latino to be nominated in the category, following Jimmy Smits, who earned five consecutive nominations for his role as Detective Bobby Simone on ABC’s “NYPD Blue” from 1995 to 1999.

Pascal was also nominated as an outstanding guest actor in a comedy series for his guest appearance on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” as well as outstanding narrator for CNN’s “Patagonia: Life on the Edge of the World.”

Ortega was nominated for best lead actress in a comedy series for her breakout role as Wednesday Addams, the titular character in Netflix's hit show, “Wednesday.” 

She's the third Latina to be nominated in the lead actress category, following Rita Moreno in 1983 for ABC’s sitcom “9 to 5” and America Ferrera in 2007 and 2008 for ABC’s “Ugly Betty.” Ferrera won in 2007.

Aubrey Plaza, who is of Puerto Rican heritage, was for outstanding supporting actress for her portrayal of Harper on HBO’s suspenseful drama “The White Lotus.”

Some Latinos were snubbed from nominations including Diego Luna for best lead actor for his role in the “Star Wars” franchise as the titular character of “Andor.” The series has garnered several nominations, including outstanding drama series. 

Selena Gomez, who is of Mexican heritage, was also not included for the second time for lead actress role as Mabel in Hulu’s “Only Murders in the Building,” while the show was nominated for best comedy series. 

Latino representation in Hollywood has made strides in recent years but could very much still. Samba TV recently released a report revealing that diversity in casting appeals to nonwhite viewers of TV and movies.

Despite the U.S. becoming more increasingly diverse, the report said that the majority of leads in film and TV were white, and less than half feature a lead that is Asian or Latino. Even while making up roughly 20% of the total U.S. population, Latino actors only make up 10% of the acting industry, Samba found. 

In Supporting comedy actress, a record four Black women were nominated; Ayo Edebiri (“The Bear”), Jessica Williams (“Shrinking”) and Janelle James and Sheryl Lee Ralph (“Abbott Elementary”). 

No acting category in history has ever had more Black women in it.

Quinta Brunson made history at last year’s awards ceremony, becoming the first Black woman to win solo for writing the pilot episode of ABC’s “Abbott Elementary.” 

However, she did not receive a consecutive nomination for writing the season two opener titled “Development Day.” No Black woman has ever been nominated for writing more than once.

Brunson is still in the running for best lead actress in a comedy, for producing the show and for hosting “SNL.” Dominique Fishback also picked up a nomination for lead actress (limited) for Prime Video’s “Swarm,” and at 32, is the youngest Black woman recognized in the category.

Two-time Emmy-winning director Paris Barclay was nominated for his work on Netflix’s limited series “Dahmer — Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story,” becoming the first Black person to be nominated in all three directing series categories. His previous nominations were for “NYPD Blue” and “The West Wing” in drama and “Glee” in comedy.

“Nailed It” emcee Nicole Byer is also now the most-nominated Black woman for outstanding host with four nods but has not won any. 

The Emmys will air live on Sept. 18.


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