I woke up at 8 a.m. this morning, made my café con leche and pan con mantequilla and excitedly turned on the TV to find out which of my fellow Latinos had been nominated for an Emmy. Imagine my surprise when, after hearing the entire list, I realized that Latin actors and actresses had been completely shut out of all of the major categories this year! I was heartbroken, mad and sad all at once. I couldn't eat my pan, and I make a mean bread and butter, y'all.
After the Daytime Emmys all but completely ignored us this year, I thought for sure the prime-time awards would make up for it. They didn't. Actually, allow me to add some emphasis: they really didn’t! Let's start with the nominees in the category Best Comedy Series: Entourage, Family Guy, Flight of the Conchords, How I Met Your Mother, 30 Rock, The Office and Weeds. This is a strong lineup (especially Weeds and Entourage), but where is one of the strongest comedies, and the only Latin-centric show on television, Ugly Betty? It’s also interesting to be aware that the vast majority of these casts are made up largely of white actors (and white actors only).
Best Actor in a Comedy Series nominees Alec Baldwin (30 Rock), Steve Carell (The Office), Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords), Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory), Tony Shalhoub (Monk) and Charlie Sheen (Two and a Half Men) are all white men. The same is true for the six white women nominated for Best Actress in a Comedy Series: Christina Applegate (Samantha Who?), Toni Collette (United States of Tara), Julia Louis-Dreyfus (The New Adventures of Old Christine), Tina Fey (30 Rock), Mary-Louise Parker (Weeds) and Sarah Siverman (The Sarah Silverman Program). Were these actresses really more deserving of a nomination than Eva Longoria Parker, the most talented comedienne on Desperate Housewives? Also, why wasn’t Judy Reyes (in her final season full-time as Nurse Carla on Scrubs) not deserving of a nomination, even though she’s stolen the show in more than a few episodes for the past eight years? And I know Ugly Betty had its problems this year, but no América Ferrera? Really? She’s unquestionably one of television’s most popular actresses, and her performance on the show has been consistently good, and much better than Collette’s repetitive turn on United States of Tara. Joanna Garcia (Privileged) also deserved to be included here for her exceptional work in the fish-out-of-water comedy about a smart girl’s reactions to spoiled brats.
Best Supporting Actor and Actress in a Comedy Series offered much of the same. In fact, the only two nonwhite actors nominated in either category are Tracy Morgan (30 Rock) and Vanessa Williams (Ugly Betty). The remaining eight are white. Was there really no room for Ugly Betty’s Ana Ortiz?
Meanwhile, in Guest Actor in a Comedy Series, all five of the male actors are white, including Steve Martin, Alan Alda, Beau Bridges, John Hamm and Justin Timberlake. Same goes for Guest Actress, which nominated six white actress, including Jennifer Aniston (30 Rock). Um, how is it possible that they nominated Aniston's forgettable guest work on 30 Rock, but failed to nominate Salma Hayek for her unforgettable work on the same show?
After I learned all about the comedy nominations, I moved on to read the drama nominations, café con leche still in hand (about halfway through), and it was more of the same. The Best Drama Series nominees included Big Love, Breaking Bad, Damages, Dexter, House, Lost and Mad Men—all series that don’t showcase the talents of Latin stars (although Dexter has Lauren Velez, and Lost has Jorge Garcia, both in supporting roles). The Best Actor in a Drama category included only white actors too, and I was puzzled by the omission of Edward James Olmos, who was brilliant in Battlestar Galactica’s final season! And are they seriously going to leave Benjamin Bratt off the list, even though he gives what is unquestionably the most deep and heartfelt performance of his career (and possibly in all of television) on A&E’s The Cleaner? Give me a break!
Can you guess what happened in Best Actress in a Drama Series? You’re right. No Latinas! All six women were white too, and Cote de Pablo, who was brilliant on NCIS, was left out of the race. Meanwhile, the Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress in a Drama series categories ignored us as well, leaving off Sara Ramirez (Grey’s Anatomy) and Lauren Velez (Dexter) on the women’s side, and Demián Bichir (Weeds), Guillermo Diaz (Weeds) and Kevin Alejandro (Southland) on the men’s side.
Jimmy Smits—the only Latino to earn an acting nomination—was nominated for Guest Actor in a Drama Series for his stunning work as Miguel Prado on Showtime’s Dexter, but it would have been a heinous unforgivable crime not to nominate him.
You can read the rest of the list here. It offers more and more of the same. This is a very sad day for me, because there is far too much Latin talent on TV for us to go completely ignored by this awards show.