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Kerry Washington Is 1st Black Actress Since Cicely Tyson In 1995 To Earn Drama Lead Actress Primetime Emmy Nomination

Kerry Washington Is 1st Black Actress Since Cicely Tyson In 1995 To Earn Drama Lead Actress Primetime Emmy Nomination

Congrats to Kerry Washington (Lead Actress In A Drama Series) and Don Cheadle (Lead Actor In A Comedy Series) for their Primtetime Emmy nominations (specific categories in parentheses), announced just moments ago.

This marks Kerry Washington’s first ever Emmy nomination, and the first time a black actress has been nominated in that category (Lead Actress In A Drama Series) since the 1994-95 season (the 47th annual Primetime Emmys) when Cicely Tyson was nominated for her work in the NBC legal drama series Sweet Justice. Interestingly, Sweet Justice would run for just one season. And Tyson didn’t win. She lost to Kathy Baker for her work in Picket Fences.

Note: a black actress has never won in this category, in the 65 years since the first Primetime Emmys were awarded.

Cheadle was nominated in the same category last year. This years nomination marks his 6th total.

Alfre Woodard picked up a nomination for her performance in Steel Magnolias, in the Best Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie category.

And last, but not least, Paris Barclay picked up a nomination in the Directing For A Comedy Series category, for directing Diva, the thirteenth episode of Glee’s fourth season.

Notable misses? I thought Regina King had a shot at a nomination, for her work in Southland, which was canceled after this last season. 

Anyone else you think should be on the list?

I’m sure there’ll be the usual debates on who should have been nominated but wasn’t; who was nominated that shouldn’t have been; etc.

I also expect to see the usual articles lamenting the lack of diversity on the list of nominees. Ho-hum.

The Primetime Emmys will be held Sunday, September 22, at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles. CBS is broadcasting this year’s show, with Neil Patrick Harris serving as host. His second major awards hosting gig this year (he also hosted the Tony Awards).

For the full list of nominees, click HERE.

On the next page, you’ll find my post from last night, predicting this morning’s nominees as far as black talent is concerned. And based on what I wrote, I don’t think I fared well.

Well, it’s about that time. The nominations for the 2013 Emmy Awards will be announced this morning, Thursday, at around 8:15am EST, in Los Angeles, and while I certainly don’t have to tell you that Diaspora representation will be nearly absent, I thought I’d at least take a quick look at those few black actors (and shows) whose names just might be called when Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad) and Kate Mara (House of Cards) announce the nominees, less than 24 hours from now. 

Of course we’ll have the full list of nominations once they are announced, which I’m sure will be dominated by perennial favorites like Mad MenModern Family and 30 Rock, as well as expected wild cards. 

Until then, here are our best bets for black actors and shows (in the major categories) we might hear mentioned later this morning.

– First, in the Best Actor in a Drama category: No one. Idris Elba in Luther wouldn’t count this year, because season 2 aired in 2011. Season 3 debuts in the US in September this year. There was a longer-than-expected gap between seasons 2 and 3. Besides, Luther is typically considered a mini-series.

– Second, for Best Actress in a DramaKerry Washington, of course! Who else? Although things haven’t been looking very good for Scandal this TV awards season. I say that because last month’s nominees for the 3rd Annual Critics’ Choice Television Awards (from the The Broadcast Television Journalists Association), were Scandal-free. The hit Shonda Rhimes series didn’t receive a single nomination. Skip ahead 3 weeks later to the Television Critics Association (TCA) announcement of their nominees, which was also completely Scandal-free.

– Third, Best Supporting Actor in a Drama: No one who’s made enough of an impact that I can think of. No Giancarlo Esposito this year, unfortunately.

– Fourth, Best Supporting Actress in a Drama: Regina King has a shot at a nomination, for her work in Southland, which was canceled after this last season. 

– Fifth, Best DramaScandal obviously. Although, as noted earlier, leading up to tomorrow’s reveal, the Shonda Rhimes series hasn’t seen any *love* at all from other TV association awards announcements. So I don’t think it’s chances are high. Plus competition in this category is probably the toughest of all categories: Mad MenGame of ThronesBreaking BadThe Walking Dead, and more…

– Sixth, Best Comedy: Nothing here.

– Seventh, Best Actor in a ComedyDon Cheadle has a shot at a nomination for his performance on House Of Lies.

– Eighth, Best Actress in a Comedy: Nobody here. Where are all our funny actresses?

– Ninth, Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy: No one strong enough.

– Tenth, Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy: No one here either.

– Eleventh, Best TV Movie/Miniseries: I’d say that one of the 3 Lifetime original movies with all-black casts might find itself on tomorrow morning’s list: Betty & CorettaSteel Magnolias, and Abducted: The Carlina White Story. Although, of the 3, I’d say that Steel Magnolias has the best shot.

– Twelfth, Best Actor in a Miniseries or Movie: I frankly can’t think of anyone who’d qualify.

– Thirteenth, Best Actress in a Miniseries or Movie: Given that Angela Bassett and Alfre Woodard have both been recognized for their performances in the respective TV movies they starred in (Betty & Coretta and Steel Magnolias), I’ll say both of them could get looks, with Woodard ahead of Bassett, if only because the movie she starred in was stronger overall (its ensemble cast especially).

– Fourteenth, Best Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie: Once again, I’m stumped. There isn’t much to choose from.

– Fifteenth,  Best Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie: I’m looking at all the black actresses in the aforementioned Lifetime movies – Phylicia RashadAdepero Oduye, and Condola Rashad notably.

That’s about it! 

Did I miss any that should’ve been obvious? Keep in mind that this isn’t a list of who I’d like to see nominated, but who has a realistic chance of being a nominee, based on the numerous “expert” predictions lists I’ve looked at in the last 24 hours.

With BET leading all black TV networks, making an original scripted programming push, one can only assume that it’s only a matter of time before they score a series that’s both a critical and commercial hit – enough to get Academy of Television Arts & Sciences recognition – that is assuming BET wants that kind of acknowledgement. 

As for Oprah Winfrey’s OWN, the network only very recently entered into the original scripted dramatic and comedy series space (although nothing in the fledgling network’s lineup in those categories, would be nominated at this point); so if OWN receives any nominations at all, they’ll be in the Reality TV category.

But I don’t expect any OWN nominations to be announced this morning; not this year.

We’ll find out later today!

What does your predictions list look like?

This Article is related to: Television and tagged ,



I think it is actually kind of sad, 1995 was eighteen years ago, and it is the first time a black actress was nominated for an Emmy in a lead role.
I think it is actually pathetic to be honest, that it has been so long since a black actress was nominated and it really shows how Hollywood is bigoted place. Shonda Rhimes has considerable power in Hollywood, I am sure ABC studios and their marketing department flexed their muscles in ensuring Kerry Washington got nominated for an Emmy.

I don't get why people are so excited? Sure, Scandal is a hit and good for Kerry Washington for getting nominated but I think it is kind of pathetic when black people get excited about needing and requiring white Hollywood's validation. What is an Emmy award going to do if Kerry Washington won? Do people really think Hollywood is going to change? I think the deeper issue is black women in Hollywood are not getting the high profile leading lady roles on television. We know in the movies really only one or two ladies Zoe Saldana and Halle Berry get leading roles. But one would think on television there would be more opportunities for black women to get work in leading roles.

bohemian princess

slightly bummed at the fact that Tatiana Maslany didn't receive a nod for Orphan Black, sorry but she acts circles around everyone in that category but congrats to Kerry.


Congrats to Don Cheadle and Kerry Washington.

If I were a betting man, I'd put my money on the lead actress for House of Cards, Robin Wright, who was irresistibly cunning.
I don't watch much comedy, so I have no opinion at all in regards to Don Cheadle and his competition.

Regina was fantastic in SouthLAnd, however SouthLAnd is a product of the television networks direction. When networks have a clear, coherent marketing and branding strategy, they invest in shows and actors that fit.
TNT, does not.


Yay! Go Kerry :) I was hoping her and Regina would be nominated. I hate that Regina isn't on the list. She has been amazing on Southland. I am still hurt that the show go Cancelled.


My first response to your headline "1st black actress since ….." is SO? That's one of the reasons why race relations are so quick to get heated up lately. You all (and yes, I said you all) are so quick to bring it into any conversation, any sports, any movies or television, AND we cannot count out even in the news media. Let's just stick to giving it to the most deserving person. PERIOD.


Congrats. I know this is S & A, but I truly believe that Guillermo Diaz is extremely deserving of a nomination. Lord, how I wish that hollywood and the world at large weren't so political.

Alicia benning

I have a problem with the fact that as a black woman on prime time tv who is brilliant and professional has a compromised integrity by screwing a white married man. Who also had a perfectly eligible black male suitor equally brilliant and professional but still she couldn't shake her primitive desire to continue an illustrious affair and ultimately maintain her place as bed friend.


This is a nomination. Congratulations to Kerry Washington.


And she's well deserving of this nomination. She brings 110% to the table EVERY episode and EVERY movie she's been in. It's about time! Congrats Kerry!


And she's well deserving of this nomination. She brings 110% to the table EVERY episode and EVERY movie she's been in. It's about time! Congrats Kerry!


If I had to choose . . . I think Regina King deserved a nomination more than Kerry. Don't get me wrong I love Scandal, but I think its success belongs to Shonda Rhimes writing more than anything else.


Alfre Woodard has won for Lead actress in a Miniseries or Movie in 1997.

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