In this series of posts leading up to this year’s Emmy Awards (going down on August 25th), we’re highlighting the 13 LGBT actors who were nominated for playing LGBT characters in years past, in honor of the fact that a whopping 7 new additions to that list have been nominated this year (Matt Bomer, Jim Parsons, Laverne Cox, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Nathan Lane, Joe Mantello and Kate McKinnon).
Nominated For: In 2000, Hayes would receive the first of 7 consecutive Emmy nominations in the best supporting actor in a comedy series category, for his role as Jack McFarland on “Will & Grace.”
Did He Win?: He did, and on the first try — which ended a winning streak for David Hyde Pierce as Niles on “Frasier,” oddly enough another gay man — though Pierce wasn’t out at the time. Hayes himself wasn’t entirely open about his sexuality either (at least not when ‘Will & Grace’ started), so this should be taken with something of an asterisk. Also of note: This would be only time over those 7 years that Hayes won.
Significance: Hayes is the first LGBT person to ever win an Emmy for playing an LGBT character, and only a few have followed in his footsteps since (though we suspect a few more will come this year). The overall love for “Will & Grace” (every primary cast member won an Emmy, and the series itself won 16 total over its 8 year run) suggested a shift in the ability of Emmy voters to embrace LGBT content, as they hadn’t quite done a few years earlier with “Ellen.”
Watch a clip of Hayes on “Will & Grace” below.
Check back tomorrow for the next nominee… and check out the previous posts below: