This year’s nominees in the category of outstanding voice-over are interesting: For starters, they’re one of the more racially diverse of this year’s Emmy nominees — but on top of that, they also show how the world of voice-over acting has changed in just a few short years.
Maya Rudolph, whose turn as Connie the Hormone Monstress on the Netflix series “Big Mouth” has become a Twitter sensation, secured the first Emmy of her career for the role in the episode “How to Have An Orgasm.” The win was a welcomed surprise considering how beloved Rudolph is, both as an actress and for her role on the animated series.
This category, however, as a whole, was especially fraught with issues this year. “Big Mouth” came under fire this year for actress Jenny Slate voicing a Black character. The same casting issues plagued the Apple TV+ series “Central Park” — which was nominated in this category for the work of actor Leslie Odom, Jr. — which recast actress Kristen Bell, who was initially voicing a mixed-race character on the series. It’s unfortunate as the series has amassed a solid following and Odom Jr., riding a high from the Broadway show “Hamilton” dropping on Disney+ this year, is a fan favorite.
Long-time alumni of “The Simpsons” Hank Azaria was plagued with similar issues; he won for the first time in 2015 for playing the role of surly bar owner Moe Szyslak. Azaria’s nomination came after it was announced in January that he would no longer voice the character of Apu, the Indian owner of the Kwik-E-Mart. The actor had been providing the voice since the series’ inception, and while there was talk as early as 2018 on replacing the character, it wasn’t until this year that the decision was made to recast. It’s unknown where the show stands on finding a new voice for Apu.
Another fan favorite nominee whose loss will no doubt have fans complaining in the morning is Taika Waititi’s IG-11 on “The Mandalorian.” The Maori director and actor is beloved on social media with many hoping his win would have been one of several for the Disney+/Star Wars series.