Host Jimmy Kimmel observed during his opening monologue at last night’s (September 18) 68th Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony that “this year’s nominees are the most diverse ever.” Despite his follow-up joke—”And here in Hollywood, the only thing that we value more than diversity is congratulating ourselves on how much we value diversity”—this year’s ceremony actually awarded several notable performers of color working on shows that incorporate race conversations into their plots.
Most notably, FX’s hit historical drama series, “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story,” netted important Emmys for most of its nominated performers. Both Courtney B. Vance (Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie) and Sterling K. Brown (Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie) delivered impassioned speeches while accepting awards for their respective performances as Johnnie Cochran and Christopher Darden, two real-life Black attorneys on opposite sides of the O.J. Simpson murder trial.
Regina King won in the Oustanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie category for her performance as “Terri Lacroix” in ABC’s race-focused “American Crime.” Elsewhere on the drama side, Egyptian-American actor Rami Malek won the Oustanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series award for his performance as “Elliot Alderson” in USA’s breakout cyber thriller “Mr. Robot.”
In the comedy realm, Asian-American writing team Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang won the Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series award for the diasporic experience-concerned “Parents” episode of their Netflix series “Master of None.” And Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key’s won in the Outstanding Variety Sketch Series category for their work on their namesake Comedy Central show “Key and Peele.”
The Emmys telecast also featured many notable performers of color, including Hollywood diversity advocate Constance Wu (“Fresh Off the Boat”) and pioneering trans actress Laverne Cox (“Orange is the New Black”) as presenters.
Check out the full list of winners here.