The 2018 Emmy nominations have set a new record for acknowledging the work of performers from diverse backgrounds. Compared to 2017, which boasted 27 nominees from diverse backgrounds in acting categories across comedy, drama, and limited series/movie, this year’s figure jumps to a record 36, according to Anthony D'Alessandro and Amanda N'Duka in Deadline, who add that the number rises to 38 vs. 30 diversity nominees including reality TV hosts. While Sandra Oh became the first Asian nominated in the lead actress drama series category, other “first-time" diversity nominees from 2017 have been nominated again this year for various categories, showing that diversity in television and the recognition of it is not a one-off trend.
While a number of 2018 Emmy nominees in the acting categories for ongoing series are people of color, including Sandra Oh, the first Asian-American to receive an outstanding lead actress in a drama nomination, and five of the nominated comedies were created or co-created by women, the Television Academy still has a long way to go to sustain long-term progress, believes Jen Chaney in Vulture. Almost all of the outstanding drama category’s showrunners are white men. While this progress is notable, the 2018 Emmy nods have a repetitive quality. Every one of this year’s nominees for outstanding drama has been nominated before, either last year or the year before, which leaves less space for nominating fresh series created by or starring emerging talents that are of diverse backgrounds.