Regina King, Issa Rae, Among Record Number of Black Emmy Awards Nominees

Record numbers of Black talent have been nominated by The Television Academy for the 72nd Emmy Awards. According to, 34.3% of the nominees in the acting categories alone are Black.

There were 102 acting nominees this year for lead, supporting and guest categories for drama, comedy and limited series/TV movie. Black actors earned 35 of those slots (notably, Maya Rudolph earned two in the same category – nominated in the Guest Comedy Actress category for both “The Good Place” and “Saturday Night Live”).

Black nominees across all acting categories include Cicely Tyson, Billy Porter, Angela Bassett, Sterling K. Brown, Zendaya, Mahershala Ali, Anthony Anderson, Don Cheadle, Issa Rae, Tracee Ellis Ross, Andre Braugher, Giancarlo, Esposito, Regina King, Jeffrey Wright, Uzo, Aduba, Samira Wiley, William Jackson Parker, Phylicia Rashad, Jeremy Pope, Yvonne Orji, Wanda Sykes, Ron Cephas Jones, Thandie Newton, Laverne Cox, Eddie Murphy, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jovan Adepo, Tituss Burgess, Kenan Thompson, Louis Gossett Jr., Octavia Spencer and Kerry Washington.

In 2019, Black actors received 19.8% of the nominations, down from 2018’s 27.7%  — which was the previous highest percentage in the Academy’s history.

But the journey towards parity is far from over. In the group writing categories, the Outstanding Comedy, Limited Series and Variety Sketch Series only offered one nominee each, respectively, (“Insecure,” “Watchmen,” “A Black Lady Sketch Show”) for staffs with significant African-American representation. It’s worth noting that all three are HBO shows.

Black writers nominated in the individual writing categories include Dave Chappelle in the Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special category (“Dave Chappelle: Sticks and Stones”) and Cord Jefferson (who shares the nomination with “Watchmen” co-writer Damon Lindelof) in the Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series category.

Other African-American nominations include Jemel McWilliams for Choreography (“The Oscars”); “Becoming” and “The Apollo” in the Documentary or Nonfiction Series category, “Kevin Hart: Don’t F**k This Up” and “RuPaul’s Drag Race: Untucked” in the Unstructured Reality Program category; Karamo Brown (“Queer Eye”), Nicole Byer (“Nailed It”) and RuPaul (“RuPaul’s Drag Race”) for Reality Host and double nominee Victoria Thomas for Casting, Comedy Series (“Insecure”) and Limited Series (“Watchmen”).

The individual directing categories fared better, with Stephen Williams nominated in the Directing, Drama category for “Watchmen,” Dime Davis in the Directing, Variety Series category for “A Black Lady Sketch Show,” Stan Lathan in the Directing a Variety Special category (“Dave Chappelle: Sticks and Stones”) and Nadia Hallgren (“Becoming”) in the Outstanding Directing for a Documentary/NonFiction Program category.

Those honored in the Cinematography Multi-Camera Series, Single Camera Series and Nonfiction categories, respectively, are John Simmons (“Family Reunion”),  Kira Kelly (“Insecure”) and Nadia Hallgren (“Becoming”).  It’s also worth noting that in the Outstanding Narration category, four of the five nominees are Black: Angela Bassett, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Chewitel Ejiofor and Lupita Nyong’o.

The 72nd Emmy Awards show will air on ABC on September 20th. To see the full list of 2020 Emmy nominees, click here.