The 64th Annual Primetime Emmy nominations were announced this morning, and as expected, scene-stealer Sofia Vergara received her third consecutive Best Supporting Actress Emmy nomination for her role as trophy wife Gloria Delgado-Pritchett on ABC's hit comedy, "Modern Family." Sofia's nomination comes just one day after Forbes revealed that the Colombian star is now the highest paid actress on television. Wepa!
That's the good news that came out of this morning's highly anticipated Emmy announcement. Ready for the bad news? Aside from Sofia, only two other Latino stars were nominated for Emmy Awards this year: Comedian Louis C.K., who recently revealed that he's half-Mexican, earned a well-deserved Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor In A Comedy Series for his hilarious work on the FX series, "Louie," and Bobby Cannavale, who is half-Cuban, scored his second Emmy nom for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series, for his role as a cranky hospital administrator on Showtime's hit comedy, "Nurse Jackie." (Cannavale is a previous winner in the category. In 2005, he won the award for Outstanding Guest Actor In A Comedy Series for his role as Vince, Will's (Eric McCormack) boyfriend on the hit NBC comedy, "Will & Grace"). Still, just three nominations, despite the fact that 2010 census data shows that there are now more than 50 million Latinos in the U.S., and that one in six Americans is Latino (and one in four kids is Latino).
So why is it that only three Latino stars were nominated among this year's 94 acting nominees? Where are Latino stars like Sara Ramirez (who plays fan favorite Callie Torres on ABC's "Grey's Anatomy"), Lana Parrilla (who sends chills down our spine as the evil queen on TV's #1 drama, "Once Upon A Time," or Madeleine Stowe, who steals the show as the manipulative Victoria on ABC's addictive primetime soap, "Revenge?" And where is Aubrey Plaza, the talented comedienne and new queen of irreverent comedy who has had a breakout year on NBC's hit comedy, "Parks and Recreation?"
One possible explanation for these snubs is that, with the exception of ABC's "Modern Family," the shows that were nominated this year for Outstanding Comedy Series and Outstanding Drama Series, don't feature any Latino stars. In the Best Comedy Series category, nominees include, "The Big Bang Theory," "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "Girls," "30 Rock," and "Veep," and none of those shows features a single Latino star in a lead, or supporting role. Similarly, nominees in the Best Drama category include, "Boardwalk Empire," "Downton Abbey," "Game Of Thrones" and "Mad Men," all of which do not feature a single Latino star. The one exception in that category is Showtime's "Homeland," which features Brazilian actress Morena Baccarin in a supporting role. (And speaking of Morena, her co-stars Claire Danes and Damian Lewis were both nominated...why wasn't she?). And, while there are Latino actors on AMC's hit series "Breaking Bad," the roles of actors Steven Michael Quezada, Emily Rios, and Raymon Cruz are far too small to get Emmy nominations).
It's the same story among the nominees for Best Miniseries or Movie. Nominees in the category include the Sarah Palin election drama "Game Change," "American Horror Story," "Luther," "Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia," and "Hatfield and McCoys"--all series that don't feature any Latin stars. And the nominees for Best Variety Series include, "The Colbert Report," "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart," "Jimmy Kimmel Live," "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon," and "Real Time With Bill Maher,"--all of these are shows hosted by white males, as there is also little diversity among late-night talk show hosts.
Of course, lack of diversity at the Emmy Awards is nothing new. Last year, 45 of the 48 actors nominated for a primetime Emmy in the major acting categories were White, and in 2010, Sofia Vergara was the only Latina nominated for a major acting award out of 61 acting nominees.
And while America Ferrera made history when she won the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series for "Ugly Betty" in 2007 (go America!), to date, NOT A SINGLE woman of color has won an Emmy for Best Actress In A Drama Series. And don't expect that to change this year, since all six of the women nominated for Lead Actress In A Drama Series are White.
So why aren't more Latinos getting nominated for Emmys? Rita Moreno has a theory. Last year, the legendary actress and Oscar winner for "West Side Story" told Latina.com why she thinks more Latinos aren't nominated for Emmy Awards: "A lot of young Latino actors have said to me: 'Why can’t we get an Oscar? Why can’t we be nominated?' And the terrible truth is that if you don’t get the right parts—you’re not going to be," she said. "Are you going to get an Oscar nomination for one of those Judd Apatow movies? Not likely—no matter what nationality you are. And I think that until we as Latino actors get to do roles that have really serious meaning, it’s going to be impossible to get nominated."
Well said, Rita.
The 64th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards will air live Sunday, Sept. 23 on ABC from the Nokia Theatre L.A. in Los Angeles. Click here to see all of the 2012 Emmy nominees
CHECK OUT THIS SLIDESHOW ON NEW AND RETURNING FALL TV SHOWS STARRING LATINOS