Emmys addresses diversity in Hollywood, 22 awards given to white nominees

Emily Craig, Editor-in-Chief

This year marked the 70th annual Primetime Emmy Awards. Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update anchors Michael Che and Colin Jost hosted the event, the first duo to host the awards show since Jenna Elfman and David Hyde Pierce in 1999.

As it has been with awards shows in previous years, the Emmy Awards began with Che and Jost’s pseudo-musical number titled, “We Solved It.”

The song included television stars saying that the television industry no longer dealt with the issue of diversity only to be interrupted by RuPaul’s Drag Race host RuPaul himself.

RuPaul cut the number short, as part of the act, telling the stars that no, the diversity issue continues.

This claim was more fact than fiction during the show, as 22 out of the total 26 awards were given to white performers, directors, writers and producers. Among them were Henry Winkler for “Barry” and Peter Dinklage for “Game of Thrones.”

Winkler is most famous for his role as Arthur ‘Fonzie’ Fonzarelli from “Happy Days,” a popular television series that ran between the years 1974 and 1984. This is his first Emmy Awards win since being first nominated in 1976 for his performance in “Happy Days.”

Throughout the night, the hosts, actors, and producers alike continued to address its apparent theme of the diversity problem in Hollywood.

Halfway through the show, a pre-taped video was presented to the audience of Che giving black actors like Jimmie Walker and John Witherspoon “reparations Emmys.”

For more contemporary black actors, Regina King won for her role as Latrice Butler in the Netflix series “Seven Seconds.”

The biggest winners for the night came from the Amazon Prime series “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” created by Amy Sherman-Palladino. The series follows a housewife from 1950s New York, Miriam ‘Midge’ Maisel, who attempts to follow her suddenly-realized dream of becoming a comedian.

The show came away that night with five awards, including best comedy series. Actress Rachel Brosnahan won Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for her role as Mrs. Maisel.

Brosnahan is the first new winner in the category after seven years of repeat actresses taking the win. Notably, Julia Louis-Dreyfus did not win any of her usual awards for her role in HBO’s “Veep.”

New York Times critic Mike Hale in his piece about the 70th Emmy Awards—”The Emmys Joked About TV’s Lack of Diversity, and Then Demonstrated It”—deliberately pointed out how the show was seemingly lackluster compared to its previous broadcasts.

“Meanwhile, the evening — beginning with that musty, tinny, only slightly funny production number — was proving another and more immediate negative: that the Television Academy and NBC hadn’t solved the problem of how to make the Emmys broadcast funny, vibrant and relevant in the peak-TV era,” Hale wrote.

The public response to the Primetime awards show this year appears to be split. While most agree that the problem with diversity is ever-present, others argue that there has not been much in the way of making a change.