The Emmys Are Gayer Than Ever

By Elijah Root Sanchez

The 70th Primetime Emmy Awards may have been the most diverse show yet in terms of LGBTQ+ winners and nominees. From RuPaul to “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: An American Crime Story,” queer and trans actors and LGBTQ+ media won big at the 2018 Emmys.

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“RuPaul’s Drag Race” scored big with three nominations, winning Best Reality-Competition Program and Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program. It was also nominated for Best Unstructured Reality Program, losing to “United Shades of America w. Kamau Bell.” In his acceptance speech, Ru Paul said the famous and inspirational closing to his award-winning show: “Listen, if you can’t love yourself, how the hell are young going to love somebody else?” Ru Paul, although controversial for his statements about trans drag queens, has done a lot for the acceptance of queer folks in popular culture.

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The Fab Five took home an Emmy for Best Structured Reality Program for Netflix’s critically acclaimed “Queer Eye.” “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: An American Crime Story” also won three Primetime Emmys. Darren Criss won Best Actor Limited Series or TV Movie for his portrayal of Andrew Cunanan, the man who assassinated Gianni Versace and four others in 1997. It also took home Best Limited Series and Best Casting for a Limited Series, Movie, or a Special

Thandie Newton, an openly bisexual actress, won Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her portrayal of Maeve Millay in HBO’s “Westworld.” Newton made headlines for acceptance speech, saying: “I don’t even believe in God, but I gotta thank Her tonight. I am so blessed.” Her excitement and her emotion during her acceptance speech was a highlight of the evening.

Samira Wiley won Best Guess Actress for her appearance in Hulu show “Handmaid’s Tale.” Yance Ford, a transgender director, won Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking for his Netflix true crime documentary “Strong Island.”

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Many other LGBTQ+ people were nominated, including Sara Paulson for “American Horror Story: Cult,” Lily Tomlin for “Grace and Frankie,” Evan Rachel Wood for “Westworld,” Ricky Martin for “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: An American Crime Story,” Titus Burgess for “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” Kate McKinnon for “Saturday Night Live,” Cherry Jones for “The Handmaid’s Tale and Wanda Sykes for “Black-ish.”

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Jane Lynch was nominated for both “Hollywood Game Night” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.”  Ellen DeGeneres was nominated for “Ellen’s Game of Games.” Tim Gunn was also nominated for both Reality or Reality Competition Program and Host for Reality or Reality Competition Program for “Project Runway.”

Director Carrie Brownstein was nominated for “Portlandia.” Benj Pasek was nominated for composing “In The Market For a Miracle” for “A Christmas Story Live!” on FOX. Mark Rivers was also nominated for composing the song “Totally Gay” for Netflix’s “Big Mouth.”

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It is exciting to see so many not only LGBTQ+ roles, but subject matter, actors, writers and directors too being nominated or winning awards at this year’s Primetime Emmy Awards. Hopefully other award shows continue this trend and start to recognize LGBTQ+ people in the industry for all the exemplary work that they produce.

The 70th Primetime Emmy Awards ran Monday, Sept. 17 on NBC.