Emmy Snubs, Who Cares? I'm Busy Celebrating the Triumph of Laverne Cox

3 years ago

I know that outrage at snubs leads the news when nomination lists are announced, and today's Emmy nomination list certainly contains some major omissions. But instead of focusing on that, I'm going to take just a minute to celebrate a groundbreaking milestone.  Orange is the New Black's Laverne Cox was nominated for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for her role as Sophia Burset, making her the first transgender actress to receive an Emmy nomination. This is huge.

Image: Netflix

Sophia's backstory during Season 1 of Netflix's Orange is the New Black (the season considered for this year's Emmy nominations) was heartbreaking and groundbreaking, showing audiences the poignant story of a transition in the context of marriage, parenthood and a male-dominated work environment.  Sophia lands in prison for credit card fraud committed to fund her sex change surgery, and her story highlights the desperation of being denied medical services both in and outside of prison. Sophia's interactions with other inmates in her salon are funny, warm and memorable and her struggles were affecting. In all, Sophia is a great character and Laverne Cox delivers. The nomination is well-deserved and is so much to celebrate. 

OITNB received several other nominations, including a nod for Outstanding Comedy Series and individual nominations for Taylor Schilling, Uzo Aduba,Kate Mulgrew and my personal favorite Natasha Lyonne.

We have much more to celebrate. It was an outstanding year for women in television, and it's pretty thrilling to see the names of amazing actresses including Jessica Lange, Sarah Paulson, Margo Martindale, Robin Wright, Angela Bassett, Allison Janney, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Kerry Washington and more have recognition, roles and series befitting their talents. 

The best part of award nominations are that they might help bring new audiences to shows, so it's interesting to look at the entire list of nominees to see if you've missed some winners. Based on nominations, Emmy voters really want you to appreciate Fargo, American Horror Story, House of Cards and The Normal Heart, and I would agree. Haven't had a chance to see Showtime's fantastic Masters of Sex or HBO's Silicon Valley or VEEP yet? Seriously, get your binge on. I envy the good television ahead of you. Ditto if you missed A Trip to Bountiful  or  Showtime's Shameless or House of Lies. I'm going to finally take the hint to add Luther to my queue. 

There are absolutely snubs. Count me among the Orphan Black fans who are baffled the lead actress Tatiana Maslany didn't receive an Emmy nomination this year.   Or three nominations. Or seven.  Or one for every seestra. Similarly, The Americans leads Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell deserve attention for their complicated, layered performances. 

I also wish I could strike some shows from the nom list. Wahlburgers? Really? That show is a trainwreck, and not in the good way. But I'm not going to focus on the bad or the snubs. There are many ways for a show to get attention and for excellence to be celebrated, and I can't begin to understand the politics behind Emmy nominations. I can, though, take a moment to celebrate the good, and that includes watching cultural barriers shatter and the triumph that is Laverne Cox. 

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