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No white guys were nominated, here’s why


We all know that Hollywood sucks when it comes to the inclusion of women and minorities on screen and behind the scenes — UCLA’s 2017 Hollywood Diversity Report confirmed that “racial minorities and women remain severely underrepresented in film and television hiring.” (What else is new?)

That’s why today’s Television Critics Association Awards nominations are a landmark of sorts — there isn’t a single white cis-male actor nominated in either of the categories for individual achievement in a TV drama or comedy — a first for the organization, which is comprised of more than 200 TV critics and journalists across the US and Canada, who are tasked with watching more TV than any one human should be exposed to on a daily basis.

The TCA Awards have always maintained non-gendered nominations, meaning that unlike the Emmy Awards and Golden Globes, men and women are nominated in the same categories — something that the MTV Movie and TV Awards adopted this year to much fanfare. 

Because of this — and the reassuring rise of female-led shows over the past few years — the 2017 TCA nominations for Individual Achievements are all about the ladies. (But don’t worry, fellas, the Emmys will be along in September to reinforce gender norms.) 

In previous years, the TCA awards have been scooped up by a mix of men and women: Rachel Bloom, Amy Schumer and Julia Louis-Dreyfus were the last three comedy winners, while Sarah Paulson, Jon Hamm and Matthew McConaughey won the drama gongs. This year, six out of the seven drama nominees are women, along with five female comedy nominees. That doesn’t necessarily mean that a woman will win either category, of course, but at least the odds are in their favor.

The nominations are remarkable — not because they represent a shift in the way Hollywood is doing business, per se, but because the TV shows and networks that have made an effort to champion diversity in their programming and hiring practices are reaping the rewards in the form of quality shows, which are subsequently being recognized by critics and viewers. It’s the circle of Peak TV.

There’s also a noticeable shift in the type of shows that have been nominated — most of them offer a wildly different narrative than the troubled male antihero genre that dominated the awards circuit from The Sopranos all the way through to Breaking Bad and Mad Men. 

The Crown charts the rise of a woman in power, while The Handmaid’s Tale follows a woman trying to maintain her identity when completely stripped of agency. Feud deals with the treatment of women in Hollywood as they age, while This Is Us has sensitively explored the struggles of a black child being adopted by a white family (albeit as part of a larger narrative that mostly wants to troll us about when and how Milo Ventimiglia will die). And the auteur-driven perspectives of Atlanta, Insecure, Fleabag, Master of None and Better Things show that there’s universality in the most personal stories.

White dudes are, of course, still well-represented in every facet of the industry. John Oliver and Jake Tapper’s eponymous shows are both nominated in the News and Information category, and many of the series recognized in the outstanding program fields feature white male leads, including The Americans, Better Call Saul, The Leftovers, Fargo, This Is Us and Stranger Things.

And there’s still a dearth of representation for non-black people of color, people with disabilities, and the LGBTQ community in the nominations, mostly because there’s a dearth of shows that portray those experiences. 

But it’s rare to see an awards show where women and minorities take center stage, and that’s no small thing. 

Although progress is slow (and Hollywood execs are all too quick to pat themselves on the back for even the most minor steps towards inclusivity) it’s worth recognizing the shows that represent the way the world actually looks, and the wide array of experiences within it. One awards show won’t change the industry, but it’s a valuable step in an ongoing march. 

“This was truly a landmark season for diversity in television, and the TCA nominations reflect this. Our members have chosen a variety of series that celebrate and represent a wide spectrum of performances,” said TCA President Amber Dowling in a statement. “With so many great programs—both new and returning—it was a real challenge for our members to whittle these nominees down. We’re excited to see which programs and performers make the cut as voting now gets underway to determine the TV standouts of the 2016-17 season.”

Check out the full list of Television Critics Association Awards nominations below. 

INDIVIDUAL ACHIEVEMENT IN DRAMA

Sterling K. Brown, “This Is Us,” NBC

Carrie Coon, “The Leftovers” & “Fargo,” HBO & FX

Claire Foy, “The Crown,” Netflix

Nicole Kidman, “Big Little Lies,” HBO

Jessica Lange, “Feud: Bette And Joan,” FX

Elisabeth Moss, “The Handmaid’s Tale,” Hulu

Susan Sarandon, “Feud: Bette And Joan,” FX

 

INDIVIDUAL ACHIEVEMENT IN COMEDY

Pamela Adlon, “Better Things,” FX

Aziz Ansari, “Master of None,” Netflix

Kristen Bell, “The Good Place,” NBC

Donald Glover, “Atlanta,” FX

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep,” HBO

Issa Rae, “Insecure,” HBO

Phoebe Waller-Bridge, “Fleabag,” Amazon

 

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN NEWS AND INFORMATION

“Full Frontal With Samantha Bee,” TBS (2016 Winner in Category)

“Last Week Tonight With John Oliver,” HBO

“The Lead With Jake Tapper,” CNN

“O.J.: Made in America,” ESPN

“Planet Earth II,” BBC America

 “Weiner,” Showtime

 

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN REALITY PROGRAMMING

“The Circus,” Showtime

“The Great British Baking Show,” PBS

“The Keepers,” Netflix

“Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath,” A&E

“Shark Tank,” ABC

“Survivor: Game Changers,” CBS

 

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN YOUTH PROGRAMMING

“Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood,” PBS (2016 Winner in Category)

“Doc McStuffins,” Disney Junior

“Elena of Avalor,” Disney Channel

“Odd Squad,” PBS

“Sesame Street,” HBO

“Speechless,” ABC

 

OUTSTANDING NEW PROGRAM

“Atlanta,” FX

“The Crown,” Netflix

“The Good Place,” NBC 

“The Handmaid’s Tale,” Hulu

“Stranger Things,” Netflix

“This Is Us,” NBC

 

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN MOVIES, MINISERIES AND SPECIALS

“Big Little Lies,” HBO

“Fargo,” FX

“Feud: Bette and Joan,” FX

“Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life,” Netflix

“The Night Of,” HBO

“Wizard of Lies,” HBO

 

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN DRAMA

“Better Call Saul,” AMC

“Stranger Things,” Netflix

“The Americans,” FX (2015 & 2016 Winner in Category)

“The Crown,” Netflix

“The Handmaid’s Tale,” Hulu

“This Is Us,” NBC

 

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN COMEDY

“Atlanta,” FX

“black-ish,” ABC (2016 Winner in Category)

“Fleabag,” Amazon

“Master of None,” Netflix

“The Good Place,” NBC

“Veep,” HBO

 

PROGRAM OF THE YEAR

“Atlanta,” FX

“Big Little Lies,” HBO

“Stranger Things,” Netflix

“The Handmaid’s Tale,” Hulu

“The Leftovers,” HBO

“This Is Us,” NBC

 

NETWORK TALLY 

HBO – 12

FX – 11

Netflix – 10

NBC – 7

Hulu – 4

ABC – 3

PBS/PBS KIDS – 3

Amazon – 2

Disney Channel/Disney Junior – 2

Showtime – 2

A&E – 1

AMC – 1

BBC America – 1

CBS – 1

CNN – 1

ESPN – 1

TBS – 1

 

PROGRAM TALLY- (denotes shows with more than one nomination)

“Atlanta,” FX – 4

“The Handmaid’s Tale,” Hulu – 4

“This Is Us,” NBC – 4

“Big Little Lies,” HBO – 3

“Feud: Bette And Joan,” FX – 3

“Stranger Things,” Netflix – 3

“The Good Place,” NBC – 3

“The Crown,” Netflix – 3

“Fargo,” FX – 2

“Fleabag,” Amazon – 2

“Master Of None,” Netflix – 2

“The Leftovers,” HBO – 2

“Veep,” HBO – 2



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