I Actually Think The Emmys Would Do Well To Follow Some of The NAACP Awards for TV
As much as an awards show junkie as I am, there are some groups that I tend to not so much ignore as avoid. I’ve known for a decade about the NAACP Image Awards for African-American movies, music and TV for over a decade, but I’ve basically spent that same period just feeling it was better not even to look, let alone judge. It’s not just the fact that I feel unqualified based on my race; it’s more a fact that I’ve kind of ignored many of TV series that are considered, mainly due to the fact I often had the service that provides them. I’m well aware that Power is one of the most popular franchises in the history of television (you don’t inspire three spin-off series with a fourth on the way if you’re not a genuine cultural phenomena) but I never had Starz as part of my cable package. (I’ve also missed out on Outlander, but having seen one season I don’t regret that.) Contrarily I’ve actually wanted to see Godfather of Harlem — Forest Whitaker as Bumpy Johnson; who wouldn’t? — but my carrier didn’t have Epix until fairly recently. So better safe than sorry. I let it go.
Then this week, I took a glimpse at this year’s Image Nominees for out of curiosity. And kept looking. And… all I can say is, Wow. Well done. No joke. I mean, I’ll be honest, I’ve only heard of about 60 to 70 percent of these series or nominees, but considering that’s generally less than I agree with the Emmys in a good year, that’s kind of impressive. A lot of the series and actors are nominees I would argue for if after years of being beaten down by disappointment by the Emmys and almost every other awards show I had just given up on it ever happening. I’m actually considering going over previous nominations to see if the Images had the sense the Emmys never did to nominate actors from The Wire, Treme and basically every series David Simon or Tom Fontana have done in the past quarter century. Hell, I’ll even check last year’s records to see how much was given to Lovecraft Country. And I actually want to look at some of these series going forward now. How about that?
Well, why not spread the love and start talking about the nominees?
OUTSTANDING COMEDY SERIES
I’m never going to argue against black-ish or Insecure. I actually wanted to watch Run the World but the first season was over before I got access to Starz: I will now. Harlem at least sounds more interesting than And Just Like That…ever was. No comment on The Upshaws as I haven’t heard of it.
OUTSTANDING ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
I think I’m overjoyed to see EJ Williams here for The Wonder Years already one of the best shows on network television. Anthony Anderson and Don Cheadle I would be surprised if they weren’t here. Is Jay Ellis a lead and not supporting? Whatever he deserves to be here. No problem with Cedric the Entertainer.
OUTSTANDING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
Issa Rae and Yvonne Orji forever. I will never, never argue with Tracee Ellis Ross. Honestly I was hoping the Emmys would recognize Regina Hall for Black Monday. Loretta Devine for Family Reunion. I only recently heard of the show.
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES.
I always dared hope that one day Deon Cole or Laurence Fishburne would get nominated for black-ish by the Emmys. I’ll have to start working backwards to see if they won. Andre Braugher must have won a couple of these prizes by now. Kenan Thompson, no surprise. And honestly I couldn’t really argue about Kendrick Sampson for Insecure.
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY
Similarly I’ve hoped that Jenifer Lewis and Marsai Martin would earn nominations for black-ish as well over the years. (Please tell me Yara Shahdi has won something in the past seven years.) Natasha Rothwell is quickly becoming one of favorite actresses and I can see why people love Amanda Seales for Insecure. Wanda Sykes rules end of story.
OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES
I guess it’s true: everyone but the Emmys is willing to nominate a CW show. And All-American doesn’t even have superheroes! 9–1–1 — in another era it would have been nominated. Can’t argue with Pose and given the Critics Choice over the years I can understand why Queen Sugar is here. Godfather of Harlem has a following. Little surprised This is Us isn’t here, but it is mostly white.
OUTSTANDING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Billy Porter and Sterling K. Brown, no surprise. Forest Whitaker, not either. Damon Idris for Snowfall — well at least someone’s recognized it. Will withhold judgment on Queen Sugar.
OUTSTANDING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
First time I’ll call them out. No MJ Rodriguez? And frankly, I’m a little disappointed that Pose is underrepresented. Oh well. Nobody’s perfect.
Angela Bassett would be a contender in and earlier era. Probably Octavia Spencer too. My guess is Queen Latifah would own these awards. Fine with the Queen Sugar nominees, but what about some actual Queens? Just saying.
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Honestly surprised that The Chi has fewer nominations than it does. Otherwise.
Will always love Giancarlo Esposito (man that guy is busy). Guessing this isn’t Joe Morton’s first rodeo here either (how many nominations could he have gotten for Scandal alone?) I’ve always admired Method Man as an actor since Oz and any nominee from any CW show — especially one as independent as All-American is great.
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
I’ll go out on a limb and guess that Shondaland is traditionally well represented her. Chandra Wilson, not a shock. Emmys, this is Susan Kalechi Watson. What are you not seeing that everyone else is? Have heard the raves Mary J. Blige gets for everything especially Ghost and I’m always glad to see Alfre Woodward nominated for anything. (Still… SEE? Seriously?) Again silent on Queen Sugar, but couldn’t you have found room for Dominique Jackson?
Will withhold comment on the lion’s share of the TV Movie, Limited Series or Special nominees because I haven’t seen most of them. That said, some highlights.
Thumbs up for the nominations for Aretha and The Underground Railroad. Thank you for giving William Jackson Harper his more than due. Ditto Cynthia Erivo and Courtney B. Vance. And I’m especially impressed with your supporting Actress nominees — Anika Noni Rose earned her laurels for her part in Maid and I truly can not get enough of either Regina Hall or Natasha Rothwell.
As for the rest: Glad to see Eris Baker up for This is Us as well as Miles Brown for black-ish. I still hope EJ Williams wins for Best Youth performance. Desus and Mero can not get nearly enough nominations or awards for my sake, and I really hope they win something. Glad to see Black Lady Sketch Show and The Shop nominated, and really hope that Amber Ruffin wins anything. And Maya Rudolph — maybe not an automatic winner for Best Guest Performance.
I’m not entirely sure I’ll follow this awards show as closely as I have the others on my list, but I’ll definitely want to know who wins. And if the Emmys had any sense at all…who am I kidding? I know they don’t. I’ll just have to start look backwards and see how well the Images have done in the past.