No big surprise here, but Kerry Washington’s reign as the current Black Hollywood darling and fashion icon does indeed hav a gold ceiling–no Emmy award for her. In what was not an unexpected evening in Hollywood last night, not one Black actor walked away with Emmy gold. Washington, who was nominated for Scandal, lost out to Claire Danes for Homeland. Don Cheadle, who was nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for his role in House of Lies, lost out to The Big Bang Theory’s Jim Parsons and Alfre Woodward lost for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie to Ellen Burstyn in Political Animals. (For what it’s worth, they did let Don Cheadle deliver this long and somewhat totally bizarre ode to the television news of yesteryear which was mostly an intro to Carrie Underwood’s pained performance of the Beatles “Yesterday”–which well, at least he got some face time.)
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Over the past few months “Scandal” has been the talk of town (and social media) with Washington appearing on every magazine cover imaginable–even Vanity Fair, which isn’t exactly known for its celebration of Black Hollywood stars. Washington’s Olivia Pope has resonated strongly with diverse audiences, despite some criticism of the interracial sexual nature of the character, resulting in her Emmy nod for Outstanding Leading Actress in a Drama–the first Black woman to garner such in 20 years. It seems, however, the fanfare was not enough.
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In fairness, Danes gives a masterful if not uncomfortably brilliant performance on Homeland, and I even suspected the award would go to Robin Wright for her steamy and polarizing portrayal of Claire Underwood on Netflix’s dark political thriller “House of Cards.” But as Black actors are so rarely celebrated in Hollywood, one couldn’t that last night’s awards would have been a new Oscar 2003 moment–a recreation of the magical Denzel & Halle sweep that left Black America feeling proud acknowledged. Not this year, but who knows? Here’s hoping for 2014!
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