awards for good boys: Emmys

Scrolling Twitter yesterday, I happened to see the #Emmys trending and thought, “Oh I missed the announcement of the nominees!” As someone who has frequently woken up early in the morning to watch media award nominee announcement ceremonies, that’s a pretty good indicator of how this year’s Emmys seem to hold a little less importance. With everything going on in the world, that’s understandable. Nonetheless, it made me consider the larger impact of the Emmys.

There are a few different representation conversations happening— from Billy Porter’s “conflicting thoughts” on the honor of being nominated for his role in Pose while none of the trans women in the cast were recognized… to John Leguizamo’s incendiary tweet concerning the lack of Latinx talent in the nominees list, which then sparked a lively debate about racism and anti-Blackness in the Latinx community.

I’m filing this away to discuss in class, although with the speed of news and sheer amount of information, it remains to be seen how salient the 2020 Emmys example will be during the upcoming semester, but I have discovered that awards shows in general are always an enlightening discussion in my Intro to Mass Media course. I keep being surprised by how little most of my students follow the Emmys, Grammys, Oscars, and Tonys and reminded of the various media consumption bubbles in which we all find ourselves. Students bring up such interesting critical questions about the general usefulness and power dynamics of awards shows and talk about who they are for, what they represent, which voices and stories are amplified, and so it ends up being a valuable conversation about the cultural relevance of media industry awards in ways that I don’t even anticipate.

And just for fun, a few thoughts on the nominees:


  • Desus & Mero (Variety Talk): (self-described) #1 Show On Late Night. Come on. The Bodega Hive is going to riot.
  • Late Night with Seth Meyers (Variety Talk): Best writers on late night. “A Closer Look” is better journalism than most of cable news.
  • MJ Rodriguez (Lead Actress in a Drama, Pose): There are so many amazingly talented actors on this show, but at its heart, Pose is really Blanca’s story, and Rodriguez is a big reason it works so well.


  • The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel: It’s a good show. Let’s move on.

pleasant surprises

  • What We Do in the Shadows (Comedy Series + writing, casting and several production noms)
  • Cecily Strong (Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, SNL): Yes-ily!

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