RuPaul Makes History, “Pose” Snubbed at Emmy Awards

The 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles
RuPaul made history on September 19 as the most-awarded Black artist at the Emmys.
REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Some queer stars missed out on opportunities for Emmy Awards at the 73rd annual event on September 19, but there were some highlights — including when RuPaul secured his 11th Emmy to become the most-awarded Black artist in the history of the program.

The hit VH1 show “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” which has made headlines for its representation of transgender and non-binary drag performers, snagged multiple awards during the ceremony, including an Emmy for Outstanding Competition Program, Outstanding Production Design, and Outstanding Cinematography for a Reality Program. RuPaul delivered a speech giving credit to cast members and young fans of the show.

“Thanks to all of our lovely children on our show from around the world. They are so gracious to tell their stories of courage and how to navigate this difficult life, even more difficult today,” RuPaul told the audience. “This is for you and for you kids out there watching. You have a tribe that is waiting for you, we are waiting for you, baby. Come on to Mama Ru!”

However, to the surprise of many fans, performers from the groundbreaking FX series “Pose” did not grab any Emmy awards at the ceremony. Actress Michaela Jaé (Mj) Rodriguez, who made history this summer as the first trans woman to be nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress, was passed over in the category for Olivia Colman, a cisgender white actress who plays Queen Elizabeth in “The Crown.” Similarly, “Pose” cast member Billy Porter, a nominee for Best Lead Actor and the first gay Black man to win an Emmy in 2019 for Best Actor in a Drama Series, lost to Josh O’Connor, a white cisgender man who stars in “The Crown.”

The HBO Max series “Hacks,” which features several queer characters, secured two Emmys for writing and directing for a comedy series. Jean Smart, who plays a stand-up comic in the show, took home an award for Best Actress in a Comedy Series. That evening, non-binary actor Carl Clemons-Hopkins, a nominee for Supporting Actor for a Comedy Series for “Hacks,” stood out on the red carpet with a dress symbolizing the Non-Binary Flag. Clemons-Hopkins was overlooked in the category for Brett Goldstein, an actor on the series “Ted Lasso.”

Although there was a lack of LGBTQ winners at the Emmys, Disney+’s “Hamilton,” which features gay actor Jonathan Groff, won the Emmy for Best Variety Special. Ewan McGregor, who plays a gay fashion designer in “Halston,” won for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited on Anthology Series or Movie.

In capping off the night, the late Michael K. Williams, an ally to the LGBTQ community known for playing queer characters in “The Wire,” “Lovecraft Country,” and “Hap and Leonard,” was snubbed for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series.

Actress Kerry Washington, who announced the nominees in that category, paid special homage to Williams following his death in his Brooklyn home earlier this month. Washington recalled him as a “brilliantly talented actor and a generous human being who has left us far too soon.”

“I know you’re here because you wouldn’t miss this. Your excellence, your artistry will endure. We love you,” she told viewers.

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