The LGBT-ness of the 66th Annual Prime Time Emmy Awards

by | August 22, 2014 at 10:09 AM | American Horror Story: Coven, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Glee, Hollywood Game Night, LGBT, Masters of Sex, Modern Family, Saturday Night Live, The Big Bang Theory

Earlier this week, we highlighted (gushed?) about how Matt Bomer should win the Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Television Movie Emmy this Monday during the 66th Annual Prime Time Emmy Awards. Bomer isn’t the only out actor nominated this year but there are also a slew of straight actors playing LGBT roles.

The point is that whether they fall into the L, the G, the B, or the T (or even the Q), the more I looked at the list of nominees this year, the more I was struck by just how much television has incorporated LGBT characters, themes and stories naturally in the tapestry that is our television landscape.

Wonderful, right?

So here’s a look at a number of the LGBT-ness of this year’s Emmy Awards, listed by project in alphabetical order. Note some of these awards were always given out this past weekend at the Creative Arts Emmys. 

American Horror Story: Coven” (Miniseries): With Ryan Murphy at the helm, you’re bound to get a certain amount of queerness in any show. And while past seasons may have had a larger gay component that “Coven,” out actress Sarah Paulson still nabbed an Outstanding Lead Actress nomination alongside the fabulous Jessica Lange. And Murphy, alongside Brad Falchuk, also received an Outstanding Writing In A  Miniseries nomination.

Jim Parsons won for 'The Big Bang Theory' at this year's Critics' Choice Awards (Getty)

The Big Bang Theory” (Comedy): While not the gayest show on the air in content, there is a certain amount of queerness to it due to Jim Parsons, the out actor who, nominated again for Best Actor, his being out has definitely not hurt his or the show’s popularity. He’s already won 3 Emmys in this category for his role of Sheldon Cooper but don’t be surprised if he doesn’t win another one. The show is also nominated for Best Comedy Series.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (Comedy): The first season of any show is often about finding what works and what doesn’t but the sitcom, from Mike Schur and Dan Goor (“Parks and Recreation”), started out so strong out of the gate that it won Golden Globes in January for Best Television Series: Comedy and a Best Actor win for star Andy Samberg, The Emmy voters weren’t as kind since the show only received one nomination: for Andre Braugher, who plays out and proud Captain Ray Holt. The show deserved more but Braugher’s portrayal was fantastic all around.

Glee” (Comedy): Like most, the feelings are mixed about the show that was once so innovative and fresh but hasn’t sustained its potential to be great. But the fact that it reached 100 episodes this season is a milestone and out director Paris Barclay received a nomination for directing the 100th episode. We still love you Chris Colfer and Darren Criss (who play our fave gay teen lovers, Kurt and Blaine) but kinda can’t wait to see you in your next project.

Jane Lynch with her Emmy last weekend. (Getty)

Hollywood Game Night” (Reality or Reality-based): Also this past weekend, Jane Lynch took home the Outstanding Host Emmy for her work hosting the NBC game show. If you haven’t checked out the show, it’s a hoot and Lynch is the perfect host.

Masters Of Sex” (Drama): The 50s period drama about the now-infamous sex study of William Masters (Michael Sheen) and Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan) and their relationship is one of my favorites but the story between deeply closeted Barton Scully (Outstanding Guest Actor nominee Beau Bridges) and wife Margaret (Outstanding Guest Actress nominee Allison Janney) was just as compelling as any other on the show. At this past weekend’s Creative Arts Emmys, Janney took home the trophy. And, going into this weekend’s ceremony, the show (and Sheen) did not get nominations this time around but Caplan did in the Outstanding Lead Actress category.

Modern Family” (Comedy): No surprise that the long-running ABC series continued to nab several award nominations this year but it’s a great thing that a mainstream show featuring a gay couple with a child (and, this past season, their wedding) doesn’t raise much (if any) controversy. The series simply captures our current world accurately. This year, besides the Outstanding Comedy nomination, out actors Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Outstanding Supporting Actor) and Nathan Lane (Outstanding Guest Actor) were also nominated for their gay roles.

The Normal Heart” (Television Movie): This is the big one. Though I was skeptical that Ryan Murphy (Outstanding Director) could pull off directing such a massive project, based on Larry Kramer’s acclaimed play, I still didn’t see a false note across the board no matter how many times I have watched. Besides Matt Bomer, who shares the Outstanding Supporting Actor category with co-star Jim Parsons, Alfred Molina and Joe Mantello, an Outstanding Supporting Actress nomination went to Julia Roberts and, deservedly, an Outstanding Lead Actor nomination went to Mark Ruffalo. Kramer is also nominated in Outstanding Writing and the film, of course, is up for Outstanding Television Movie. Watch for it to sweep the Emmys.

“Orange Is The New Black” (Comedy): Though not a full-on comedy since it has such a dramatic undercurrent, the Netflix series grabbed several nominations. While I would’ve wished Laura Prepon had gotten a nomination, I was pleased that her on-screen lover did. Taylor Schilling nabbed an Outstanding Lead Actress nomination while the series is also up for an Outstanding Directing Emmy for out director/actress Jodie Foster and the series is also in the Outstanding Comedy category. Also, this past weekend at the Creative Arts Emmys, while three of Schilling’s co-stars were up for the Outstanding Guest Actress category - Natasha Lyonne, Uzo Aduba and trans actress Laverne Cox, Aduba was the one to take home the trophy. But let’s take a moment and think about how monumental it is that Cox is the first openly trans actor to receive a nomination and that she’s playing a trans character. I love progress. Don’t you?

Kate McKinnon at the American Comedy Awards earlier this year. (Getty)

Saturday Night Live” (Comedy): While some amazing women have come out of the long-running variety series, the men often overshadow the women when accolades are being handed out but leave it to the terrific out Kate McKinnon for get an Outstanding Supporting Actress nomination for the plethora of characters she brings to life.

The “66th Annual Prime Time Emmy Awards” air Monday night at 8pm on NBC with host Seth Meyers.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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