Last night, when the Autostraddle TV Team was scrambling to finish all of our various writing for this year’s awards before the deadline, Drew Gregory said, “I love the Gay Emmys and am so glad we’re still doing them!!”
And the fact that we’re still able to pull off this titanic ship four years in, two years into a pandemic, is no small feat. Carmen organized the voting and these posts, Heather Hogan made the graphics, Natalie helped with formatting, if you follow us on Twitter than you’ve seen what Valerie’s done to promote our annual virtual awards show this week (and if you know social media, then you know it’s art). When we had a tie in one of the categories — an actual tie, even after THREE rounds of voting — Kayla and Drew both stepped up to write extra on top of their duties. And then there was all of you, 14 thousand of you who voted in under 48 hours! We love queer television because television brings us together, and nothing better defines that spirit than this little homegrown awards contest.
The Autostraddle Gay Emmys began with a relatively simple goal: To honor the very best in lesbian, bisexual, queer, and trans television. To celebrate the stories and talents and creators that the mainstream Television Academy still misses year after year. We wanted to help change the conversation, and highlight who’s pushing the boundary and what’s moved us most. So we spent weeks together pouring over what mattered to us, reliving this past year, and voting for what we believed in. Then, when we were down to our top six nominees in each category, we opened up the field to you. We believe that television only works if it’s connecting to its audience, and so we wanted to make sure that our audience had their say. For regular categories, the individual TV Team votes were weighted heavily alongside our reader votes. For fan favorite categories, the winner was 100% determined by reader votes.
And without any further ado, here are the winners of Autostraddle’s Fourth Annual Gay Emmys!
PS: Goodbye Pose! We’re going to miss you. Thank you.
Outstanding Comedy Series
Back in 2010, Edie Falco stepped onto the Emmy stage, exasperated. She collected her trophy — her first for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, her fourth overall — and confessed, “Oh, this is just the most ridiculous thing that has ever happened… I’m not funny!” It was the culmination of a changing comedy landscape: one where writers weaved dramatic elements into comedic narratives and, later, where the Emmys mandated that all 30 minute shows were comedies, irrespective of content. But over the last few years — and, particularly, throughout this pandemic — it feels like audiences are looking for content that skews towards the more traditional role of a comedy. Simply put, we want to laugh…and few shows make us laugh more than A Black Lady Sketch Show.
In its second season, ABLSS revisited some of its classic characters — Dr. Haddassah (pre-PhD), Trinity, the Invisible Spy and the Coral Reefs Gang — while also crafting an expansive playground for its main cast. My personal favorites? The Post-Date Presser and The Last Supp-her. Just try to keep yourself from laughing. — Natalie
Outstanding Drama Series
Runner-Up: The Wilds (Amazon Prime)
The Gay Emmys exist to celebrate shows that the Straight Emmys have wrongly ignored. But with Veneno, it’s not the Emmys — international shows aren’t eligible — but Hollywood we’re correcting. Yes, the last half a decade has brought a wave of progress within the mainstream. It’s exciting and should be celebrated. But there’s still nothing like Veneno. Hollywood is, once again, behind.
What makes Veneno so special isn’t just its representation — more on that later — it’s the show’s quality. This is arthouse television. The technical achievements of Javier Calvo and Javier Ambrossi and their team are remarkable. The writing is naturalistic and fantastic all at once. And the actors within don’t just do this work justice — they elevate it. The three women who play Veneno, Paca la Piranha as herself, and Lola Rodríguez who plays Valeria are the heart of a show with so much of it.
Veneno is a masterful work of art. It means as much to me as an artist and a viewer as it means to me as a trans woman. And it means a lot to me as a trans woman. It’s the best drama of last year — according to the team and all of you — and one of the best shows of all time — according to me. — Drew
Outstanding Sci-Fi/Fantasy Series
Runners-Up, Tied: Wynonna Earp (SyFy) // Star Trek: Discovery (Paramount+)
There’s no way season two of Batwoman should have worked. It definitely shouldn’t have been significantly better than the first season. Batwoman’s origin story is more well known than any woman superhero at this point, in large part because it has been so groundbreaking and therefore widely publicized (or derided, depending on where you hang out on the internet). The loss of Ruby Rose, the show’s biggest name, was also the loss of Kate Kane, the only Batwoman we’ve known since she burst out of the closet in 2006. But Batwoman‘s writers took an enormous chance that paid off in shockingly delightful ways. They created a new Batwoman, a Black Batwoman, and they cast a Black bisexual actress to pay her. Season two didn’t get everything right — it’s never going to stop being traumatizing to see violence against Black bodies, Kate Kane being alive does undermine the character of Ryan Wilder — but the writers room brought in queer Black writers and they worked dang hard to tell a variety of queer Black stories. Even Sophie had to reckon with her place in the police state!
In addition to retelling an origin story, Batwoman found a way to organically, effortlessly introduce Ryan into everyone else’s lives in ways that made the show so much more compelling. And then, of course, there’s Javicia Leslie, whose charm and on-screen chemistry with basically everyone made Ryan’s relationships with every single character more fun, more fraught, with more potential for different pairings to find there way to each other and just see what happened. (Sophie and Alice? That shouldn’t work! But it does!) Plus Batwoman introduced even more LGBTQs into the mix, with recurring love interests and even villains. Javicia Leslie IS Ryan Wilder and Ryan Wilder IS Batwoman, and it has been a revolution and a joy to watch her own the cape and cowl. — Heather
Outstanding Lead Actor Playing an LGBTQ+ Character in a Drama Series
Mj Rodriguez as Blanca Evangelista, Pose
Runner-Up: Zendaya as Rue Bennett, Euphoria (HBO)
Other Nominees: Hunter Schafer as Jules Vaughn, Euphoria (HBO) // Danielle Savre as Maya Bishop, Station 19 (ABC) // Sarah Paulson as Nurse Ratched, Ratched (Netflix) // Nicco Annan as Uncle Clifford, P-Valley (Netflix)
In every season of Pose, Mj Rodriguez has given a stellar, layered performance, harnessing humor, drama, pathos, and spectacle all at once—sometimes just in one scene alone. The final season of Pose leans all the way into her strengths, honoring Blanca as the emotional core of the series. She shines on her own, obviously, but she’s so fun to watch in scenes with Billy Porter; the two are impeccable scene partners. Rodriguez knows how to deliver a damn good monologue, and she knows how to make us cry. But she also brings a warmth and coziness to the show. I can’t wait to see what she does next. — Kayla
Outstanding Supporting or Guest Actor Playing an LGBTQ+ Character in a Drama Series
Dominique Jackson as Elektra Abundance Evangelista Wintour, Pose
Runner-Up: Daniela Santiago as Veneno, Veneno (HBO Max)
Other Nominees: Cynthia Nixon as Gwendolyn Briggs, Ratched (Netflix) // Angourie Rice as Siobhan, Mare of Easttown (HBO) // Stefania Spampinato as Carina DeLuca, Station 19 (ABC) // Samira Wiley as Moira, The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)
There’s a scene, in the third season of Pose, where Elektra Abundance Evangelista is forced to confront the bigotry of the manager of a bridal boutique who refuses to serve them. She tries to reason with him, at first — appealing to him, from one businessperson to another — but when he refuses to relent, she unleashes a torrent of abuse on his head. Elektra’s always been quick and cutting with a quip but this is pure savagery. She reads him for absolute filth. And while there’s joy in watching Elektra verbally dismantle someone, it shouldn’t eclipse her character: Elektra has always been about more than a rhetorical jab and in Pose’s final season we get the full breadth of her character.
It’s “The Trunk,” the third episode, that gives us the greatest insight into how Elektra Abundance Evangelista came to be. The episode shows us Elektra at her highest and lowest… and requires a tour de force performance by Dominique Jackson to bring it all to life. — Natalie
Outstanding Lead Actor Playing an LGBTQ+ Character in a Comedy Series
Hailee Steinfeld as Emily Dickinson, Dickinson
Runner-Up: Chase Sui Wonders as Riley Luo, Genera+ion (HBO Max)
Other Nominees: Naomi Ackie as Alicia, Master of None Presents: Moments in Love (Netflix) // Hannah Einbinder as Ava Daniels, Hacks (HBO Max) // Paula Pell as Gloria, Girls 5Eva (Peacock) // Haley Sanchez as Greta Moreno, Genera+ion (HBO Max)
As silly as it may sound, this wacky, comedic retelling of Emily Dickinson’s life is one of the places I’ve felt most represented in all my years of watching queer TV. Emily’s internal monologue being dramatic and her external energy being chaotic feels so familiar to me, and Hailee Steinfeld brings every layer of this wild-hearted teenager to life with exquisite talent. The first season was a whirlwind of getting to know Emily but the second was a slow journey of Emily getting to know Emily, and it was beautiful to behold. Hailee is able to dig deep and express Emily’s wells of sadness as easily as she opens up to show off her flights of fancy or locks in to display her passion and love for her muse, her Sue. For a long time I thought of Hailee Steinfeld as “that girl from Pitch Perfect 3” but she was handed the reins to this show and has been deftly steering it since day one and has proven that she is so much more than anyone bargained for, in the best way possible. — Valerie
Outstanding Supporting or Guest Actor Playing an LGBTQ+ Character in a Comedy Series
Ella Hunt as Susan Gilbert, Dickinson
Runner-Up: Sasheer Zamata as Denise, Home Economics (ABC)
Dickinson suffered no sophomore slump; in fact, season two arguably bests the first season of the funny, strange, gorgeously shot show. And one of the highlights of that great second season is easily the new layers we get of Sue. Ella Hunt brings depth to the character, playing the comedic and dramatic sides of the show with equal heft. In season two, we get the Sue Emily loves but also a complicated, flaw-stricken Sue. That final steamy scene has stayed with me. Equal parts messy and intimate, it’s one of my favorite sex scenes to air in recent years, and a big part of that is the performances from both leads, who fittingly have won in tandem in their respective categories. Hunt and Steinfeld’s chemistry oozes in every frame. — Kayla
Outstanding Lead Actor Playing an LGBTQ+ Character in a Sci-Fi Series
Javicia Leslie as Ryan Wilder, Batwoman
Runner-Up: Victoria Pedretti as Dani Clayton, The Haunting of Bly Manor (Netflix)
Other Nominees: Kat Barrell as Nicole Haught, Wynonna Earp (SyFy) // Chyler Leigh as Alex Danvers, Supergirl (CW) // Dom Provost-Chalkley as Waverly Earp, Wynonna Earp (SyFy) // Nafessa Williams as Anissa Pierce, Black Lightning (CW)
It’s hard to imagine an actor this year who had more stacked in front of her than Javicia Leslie. Batwoman is already an iconic lesbian character in comics lore. Her original iteration, Kate Kane, was brought to television by a queer actor who is already iconic their own right — Ruby Rose. When Ruby left the role, Javicia stepped into an entirely new caped crusader, Ryan Wilder, and a fandom that was already on edge. She was going to become the first Black Batwoman, at a time of historic racial protest and an ongoing fight for humanity of Black lives. Oh, and she had to do it all during a once-in-a-century pandemic. HA! No big deal.
I list out all these challenges because you deserve to know what Javicia was up against — but also because Javicia has made it all look so good, that it’s easy to forget. With every charming, cocky smile. With every snark. With every twinkle in her eye, it’s impossible not to fall in love with Ryan Wilder. Javicia not only has stepped into the responsibility of the moment, but she hasn’t forgotten that comic book stories should be fun. They can be dark (and both metaphorically and literally, Gotham is dark), but never without joy. A superhero should have chemistry. They should be a star.
And you can’t possibly find a bigger star than what Javicia Leslie has already lifted on her mighty shoulders. — Carmen
Outstanding Supporting or Guest Actor Playing an LGBTQ+ Character in a Sci-Fi Series
Meagan Tandy as Sophie Moore, Batwoman
Runner-Up: Chantal Thuy as Grace Choi, Black Lightning (CW)
Other Nominees: Blu del Barrio as Adira Tal, Star Trek: Discovery (Paramount+) // Nicole Maines as Nia Nal, Supergirl (CW) // Azie Tesfai as Kelly Olsen, Supergirl (CW) // Lachlan Watson as Theo Putnam, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (Netflix)
When we were deciding who got to write about which show, I saw that Outstanding Sci-Fi/Fantasy Series and Outstanding Lead Actor in a Sci-Fi/Fantasy series were taken and for a second I was bummed I wouldn’t get to write about Batwoman… then I kept scrolling and saw the well-deserved SWEEP and so I’m thrilled to be here to talk to you about Meagan Tandy. Over these first two seasons of Batwoman, we’ve watched Sophie Moore grow, but in this second season especially, I feel like I’ve watched both Sophie and Meagan absolutely BLOOM. From the way her acting feels brighter to the way she is talking about the show on Twitter, I think having Javicia at the helm has suited her as well as it has suited the show as a whole (which is very well, as you know.) Sophie went from being a closeted crow to being a vigilante with two ex-girlfriends who may or may not be evil now, plus a flirtationship with Batwoman herself. She got tougher and softer all at once, and also her outfits and overall looks set the Autostraddle TV Team slack channel on fire week after week.— Valerie
Outstanding Performance by a Straight Actress in a Straight Role
Michaela Coel as Arabella, I May Destroy You
Runner-Up: Renee Elise Goldsberry as Wickie Roy in Girls 5Eva (Peacock)
Other Nominees:Brandee Evans as Mercedes, P-Valley (Starz) // Kathryn Hahn, WandaVision (Disney+) // Punam Patel as Kim Laghari in Special (Netflix) // Hannah Waddingham as Rebecca, Ted Lasso (Apple TV+)
For so much of the last year, the urge has been to escape… for television to give its audience some refuge from the storm that ravages outside… but I May Destroy You is not that. Rather than offering a port in the storm, it takes us inside it. Not literally, of course — I May Destroy You grapples with sexual assault, boundaries and consent, not the pandemic — but the show captures the last year on a micro level: social media, the fleeting nature of memory, trauma and our capacity to find joy and laughter in the midst of it all. The show is a call for introspection, no matter what we’ve been through.
It is hard to say which of Michaela Coel’s roles in I May Destroy You contribute most to its success — she is, after all, the show’s star, writer, director and producer (and has earned Emmy nominations for each) — but it is her turn as Arabella that cuts most deeply. It’s hard to explain what it feels like to be a survivor… to go on living in the aftermath of an assault… but as Arabella, Coel makes survivors feel seen in a profound way. — Natalie
Outstanding Cis Male Character
Jason Sudeikis as Ted Lasso, Ted Lasso
Runner-Up: Billy Porter as Pray Tell, Pose (F/X)
Other Nominees: Angel Bismark Curiel as Esteban “Lil Papi” Evangelista, Pose (F/X) // Brett Goldstein as Roy Kent, Ted Lasso (Apple TV+) // Toheeb Jimoh as Sam Obisanya, Ted Lasso (Apple TV+) // Justice Smith as Chester Morris, Genera+ion (HBO Max)
Everyone I know — including me — watched Ted Lasso begrudgingly. I can’t think of a harder sell in 2021 than: a cis white guy gets a job he’s unqualified for and becomes celebrated against all odds. Yet, somehow, Jason Sudeikis makes a small-time football coach from Kansas who moves to London to coach European football not just palatable, not just likable, but actually lovable. Ted Lasso is the guy who brings cookies to work every morning, who makes endless dad jokes, who curses like “heck” and “shoot,” and says bonkers motivational quotes like “I believe in ghosts, but more importantly, I believe they need to believe in themselves.” He’s a walking, talking human embodiment of a JUST HANG IN THERE poster with a cat on a tree limb. And it works. His earnestness, his genuine kindness, his willingness to admit what he doesn’t know and when he messes up, his genuine belief in the ability of the people around him — it all starts to rub off on his team, his team’s fans, and even the owner who hired him to fail. Ted Lasso — the character and the show — is good and wholesome and nurturing and kind. And in a world that feels less and less like those things every day, he is a welcome relief. — Heather
Santana Lopez Legacy Award For Outstanding Queer Teen Character
Hunter Schafer as Jules Vaughn, Euphoria
Runner-Up: Eris Baker as Tess Pearson, This Is Us (NBC)
Other Nominees: Bre-z as Tamia “Coop” Cooper, All American (CW) // Haley Sanchez as Greta Moreno, Genera+ion (HBO Max) // Chase Sui Wonders as Riley Luo, Genera+ion (HBO Max) // Zendaya as Rue Bennett, Euphoria (HBO)
Euphoria is less a TV show than it is a cultural moment. Its cast of hot, stylish, and largely queer Gen Z-ers are taking over magazines and red carpets and the thoughts of so many. (Me.) And while Zendaya may be the show’s most famous star and Sydney Sweeney next behind, it’s Hunter Schafer and her character Jules who embody the Euphoria spirit.
During its first season, I joked that Jules was a Manic Pixie Trans Girl. But that’s not inherently negative. There’s a magic to a character placed on our protagonist’s pedestal. Jules is magic. She’s charming and chaotic and impossible to contain. Schafer shows her to be tender and harsh, grounded and ethereal. The tension between who she is and how she’s perceived crackles in every moment.
This year’s special episodes showed these two sides of Jules. In the Rue episode, she is literally a fantasy. But in her own episode, we get to see more of who she really is. Schafer herself got a writing credit on this episode and the more she becomes Schafer’s creation, the more she becomes her own. She’s a face of a generation. She’s a trans teen just trying to survive. — Drew
Best Episode with LGBTQ+ Themes
“CLICK WHIRR,” Genera+ion
“Chapter 4” , Master of None Presents: Moments in Love
Other Nominees: Euphoria: “Fuck Anyone Who’s Not a Sea Blob” (HBO) // Girls5Eva: “Cease and Desist” (Peacock) // Harley Quinn: “Something Borrowed, Something Green” (DC/HBO Max) // Pose, “The Trunk” (F/X)
This is a bittersweet win after this week’s cancellation. Genera+ion really found its voice in its backhalf of episodes and it could have done so much more. The show thrived when it showcased its entire ensemble, but it also thrived when honoring one character’s minute experiences. This episode, focused entirely on Chase Sui Wonders’ Riley, was the show at its riskiest and most transcendent. “CLICK WHIRR” is marked by hours Riley has been awake since failing to sleep the night before. As the day continues, Riley’s descent continues. Her behavior becomes more erratic and the show mirrors this disorientation in its sound design and visual landscape.
I know I’m prone to hyperbole, but this episode is the closest I’ve ever seen to my teen years on screen. Not in the specific circumstances — that honor goes to Sex Education or Perks of Being a Wallflower — but in the emotion. That feeling of being trapped, that lack of awareness of the world beyond, that confused anger, that depth of loneliness.
We may not be getting any more Genera+ion, but follow Chase Sui Wonders and director Anu Valia wherever they go next. It’s sure to be special. — Drew
Master of None: Moments In Love had an uneven run, but its finest episode is hands down “Chapter 4,” which tells the story of Alicia’s rollercoaster of a pregnancy journey. Heartfelt and heartbreaking, it’s a tremendous, self-contained narrative that shows how difficult a queer path to pregnancy can be (on systemic and personal levels). Naomi Ackie deserves all the accolades for her performance, which is nuanced and potent throughout, the full weight of Alicia’s frustration, despair, and determination effectively portrayed. I hope we start to see more queer pregnancy/parenting stories on television. This one is unforgettable. — Kayla
Outstanding Performance by an Out LGBTQ+ Actor in a Comedy
Paula Pell as Gloria, Girls 5Eva
Runners-Up, Tied: Cole Escola as Chip Wreck, Search Party (HBO Max) // Humberly González as Sophie Sanchez, Ginny & Georgia (Netflix)
Other Nominees: Hannah Einbinder as Ava Daniels, Hacks (HBO) // Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live (NBC) // Wanda Sykes as Lucretia Turner, The Upshaws (Netflix)
Paula Pell is the least famous member of Girls5eva, the show and the seemingly cursed girl group. Maybe you saw her act in Amy Poehler’s lukewarmly liked Wine Country, but probably if you know her at all you know her from her work as a longtime writer on Saturday Night Live during the Pohler/Tina Fey era. But oh she shines as divorced, dejected lesbian Gloria McManus in Peacock’s freshman comedy. Pell plays Gloria with just the right mix of ridiculousness (“I power walk to ‘WAP!'”) and vulnerability. She’s thrilled in a super-charged way to be back on stage with her bandmates, especially since she can now be out, which wasn’t the case 20 years ago. But dang, she’s also just really sad! She’s also self-aware enough to be at least slightly embarrassed about working with the parasites in the music industry as Girls5eva make their way back into the spotlight. It’s not easy to hold your own on camera with Renée Elise Goldsberry, but Pell’s Gloria is as memorable as she is lovable.
It looks like she really is gonna be famous 5eva, cuz 4ever’s too short. — Heather
Outstanding Performance by an LGBTQ+ Actor in a Drama
Mj Rodriguez as Blanca Evangelista, Pose
Runner-Up: Lola Rodriguez as Valeria Vegas, Veneno (HBO Max)
Other Nominees: Gillian Anderson as Margaret Thatcher, The Crown (Netflix) // Emma Corrin as Princess Diana, The Crown (Netflix) // Dominique Jackson as Elektra Abundance Evangelista Wintour, Pose (F/X) // Samira Wiley as Moira Strand, The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)
What an honor it is to give Mj her things.
For years we’ve been saying it. Not only is Mj Rodriguez an impeccable talent behind the mic, on stage, and on screen — but Blanca Evangelista is the beating heartbeat around which Pose revolves. If it’s a show that’s defined this cultural moment (and it is!), then absolutely zero of that has been possible without her. Finally this year, even the “straight” Emmys paid attention, landing Mj with a historic nomination. But no matter what happens on Sunday, I’m glad that we get to honor Mj Rodriguez here, first. Family to family. At its core, Pose has never been about the glamorous mirrorballs and ballroom runways. It’s about making a home for others out of seemingly nothing except your belief in each other, family dinners of $5 pizzas and take out on a card table in a warm, worn down apartment in The Bronx. I won’t lie to you, our little Gay Emmys comes out of a similar home grown spirit, so it feels fitting to celebrate Mj this way, full of queer heart and spirit. Thank you Mj Rodriguez for reflecting back the very best of us. Thank you for being our heart. — Carmen
Outstanding LGBTQ+ Actor in a Sci-Fi/Fantasy Show
Javicia Leslie as Ryan Wilder, Batwoman
Runner-Up: T’Nia Miller as Hannah Grose, The Haunting of Bly Manor (Netflix)
Other Nominees: Blu del Barrio as Adira Tal, Star Trek: Discovery (Paramount+) // Dom Provost-Chalkley as Waverly Earp, Wynonna Earp (SyFy) // Chyler Leigh as Alex Danvers, Supergirl (CW) // Chantal Thuy as Grace Choi, Black Lightning (CW)
It’s all been already said perfectly, the obstacle course of a job Javicia walked into this season and how well she exceeded every challenge thrown at her. As Carmen said, and as Nic has said, and as we’ve all been singing from the hillside every week since Ryan Wilder came to Gotham, Javicia is exactly what the show needed; she IS Batwoman. When the role was being recast, it was announced that the new Batwoman wouldn’t be Kate Kane at all, so there were concerns that the network would use it as an excuse to de-gay the show. We were all thrilled when Javicia was cast, a Black bisexual babe with a contagious smile. Her whole vibe is just so good, on and off screen, and she has an approachability about her that is magnetic, like you can’t help but think Javicia would fit in seamlessly in your queer friend group. Her queerness is important to the role, and it’s part of the reason the role is so important to her, which is just one of the many reasons (most of which have been mentioned at various points in this post) that she’s the perfect person for the job. — Valerie
Outstanding LGBTQ+ Director / Writer / Showrunner
Ashley Nicole Black and Lauren Ashley Smith, writers, A Black Lady Sketch Show
Runner-Up: Emily Andras, showrunner, Wynonna Earp (SyFy)
Other Nominees: Tina Mabry, director, Pose (“The Trunk”) (F/X) // Janet Mock, director, Pose (“Take Me to Church”) (F/X) // Hunter Schafer, writer, Euphoria (“Fuck Anyone Who’s Not a Sea Blob”) (HBO) // Lena Waithe, writer, Master of None Presents: Moments in Love (Netflix)
LET’S GOOOOO 🎵 Black Lady Emmys * clap clap 🎵 Black Lady Emmys *clap clap 🎵
I am DELIGHTED to be able to deliver this award to two of the strongest, funniest, paradigm breaking writers around. There is no one else working right now like Lauren Ashley Smith and Ashley Nicole Black. To try and quantify their talent actually leaves me dumbfounded. Which I hate! Because they deserve all their flowers. And unlike these two powerhouses, I’m failing to rise to the occasion.
Just this week Robin Thede, who has received so many of the (well deserved) accolades of creating ABLSS, shone light on the true unsung hero of the show : “Lauren Ashley Smith has been an invaluable part of the ‘A Black Lady Sketch Show’ team since its inception, creating a dynamic comedic landscape in the writing and tapestry of the show on all levels. Her contributions to the series are immeasurable and we’re all made better by knowing her!”
Ashley Nicole Black? In front and behind the camera? SHEEESH. Unmatched. Unparalleled. And once I again I know, I know that I am not saying nearly enough. And again I am sorry. I hope they can feel the love and admiration behind these stumbling words. I want to just run around laughing and squealing because it’s so rare when you get to really celebrate the right person for their jobs — and when it comes to these two, working in the shadows and taking over center stage, I just… again. Just. Wow.. Black Lady Emmys *clap clap 🎵 — Carmen
Most Groundbreaking Representation (Show)
Runner-Up: Genera+ion (HBO Max)
Veneno is not a show with good representation — it is a show about representation.
Yes, it does quantifiable things that I’ve never seen before such as casting trans women as their characters pre-transition, portraying certain intercommunity dynamics, and prominently featuring older trans women. These are groundbreaking qualities. But what stands out most to me is its intelligence around representation itself. It doesn’t just want to tell the life story of Veneno. It wants to tell the story of how her story was told and how all of our stories are told.
Not only does it have a cast of trans actresses rivaled only by Pose — it understands the responsibility of putting these individuals on screen. I’ve started saying trans storytelling instead of trans representation, because the word representation has lost its depth. This is a show that understands that depth. This is trans storytelling at its finest. — Drew
Outstanding Animated Series
DC Animated Universe’s Harley Quinn finally did the thing comic book writers have been dancing around for decades: They gave Harley and her best friend Poison Ivy the on-screen romance they deserved. The second season basically plays out like an extended rom-com with Harley and Ivy dodging their feelings for each other as Harley deals with murdering her psycho ex-boyfriend and Ivy plans a wedding with her white bread current boyfriend. They’re best friends, okay? THEY’RE BEST FRIENDS. Ultimately, though, their feelings get the best of them and they hook up on Ivy’s bachelorette party weekend away — repeatedly. Ivy loves Harley but she doesn’t trust Harley with her heart, so she pushes her away and plans to go through with her wedding to Kite Man. But then! In an episode that throws it back visually to their very first meeting in Batman: The Animated Series, Harley shows how much she’s grown and what she’s willing to sacrifice for her friendship with Ivy, which makes Ivy realize she can trust Harley with her heart. And so they blow up Ivy’s wedding venue and ride off into the flames together. Picture perfect chaotic bisexual best friend to lovers love! — Heather
Outstanding Hairstyling for an LGBTQ+ Character
Angel Evangelista, Pose
Runner-Up: Sophie Moore, Batwoman (CW)
This is almost too obvious. I mean Pose literally just won an official Emmy last weekend for “Outstanding Contemporary Hairstyling”! So of course this was always their race to lose. The third, and final, season alone had to transverse between the two distinctly different periods of the 90s, from the late ‘80s influenced momentous, big hair to their almost-nearly Y2K counterparts. And through it all, those curls.
Throughout two decades, Angel’s curls are about as iconic as you can get. They’ll be remembered long after the last of the glitter dust settles. But part of what I’ll remember most is Indya Moore without them — that they willingly cut their hair to tell the story of a young Angel before she found her family. That they’ve been in our lives all year without them, that hair can be home, and it is almost always political, but it also doesn’t define us. Strength does. — Carmen
Outstanding Costume Design for a Show With LGBTQ+ Characters
Runner-Up: Dickinson (Apple TV+)
I mean props to the other nominees in this category, which are all undoubtedly visual feasts, but between its iconic, over-the-top ballroom sequences and the group wedding dress scenes at the end of its final season, Pose is the obvious winner for outstanding costume design. But it’s not just those most spectacle-driven sequences that make this show’s style stand out. The costumes are so specific to and revealing of each character, Elektra’s personal wardrobe (while obviously always luxurious) growing increasingly more lavish as her phone sex empire expands, Blanca serving cool mom chic, Pray punctuating his looks with hats and accessories. Their personal styles perfectly reflect who they are. — Kayla
Fan Favorite Categories
Fan Favorite Out LGBTQ+ Actor: Dom Provost-Chalkley
Fan Favorite LGBTQ+ Character: Maya Bishop, Station 19
Runner-Up: Carina Deluca, Station 19 (ABC)
Fan Favorite Couple: Maya and Carina, Station 19
The Straight Emmys are this Sunday, September 19th on CBS, pandemic and all.