The 2015 Emmy Nominations Include More Queer and Black Women Than Ever!

The 2015 Emmy Award nominations were announced this morning and, like last year, they’re pretty damn queer. The nominations include a handful of real life gay women —  Lily Tomlin for Grace And Frankie, Sarah Paulson for American Horror Story: Freak Show, Kate McKinnon for Saturday Night Live, Jane Lynch for Hollywood Game Night — and loads of nods for women who play queer characters. This year’s list also includes more black women than ever: Taraji P. Henson! Viola Davis! Queen Latifah! Uzo Aduba! Cicely Tyson! Mo’Nique! Angela Bassett! Khandi AlexanderNiecy NashRegina King! Orange Is the New Black, Transparent, and Bessie are nominated for Best Drama, Best Comedy and Best TV Movie (respectively).

It’s such a stark contrast to last year’s nearly all-white, all-male Oscar nominations!

The nominees are also flush with outspoken feminist badasses, and they (finally, finally, finally) include the incomparable Tatiana Maslany.

Check out the full list of acting nominees below.


Taraji P. Henson, “Empire”
Claire Danes, “Homeland”
Viola Davis, “How to Get Away with Murder”
Tatiana Maslany, “Orphan Black”
Elisabeth Moss, “Mad Men”
Robin Wright, “House of Cards”


Felicity Huffman, “American Crime”
Jessica Lange, “American Horror Story”
Queen Latifah, “Bessie”
Maggie Gyllenhaal, “The Honorable Woman”
Frances McDormand, “Olive Kitteridge”
Emma Thompson, “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street”


Lisa Kudrow, “The Comeback”
Lily Tomlin, “Grace And Frankie”
Amy Schumer, “Inside Amy Schumer”
Edie Falco, “Nurse Jackie”
Amy Poehler, “Parks And Recreation”
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep”


Joanne Froggatt, “Downton Abbey”
Lena Headey, “Game Of Thrones”
Emilia Clarke, “Game Of Thrones”
Christine Baranski, “The Good Wife”
Christina Hendricks, “Mad Men”
Uzo Aduba, “Orange Is The New Black”


Margo Martindale, “The Americans”
Diana Rigg, “Game of Thrones”
Rachel Brosnahan, “House Of Cards”
Cicely Tyson, “How To Get Away With Murder”
Allison Janney, “Masters Of Sex”
Khandi Alexander, “Scandal”


Mayim Bialik, “The Big Bang Theory”
Niecy Nash, “Getting On”
Julie Bowen, “Modern Family”
Allison Janney, “Mom”
Kate McKinnon “Saturday Night Live”
Gaby Hoffmann, “Transparent”
Jane Krakowski, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”
Anna Chlumsky, “Veep”


Christine Baranski, “The Big Bang Theory”
Gaby Hoffmann, “Girls”
Pamela Adlon, “Louie”
Elizabeth Banks, “Modern Family”
Joan Cusack, “Shameless”
Tina Fey, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”


Regina King, “American Crime”
Sarah Paulson, “American Horror Story: Freak Show”
Angela Bassett, “American Horror Story: Freak Show”
Kathy Bates, “American Horror Story: Freak Show”
Mo’Nique, “Bessie”
Zoe Kazan, “Olive Kitteridge”

“Better Call Saul”
“Downton Abbey”
“Game of Thrones”
“House of Cards”
“Mad Men”
“Orange is the New Black”

“Modern Family”
“Parks and Recreation”
“Silicon Valley”
“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”


Bob Odenkirk, “Better Call Saul”
Kyle Chandler, “Bloodline”
Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards”
Jon Hamm, “Mad Men”
Jeff Daniels, “The Newsroom”
Liev Schreiber, “Ray Donovan”


Timothy Hutton, “American Crime”
Ricky Gervais, “Derek Special”
Adrien Brody, “Houdini”
David Oyelowo, “Nightingale”
Richard Jenkins, “Olive Kitteridge”
Mark Rylance, “Wolf Hall”


Anthony Anderson, “black-ish”
Matt LeBlanc, “Episodes”
Don Cheadle, “House of Lies”
Will Forte, “The Last Man On Earth”
Louis C.K., “Louie”
William H. Macy, “Shameless”
Jeffrey Tambor, “Transparent”


“The Amazing Race”
“Dancing With The Stars”
“Project Runway”
“So You Think You Can Dance”
“Top Chef”
“The Voice”


“The Colbert Report”
“The Daily Show With Jon Stewart”
“Jimmy Kimmel Live”
“Last Week Tonight With John Oliver”
“Late Show With David Letterman”
“The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”


“American Crime”
“American Horror Story: Freak Show”
“The Honorable Woman”
“Olive Kitteridge”
“Wolf Hall”


“Drunk History”
“Inside Amy Schumer”
“Key & Peele”
“Saturday Night Live”


“Agatha Christie’s Poirot: Curtain, Poirot’s Last Case”
“Grace of Monaco”
“Hello Ladies: The Movie”
“Killing Jesus”


Jonathan Banks, “Better Call Saul”
Ben Mendelsohn, “Bloodline”
Jim Carter, “Downton Abbey”
Peter Dinklage, “Game Of Thrones”
Alan Cumming, “The Good Wife”
Michael Kelly, “House Of Cards”


Alan Alda, “The Blacklist”
Michael J. Fox, “The Good Wife”
F. Murray Abraham, “Homeland”
Reg E. Cathey, “House of Cards”
Beau Bridges, “Masters Of Sex”
Pablo Schreiber, “Orange Is The New Black”


Andre Braugher, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”
Adam Driver, “Girls”
Keegan-Michael Key, “Key & Peele”
Ty Burrell, “Modern Family”
Tituss Burgess, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”
Tony Hale, “Veep”


Mel Brooks, “The Comedians”
Paul Giamatti, “Inside Amy Schumer”
Bill Hader, “Saturday Night Live”
Louis C.K., “Saturday Night Live”
Bradley Whitford, “Transparent”
Jon Hamm, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”


Richard Cabral, “American Crime”
Denis O’Hare, “American Horror Story: Freak Show”
Finn Wittrock, “American Horror Story: Freak Show”
Michael Kenneth Williams, “Bessie”
Bill Murray, “Olive Kitteridge”
Damian Lewis, “Wolf Hall”

The Primetime Emmy Awards will air on Fox on September 20 at 5:00PM PT / 8:00PM ET. You know we’ll be live-blogging it for you!

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Heather Hogan

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior editor who lives in New York City with her wife, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Twitter and Instagram.

Heather has written 1718 articles for us.


    • I’m so excited for her nomination! I mean, if I’m being honest… She’s been starring in my dreams as Ma Rainey ever night since the movie premiered. She should get recognized for all that hard work ;)

  1. AHHHH! I was literally *just* talking about this in the comment section of today’s Daily Fix.

    I was saying that it felt like loads more black folks nominated than I could remember in a really long time, and now I know why!!!!

    So excited!! And I just can’t hide it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Yes it feels the same as well and I’ toooorn because as much as I like Tatiana / Orphan Black, Viola AND Taraji totally killed it this year and so deserve a win.

      Also Andre Braugher is never not funny and deserves that win as well.

      • Chloe, I just wanted to say how happy I was to see that you also found your way over here! It’s like our conversation migrated comment boards.


    They better not give that best female lead award to Claire Danes when you’ve got Viola, Tatiana AND Taraji in the same category !

  3. FINALLY they nominated Tatiana Maslany! I was beginning to wonder how many characters she’d have to play before she got her nod.

  4. I am a little conflicted about the Best Actress in a Drama Series nominations. As much as Viola Davis KILLED IT this year, Tatiana DESERVES THIS. Viola Davis is doing INCREDIBLE work on HTGAWM, but this is only the first season, and Tatiana is doing UNBELIEVABLE work playing SIX TIMES as many characters, and she got totally shafted last year. Plus, it would be nice to see a genre show like Orphan Black getting some awards love.

  5. Hooray!

    Also, I like the typo next to Christina Hendricks’ name. “Man Men” would be a hilarious title for a show.

    • No, it’s for season 2 (the Vee season). Orange is the New Black airs after the Emmy cut off date, so it’s always a year behind.

      • Thank you. Yeah she did an excellent job for S2, specially when working of the Vee emotions.

  6. Is this for season two or three of “Orphan Black”? If it’s season two then I don’t see how anyone will beat out Tatiana for that Clone Dance scene.

    • I think it’s season three because they didn’t include Tony in the list of characters she plays but they did include Krystal

  7. i’m so thrilled for tatiana but i’m soooo bummed that gina rodriguez didn’t get nominated for jane the virgin :(

  8. So, I just woke up, and I’m a little out of it.

    I was scrolling through the nominations list, and when I got to the actors section I was like, wait… these are MEN’S names.

    For a glorious few minutes I forgot men existed at all.

    Thank you all for that.

  9. Just have to say that I’m so excited to see American Crime in there for limited series… I think the show approached race in a really groundbreaking way for mainstream television and I wish more people were talking about it. And it is frustrating that only white actors got nominated for it :/ Plus my amazing gf worked on it!

  10. I actually don’t pay much attention to emmy or oscar stuff…but this is super important stuff right now. The more diverse, the better! I am very pleased with this.

  11. this is so amazing!! I refused to watch the Oscars last year because they were flipping ridiculous, but I’m definitely gonna watch the Emmy’s this year!

  12. That lead actress category is so stacked. All of my favorites are there. I’m so happy Tatiana finally got the nom this year. Also, sad that Gina Rodriguez didn’t get nominated though I’m still confused on whether Jane The Virgin falls into the comedy or drama category due to the change in rules for one hour shows that could basically fit either category. I see OITNB got the drama nods this year.

    I’m also pleased to see Khandi Alexander finally recognized for her work as Mama Pope on Scandal. Khandi Alexander is so underrated and should be getting more work than she does. She was also great in Bessie btw. She could have easily been nominated for that as well.

    And yay for Richard Cabral for American Crime. He was so great in that. I had never seen him in anything before this role. I hope he gets more work out of this.

    • The Academy made a new rule this year that comedies are limited to 30 minute shows. Any show that wanted to be considered as a comedy had to petition for consideration. Glee, Shameless and Jane the Virgin had successful petitions and, as a result, were eligible for the comedy category. OITNB wasn’t so lucky so, instead, they’re considered a drama.

      • I think that was the right call this year — but next year, OitNB should be bumped back to the comedy category (based on Season 3)

  13. Since everyone already expressed their happiness over Tatiana and Viola and etc I’ll just say that I’m glad to see John Oliver be nominated

    • Yes yes yes I really hope he wins his show is faaar superior than anything else on that list.

  14. Did you put the men last on purpose? Because lemme tell you, it warmed my misandrist heart!

  15. I think Jill Holoway got nominated for writing for Transparent as well, by the way. Isn’t she one of us?
    Also, noteworthy, that actors playing queer or trans characters got nominated quite a lot (I am so counting Kevin Spacey in that category, btw.), which I’m also glad for, because on screen representation wins awards! It’s a good thing if you’re playing a queer character, these days, so I just wanted to throw that out there, because it hasn’t always been.
    Also, in the original Emmy nom document, they totally forgot Beth in their countdown of roles that Tatiana was nominated for.
    My heart is torn over Taraji P.Henson and Tatiana Maslany, I just hope one of them wins, even though Tatiana needs her own separate category of excellence.
    Actually they should have nominated her as Beth for Best Guest Star, and her as Alison as Best Supporting Actress.
    Fair’s fair.

  16. If Tatiana doesn’t win this award I’ll probably do something violent. I haven’t decided what yet but it will most definitely involve knocking some heads together.

    • I will likely do something horrid either in that case or in the event that Uzo does not win.


    For the rest I hope Mad Men wins everything.

    And she’s a nice girl and all.. but Emilia Clarke nominated? Really Emmys? Really?

    Also I would like to nominate Julianna Margulies and Archie Panjabi for best acting in a split screen.

    • My thoughts exactly about Emilia Clarke. I like her as Daenerys, but… that role doesn’t really require much.

    • Also I would like to nominate Julianna Margulies and Archie Panjabi for best acting in a split screen.

      I snort-laughed.

  18. TATIANA! Finally!

    Is Fresh Off the Boat not eligible this year yet? Because if it is eligible and they just overlooked Constance Wu, that is a damn dirty shame.

  19. Whaaaaaat?? How is Jane the Virgin and/or Gina not included 441

  20. Daaaang, these are good lists! And I like your new picture, Heather! You look like a Very Serious Writer Person but also way cool.

  21. Well that’s an impressive line up of women and performances. To be fair, I don’t think the Oscar’s had nearly the performance pool to draw from, not like this and I was fairly upset last year.

  22. Viola Davis is a powerhouse queen. I still don’t understand just how amazingly she absolutely beasted HTGAWM. Just…that show transcended SO. MUCH. Race and femininity and womanhood and the law and privilege and trauma and…just. Good god. That scene where Annalise is taking off her wig and makeup…I don’t think there’s ever been anything quite so powerful on primetime network TV before. IT WAS AWESOME. And I mean…just that a middle-aged black woman was this powerful centerpiece in such a major show…DAMN, VIOLA. I like Orphan Black well enough…but it just doesn’t have the same representation awesomeness that HTGAWM has, and HTGAWM should win all the awards for every season it exists. Because it’s that good.
    PLUS ORPHAN BLACK IS CANADIAN AND THIS IS NOT CANADA. (Sorry, Canada. I love you, my family is in you, I will be attending grad school in you and then probably staying. But c’mon)
    And to be honest, Cicely Tyson deserves all the awards. Like, she should just be given them by default. She’s Cicely Tyson. She’s been alive FOREVER (and ever and ever, it seems) and she just keeps churning out brilliance. SHE IS NINETY YEARS OLD. When my great-grandmother was ninety (and a pretty lucid, feisty ninety year old at that, relatively), she mostly sat on the porch swing and drank Ensure and Diet Dr. Pepper with a bendy straw and told stories about “how it used to be.” Not, you know, KILLING EVERY ROLE EVER.
    I’d also like Amy Schumer to win…I’ve been incredibly impressed at how she handles humor. Her sketches incorporate all of this important stuff like birth control and rape culture and oversexualization of little girls etc etc etc, and her proud handle on her sexuality is so important. She just doesn’t give a fuck. Independent Woman and shit. Love it.

    • I didn’t know that the Emmy’s was for American TV shows only, but Orphan Black is produced by BBC America so maybe that’s why it was included?

  23. Thanks for this post…I’ve spent most of the day lamenting the women of color who didn’t get nominations–Lorraine Touissant, Gina Rodriguez, Tracee Ellis Ross and Constance Wu (!!)–that I’ve neglected celebrating those who did. I’m particularly excited for Khandi Alexander and Regina King, both who have been snubbed by the Academy previously…Alexander for Treme and The Corner and King for Southland.

    That said…

    Preach, Jesssica. Preach.

    • Yes, oh my goodness gracious, Tracee Ellis Ross and Constance Wu. While Wu’s character still fits quite a few stereotypes about Asian moms, she’s just such a strong independent woman who gives no fucks. AND TRACEE. Has anyone else seen her youtube videos about exploring rap/hip hop songs? SHE’S BRILLIANT.

  24. I’m just gonna point out, the Variety Series are all dudes, though I’m sure that’s quite indicative of the actual Variety shows out there…

  25. I’m confused as to why Keegan-Michael Key is nominated for SUPPORTING actor… of his own show. Why wouldn’t it be lead?

  26. Last time I checked, Sarah Paulson doesn’t identify as gay. Or maybe that has changed since 2014. Just wanted to put that out there!

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