AsAmNews & Views from the Edge
In an historic double whammy, two Asian actors made history when they were both nominated for Emmy’s this morning, the first time Asian actors — at the same time — received nominations for lead roles in male and female categories.
Actress Sandra Oh became the first Asian woman to receive an Emmy nomination for lead actress in a drama series, reports Vanity Fair.
The Asian Canadian is joined by Broadway star and Glee alum Darren Criss who won a nomination in the category for lead actor in a limited series or movie. The Emmy’s honored Criss for his role as killer Andrew Cunanan in FX’s The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story. Gold Derby reports the 31 year old is the second youngest ever to be nominated in this category
Oh scored for her portrayal of a MI5 security officer in BBC America’s Killing Eve. This is her sixth nomination. She was nominated five times as best supporting actress as Christina Yang in ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy. She has never won, according to CNN.
Since the departure of Dr. Yang from Grey’s Anatomy, which takes place in a Seattle hospital, the series has been noteworthy for its lack of an Asian or Asian American medical staff in any prominent roles, in contrast to real-life urban medical settings where AAPI doctors, nurses and medical technicians are seemingly all over the place.
Filipino American actor Criss took a giant risk and completely played against type when he took on the role of the Filipino American Cunanan, who went on a murder rampage in the 1980s that included famous fashion designer Versace. Previously, Criss was best known for his upbeat role in the musical high school drama Glee.
San Francisco native Criss was so successful in portraying Cunanan that voters might find it difficult to vote for such a unlikeable character that drew no sympathy from audiences. But, that is what makes Criss’ performance so noteworthy, he managed to show the Cunanan’s character flaws while resisting an actor’s temptation to draw on emotive heartstrings on behalf of the despicable human being.
Vanity Fair reports only two Asian actors have ever won an Emmy-Archie Panjabi for her best supporting role in The Good Wife. She won in 2010. Riz Ahmed who played Nasir Naz Khan in HBO’s The Night Of won last year and is the only Asian male to win.
(Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Yang as Asian American. She was born in Canada)
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