A Historic 2022 Emmys Opens the Door for All Creatives


Maggie Turner , Features Editor

Just six months ago, a divisive joke at the Oscars led to a social media craze and prompted everyone to ask, “Did you see that Will Smith slapped Chris Rock?” While this fueled new celebrity drama feasted upon by the internet, it called forth new conversation: what is the future for televised award shows?

With a lull in awards season through the summer, excitement was drawn up again with the Television Academy Emmy Awards on September 12, 2022. Revered stars and exciting newcomers made for diverse nomination categories across multiple streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, while some cable networks snuck in as well.

Some of the biggest news of the night was for Gen Z’s most beloved leading lady: Zendaya. After her first win in 2020 for Lead Actress in a Drama as Rue in Euphoria, she won again this year, becoming the first black woman to win this award twice, at only 26 years old.

The night became a celebration of other black women’s work in the industry, where writer and actress Quinta Brunson won Best Writing in a Comedy Series for the witty and touching Abbott Elementary.

Her co-star, Sheryl Lee Ralph, also won Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy, and as she accepted her award, she was overcome by emotion and broke into song, singing “I am an endangered species, but I sing no victim’s song, I am a woman, I am an artist. And I know where my voice belongs.” Characterized as her breakthrough as the lead in the Broadway musical Dreamgirls, Ralph’s recognition was due for a moment like this.

Other memorable moments included singer Lizzo winning for her reality show Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrls, establishing her as halfway to EGOT status along with her Grammy awards. In a historic upset, Lee Jung-Jae, the leading man of the hit show Squid Game, took home Best Actor in a Drama, becoming the first actor in a non-English role to ever win.

The night ended with Jason Sudeikis-led Ted Lasso winning Best Comedy Series and my personal favorite show, Succession, winning Best Drama Series. Having won their previous eligible years, both shows cemented their place as classics of the past few years. While these shows proved their artistic dominance with four wins each this year, this year’s Emmys set a precedent for more diverse stories to be recognized, bolstering new and vibrant creatives to create even more impactful and meaningful work in the future.