Emmys 2021: Mj Rodriguez, Rosie Perez and More Historic Nominees

Emmys 2021: Mj Rodriguez, Rosie Perez and More Historic Nominees

When the 73rd Emmy Awards nominations were announced, several actors made historical strives and surprises.


Mj Rodriguez’s nomination for her role as Blanca Rodriguez-Evangelista in Pose is the first time a trans woman has been nominated in the lead actress category.

Rosie Perez is now only the third Latina actress to receive a nomination in the supporting comedy actress category for her role in HBO Max’s The Flight Attendant.

Among other history-making nods, Bowen Yang became the first Chinese-American to be nominated for the supporting actor category;

Kristen Anderson Lopez is closer to achieving EGOT status;

Disney+ special Hamilton has overtaken the current record for the number of acting nominations from program nominated in the limited series/TV movie categories.

Jason Sudeikis in Ted Lasso

A few surprises were also with some of the nominations including Courteney Cox achieving an Emmy nom for the HBO Max Friends: The Reunion special after never receiving a nom during its’ original decade-long run;

Stacey Abrams returned to the awards race for a voiceover role,

Phylicia Rashad received a nom that arrived amid her controversial comments about Bill Cosby’s prison release.

The 73rd Emmys will be broadcast Sunday, Sept. 19, in a live telecast starting at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. It will air on CBS and will be available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+. Cedric the Entertainer will host.

Notable Historical Nominations:

Mj Rodriguez

Mj Rodriguez’s nomination for her role as Blanca Rodriguez-Evangelista in the FX drama Pose is the first time a trans woman has ever been nominated in the leading actress category. The nomination also marks the third time a trans actress has been nominated in an acting category overall, after Laverne Cox in 2014 for guest drama actress for Orange Is the New Black and Rain Valdez in 2020 for short-form comedy or drama actress for Razor Tongue.

Should Rodriguez win in her individual category, she would be the first transgender person to take home an acting Emmy. Rodriguez, who is also only the second Latina to be nominated for the leading actress in a drama category following Rita Moreno’s nomination in 1975, is joined by her Pose co-star Billy Porter as part of a small group of historic firsts for Black leading actors. Both are among those marking the first time Black leading actors from the same show have been nominated in the same year.

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Rosie Perez

Nominated for her role as Megan Briscoe in HBO Max’s The Flight Attendant, Rosie Perez has become only the third Latina actress to receive a nomination in the supporting comedy actress category. Previously, Liz Torres was nominated in both 1994 and 1995 for The John Larroquette Show while Sofia Vergara was nominated three years in a row between 2010 and 2013 for Modern Family.

Courteney Cox
Though Courteney Cox starred on the hit sitcom Friends for 10 seasons, Cox received her first nomination for the series for her work as an executive producer of the HBO Max special Friends: The Reunion. The special received nom for best variety special (pre-recorded. Cox was the only cast member to have never received a nomination for her work on the series. During the NBC sitcom’s run, Jennifer Anniston received five nominations and Kudrow received six noms. Meanwhile, Matt LeBlanc was nominated three times in the lead comedy actor category; Matthew Perry secured a lead comedy actor nomination in 2002; and David Schwimmer received a supporting comedy actor nom in 1995. In total, the series received 62 Emmy nominations throughout its decade-long run.

Lovecraft Country

HBO Lovecraft Country stars Jonathan Majors and Jurnee Smollett have both been nominated for best leading actor and actress, respectively, in a drama series. Their nominations mark a historical moment as this year’s Emmys as among the first time that a Black lead actor and a Black lead actress from the same drama series have been nominated in the same year.

The Walt Disney Company

Earning 146 nominations combined across ABC, Disney+, Freeform, FX Networks, Hulu and National Geographic, The Walt Disney Company has topped its previous Emmy record of 145 in 2020. Disney+ nearly quadrupled its year-over-year nominations, going from 19 in its debut outing to 71 for 2021.

Sterling K. Brown and Billy Porter
Both This is Us star Sterling K. Brown and Pose star Billy Porter received noms in the lead drama actor category. Porter previously won the Emmy in 2019, with Brown also securing the drama actor win in 2017. Should either of them win in the category, they would be recognized as the second Black actors to do so after Bill Cosby won in 1968 for the series, I Spy.
Stacey Abrams 
Stacey Abrams joins the myriad of television stars nominated in this year’s Emmys race after receiving a nom for outstanding character voice-over performance for playing herself in the animated Black-ish: Election Special (Part 2). In the special episode, Abrams counsels Dre (voiced by Anthony Anderson) about running for Congress. The nomination is not the first time Abrams has joined the awards race. Her Amazon Prime Video documentary, All In: The Fight for Democracy, which she produced, was predicted to be an Oscars contender and among the high-profile omissions from the 2021 Oscar nominations.

The popular Broadway show has made history with its release on Disney+ becoming the second most nominated title in the limited or anthology series or movie category. In 2021, Hamilton scored a total of seven nominations, including Lin-Manuel Miranda and Leslie Odom, Jr. for lead actor; Daveed Diggs, Jonathan Groff and Anthony Ramos for supporting actor; and Renée Elise Goldsberry and Phillipa Soo for supporting actress. Groff, Goldsberry, Ramos and Soo are also among this year’s first-time performer nominees. If Goldsberry, specifically, wins, she will also now be just a Tony award away from an EGOT.

Hamilton is now second only to Ava DuVernay’s When They See Us, which scored a total of eight acting nominations in 2019 under the categories’ more recent naming conventions, and third overall to the original Roots. The 1977 series is the record holder for the highest number of performers from the same miniseries or limited series in a season with 13 acting nominations total, earning this title when the categories had different names.

RuPaul and RuPaul’s Drag Race
RuPaul has earned two nominations for RuPaul’s Drag Race in the competition program and host for a reality program or competition categories. If he wins both, he will tie Donald A. Morgan as the Emmy’s most awarded Black performer.

Phylicia Rashad

Phylicia Rashad received a nomination for her role as Carol “Mama C” Clarke on NBC’s This is Us. The nomination —  which marks her third consecutive nom for the role — is surprising given it arrived amid Rashad’s controversial comments surrounding Bill Cosby’s prison release. Rashad, who secured her first two noms in 1985 and 1986 for her lead role on The Cosby Show, recently received backlash after seeming to celebrate Cosby’s shocking release from prison. Rashad has also defended Cosby in the past, labeling some of the claims against him as “orchestrated” and a “destruction of a legacy.” Following the widespread backlash to her statement, Rashad issued a new statement in which she reiterated that she fully supported sexual assault survivors coming forward.

Bowen Yang

Yang, with one previous nomination for outstanding writing for a variety series under his belt, made history on several fronts. Not only is he the first featured player on Saturday Night Live to be nominated for an Emmy, but has become the first Chinese-American man nominated for the supporting actor category.

Ted Lasso

While the Apple TV+ comedy didn’t beat out 30 Rocks’ record for the single highest number of nominations in a single year for a comedy, it did set another record. With its 20 nominations, Ted Lasso has become the most nominated freshman comedy in Emmy history, overtaking Glee’s previous record of 19.

Kristen Anderson Lopez and Robert Lopez

After songwriting duo Kristen Anderson Lopez and Robert Lopez received two nominations for WandaVision‘s main title theme music and the song “Agatha All Along,” Anderson Lopez is closer to achieving EGOT status. Should she win for the Disney/Marvel series, Anderson Lopez will be one Tony away from joining husband Robert with EGOT status. Robert Anderson previously won Daytime Emmys for Wonder Pets and Tony awards for Avenue Q and The Book of Mormon. The songwriting duo also won Academy Awards for the songs “Let It Go” from Disney’s Frozen and “Remember Me” from Pixar’s Coco.

A previous version of this story misidentified the most nominated show in the limited or anthology series or movie as Hamilton. It is actually the 1977 limited series Roots for a total of 13 nominations under different category names, followed by When They See Us, which received eight nominations across acting categories in 2019.