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Six Latino artists break through in the acting categories with 2021 Emmy nominations

A woman with short, straight hair posing in a white dress
“Pose’s” Mj Rodriguez made history with her Emmy nomination Tuesday morning.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

The 2021 Emmy Award nominations were announced Tuesday, and across all acting categories, six Latino performers were recognized by the Television Academy: Anthony Ramos, Anya Taylor-Joy, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Mj Rodriguez, Rosie Perez and Alexis Bledel.

Ramos, Taylor-Joy and Rodriguez were first-time nominees, with Rodriguez making history as the first openly transgender actor to be nominated for a leading role for her work in “Pose.”.

Taylor-Joy, who is of Argentine descent, earned a nomination for lead actress in a limited or anthology series or movie for her performance as Beth Harmon in Netflix’s “The Queen’s Gambit.” Miranda’s title turn in the film version of “Hamilton” snagged him a nomination for lead actor in a limited or anthology series or movie.

‘Pose’ showrunner Steven Canals, director Janet Mock and star Indya Moore congratulated Mj Rodriguez on making history with her 2021 Emmy nomination.

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This is Miranda’s fifth Emmy nod overall, with one shared win for original music in 2014 under his belt. In the wake of the movie adaptation of his musical “In the Heights,” the Puerto Rican playwright, producer and actor apologized in response to claims of Afro-Latinx exclusion.

Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jon M. Chu’s ‘In the Heights’ has an impressive cast, but little Afro-Latinx or LGBTQ+ representation. Now Miranda has apologized.

On Tuesday, he took to Twitter to thank his fellow Emmy-nominated castmates — Ramos, Daveed Diggs, Phillipa Soo, Renée Elise Goldsberry and Leslie Odom Jr. — from the production that started it all.

Brooklyn-born Ramos, who is of Puerto Rican descent and played John Laurens and Philip Hamilton in “Hamilton,” earned a nomination for supporting actor in a limited or anthology series or movie.

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With three Emmys nominations to date, Perez, who is also of Puerto Rican descent and identifies as Afro-Latina, was nominated for supporting actress in a comedy series for HBO Max’s “The Flight Attendant.”

“Gilmore Girls” star Bledel, who is Argentine on her father’s side and Mexican on her mother’s side, was nominated for guest actress in a drama series for “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

Earning her first nomination for actress in a drama series, “Pose’s” Rodriguez was widely praised for her historic achievement.

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The landmark moment for the Afro-Latina actress comes two years after Jharrel Jerome made history as the first Afro-Latino and Dominican to win lead actor for his performance in “When They See Us.”

Miranda tweeted, “YES, @MjRodriguez7! The ancestors are cheering. First of many!” “Pose” co-creator Steven Canals tweeted, “Holy sh—!!! @MjRodriguez7 just made HISTORY as the first Trans actress to ever be nominated for Best Actress in a Drama Series.”

Following the 2020 Emmy nominations, an analysis found that Latino representation was still abysmal. John Leguizamo shared the analysis on Twitter, airing his discontent with the minimal Latinx representation, asking for “a piece of the pie” and sparking online uproar regarding Afro-Latinx erasure and anti-Blackness.

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After Tuesday’s Emmy nominations were announced, one Twitter user shared Leguizamo’s sentiment, writing, "@JohnLeguizamo is right. We need more representation.”

Prior to the 2021 nominations, there were no Latinx performers among the lead and supporting nominees for comedy or drama series in the last six years. For some, Rodriguez’s nomination signals that this could be a breakout year for Latinx performers across the spectrum.

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