Jenna Ortega and Pedro Pascal Make History with Emmy Nominations

Latinx representation in Hollywood remains low and more so when it comes to recognition from awards shows

Wednesday The Last of Us Creative Arts Emmys

Photo: Wednesday. Jenna Ortega as Wednesday Addams in episode 104 of Wednesday. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022// Photograph by Liane Hentscher/HBO

Latinx representation in Hollywood remains low and more so when it comes to recognition from awards shows. Latinxs were the “only group to be severely underrepresented” across broadcast, cable and streaming, according to a recent Hollywood Diversity report from UCLA. During the 2020-21 season, Latinxs received only 4.9 percent of the “top roles” on scripted cable shows, and 5.3 percent of the top roles on streaming and broadcast shows. With the Emmy nominations announcement this week, both Jenna Ortega and Pedro Pascal made history  with their nominations in the widely popular shows Wednesday and The Last of Us, respectively. Pascal is the Chilean American lead in the HBO series for which he received the lead actor in a drama series  nomination while Ortega, who is of Mexican and Puerto Rican descent, was nominated for lead actress in a comedy series for the Netflix show. Other Latinx talent to earn a nomination includes Aubrey Plaza, who is of Puerto Rican descent, nominated for outstanding supporting actress for The White Lotus and Argentine American actress Camila Morrone was nominated for best supporting actress in a limited series Daisy Jones and the Six.

Though few Latinx stars were recognized this year, both Pascal and Ortega made history with their nominations. Pascal is the first Latino to earn a nomination in that category since Jimmy Smits, whose mother was Puerto Rican, in 1999 for NYPD Blue. While Ortega is the first Latina nominated in her category since Honduran American actress America Ferrera earned her second nomination for Ugly Betty in 2008. Ferrera made history in 2007 when she became the first Latina to win the lead actress in a comedy series for her role as Betty Suarez in the series.

“What wonderful news to hear the Wednesday team has received twelve Emmy nominations. I’ve been so fortunate to witness first hand the incredible time/effort being put in by our cast, crew, writers, and directors, and feel so excited to be able to share this with them. @televisionacad , thank you for the honor, it’s a pleasure,” Ortega wrote in a caption on Instagram celebrating her nomination and that of the series.

Ortega is only the third Latina actress nominated in that category with Rita Moreno being the first in 1983 for the sitcom 9 to 5. Pascal was also nominated as an outstanding guest actor in a comedy series for his appearance on NBC’s Saturday Night Live, and outstanding narrator for CNN’s Patagonia: Life on the Edge of the World. But their historic nominations don’t end there, Ortega, 20, is also the  second-youngest nominee for best lead actress in a comedy and Pascal  has become the most-nominated Latino in a single year with three noms.

This level of recognition is so significant and though the nominations are making history, it’ll be that much more exciting to see them win.

The 75th Primetime Emmy Awards are scheduled to take place on Monday, September 18 at 8 pm ET/5 pm PT (date may change depending on the WGA strike). 

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