Jul 12, 2023

Jenna Ortega & Pedro Pascal Make Emmy History As First Latino Actors To Nab Nominations In Main Acting Categories

Latino actors can celebrate a first as Jenna Ortega and Pedro Pascal both snag nominations in the main acting categories for the Emmy Awards.

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Jenna Ortega is nominated for lead actress in a comedy for her portrayal of Wednesday Addams in the Netflix hit series Wednesday. Jenna Ortega is the third Latina to ever be nominated in a leading actress category following Rita Moreno in 1983 for ABC’s 9 to 5 and America Ferrera for Ugly Betty in 2007. Director Tim Burton’s Wednesday was nominated for 12 awards including Outstanding Comedy Series where the show will face off with Abbott ElementaryBarryJury DutyOnly Murders In The BuildingTed LassoThe Bear and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

Pedro Pascal is the first Latino nominated for best lead actor since 1999 when Jimmy Smits earned a nod for his portrayal of Bobby Simone on ABC’s NYPD Blue. Pedro Pascal stars as smuggler Joel Miller in HBO’s The Last of Us, based on the hit video game from Naughty Dog of the same name.

Although Jenna Ortega and Pedro Pascal are making strides for Latino actors, the community remains severely underrepresented in Hollywood even as a recent SAMBA report revealed content featuring diverse casts is in demand. One of the report’s key takeaways after examining viewing patterns for households of different ethnicities is that audiences are much more likely to engage with content where they see themselves represented. More specifically, the study found a positive correlation of 43% among households of diverse ethnicities watching programs with higher percentages of non-white stars. Samba reports that Black households saw the strongest correlation, with 67% watching programs with a higher percentage of Black leads. For Asian and Hispanic households, this correlation was lower, which Samba conjectures may be impacted by a more “sporadic” representation of these groups on screen.

Notable abscenes from this year’s hispanic nominations include Selena Gomez, and Oscar Isaac. Last year, The TV Academy also came up short in recognizing Latino and Hispanic performers, with Oscar Isaac (Lead Actor Limited/Anthology Series, Scenes of a Marriage) and Colman Domingo (Guest Actor Drama, Euphoria) being the only two nominees.