Today officially kicks off voting for the nominations-round of the 71st Emmy Awards, and there are a ton of shows and actors in contention. The voting window closes on June 24, and about 25,000 voters are eligible to select what they believe make up the very best of TV right now.
With so many great shows and performances out there, it feels almost impossible to single out certain actors deserving of a gold statue, but we tried our hardest and were able to compile a list of actors of Nigerian descent who truly lit up the small screen in the past year.
From David Oyelowo’s scene-stealing performance in the Les Misérables miniseries to Carmen Ejogo’s towering work in the third season of True Detective, these are the eight actors of Nigerian descent who deserve to hear their names called out when the nominations are announced.
Carmen Ejogo for True Detective (Supporting Actress in a Limited Series)
The British-Nigerian thespian might have missed out on an Emmy nod for her mercurial lead performance in the sophomore season of The Girlfriend Experience, but we doubt voters will be foolish enough to ignore her layered work in the impressive third season of True Detective.
Yvonne Orji for Insecure (Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series)
Just like the first two seasons that came before it, season 3 of HBO’s acclaimed comedy, Insecure made one thing abundantly clear: Nigerian-American actress, Yvonne Orji is the show’s most versatile performer – juggling both the comedic and dramatic beats with considerable ease.
Damson Idris for Snowfall (Lead Actor in a Drama Series)
Even when the first season of FX’s Snowfall lagged due to pacing issues, Damson Idris’ performance remained faultless. So, it came as absolutely no surprise that the British-Nigerian rising star was able to up the ante for the show’s much-improved sophomore outing.
David Oyelowo for Les Misérables (Supporting Actor in a Limited Series)
It takes a truly gifted performer to make the audience feel genuine sympathy for a villain, and David Oyelowo’s fully-formed, Emmy-worthy iteration of Javert – one of literature’s most loathed antagonists – reaffirms just how gifted the British-Nigerian actor is.
Uzo Aduba for Orange Is The New Black (Supporting Actress in a Drama Series)
Orange Is The New Black has one of the strongest ensembles on TV, with Uzo Aduba proving to be a standout. In the show’s sixth season, the Emmy-winning actress gets even more to do, and she proves more than up to the task – delivering a thoroughly riveting performance.
Cush Jumbo for The Good Fight (Supporting Actor in a Drama Series)
British-Nigerian actress, Cush Jumbo has been a consistent bright spot on The Good Wife’s spin-off series, The Good Fight, and for the show’s ballsy, whip-smart third season, the magnetic star got to show off even more of her range, stealing every single scene she was in.
Jovan Adepo for When They See Us (Supporting Actor in a Limited Series)
While Jharrel Jerome is certainly the standout performer in Ava DuVernay’s powerful, thought-provoking limited series, the rest of the cast also got a chance to shine, and Jovan Adepo, in particular, completely knocked it out of the park when his moment came.
Gbenga Akinnagbe for The Deuce (Supporting Actor in a Drama Series)
The character development of pimp-turned-pornstar, Larry Brown was one of the most interesting things the sophomore season of HBO’s The Deuce managed to pull off, and that was thanks, in no small part, to Gbenga Akinnagbe’s tour-de-force performance.
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