Emmy nomination announcements are upon us and on July 12, The Handmaid's Tale star Samira Wiley and New Amsterdam's Ryan Eggold will reveal the Emmys Class of 2018. Several powerhouse contenders are out of the race this year, leaving a few crucial slots open in most categories for new talent to rise up. On FX Ryan Murphy's Pose, currently in its inaugural season, is one of the buzziest shows of the summer, but fans may be wondering if Pose is eligible for the Emmys this year. Unfortunately for fans of Pose, it looks like it's American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace's year.
Murphy boasts a dizzying rotation of programming on FX with four shows in the works at once: American Horror Story, American Crime Story, Feud, and Pose. The first three operate in an anthologized limited series format, while Pose, despite only spanning eight episodes in its first season, is a full-fledged drama series with a recurring cast and continuous storyline. Because Murphy obviously can't produce all four shows at once, they rotate on FX, and Pose didn't premiere until just after the Emmys eligibility cut-off date on May 31. The Television Academy uses the cut-off to ensure its members have time to consider the contenders and cast their votes before the July 12 nomination announcement. Pose, which premiered on June 3 just in time for pride month, won't be eligible until next year.
The dance musical drama is set in 1980s New York and focuses on the golden era of drag ballroom culture. Heavily inspired by the 1990 documentary Paris Is Burning, Murphy crashed through barriers by casting five trans women of color as series regulars on a TV show. He also stacked the supporting cast, the writers room, production, and crew with trans creators, earning praise for essentially throwing his considerable power and money behind a project and then letting trans people take the lead on shaping their own narratives. Murphy told IndieWire back in May, "It’s very emotional. It reminds me of when I did Glee. It’s very different from Glee, but it’s that feeling of you’re watching underdogs win and you’re invested in their much more quiet triumphs." He continued, "The main thing for me is we cast five trans women as the leads. Many of who had no experience."
Murphy went on to praise these trans women for their hard work and for all that they bring to the table:
I think when you see those people have one of their first times at the table getting to be a part of that, I’m very moved by them and I think people will be very moved by them. They persevered and survived against all odds and I think that’s an amazing thing. It’s a very young cast; it’s a new cast so I’m excited about people seeing it. It’s an extraordinary thing to put out into the world at this point and time.
His commitment to equity paid off: Pose has been warmly welcomed by the queer community, a stamp of approval Murphy doesn't always get, despite making a lot of queer content. Earlier this month, Janet Mock, a writer and producer on Pose, made history as the first trans woman of color ever to write and direct an episode of primetime television. That means she could earn an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series next year — the first trans woman to do so.
Ultimately, even though Pose isn't eligible for any awards this year, it is in great shape to be well-represented at the Emmys next year. And given how green much of the talent working on Pose is, representation at the Emmys has the potential to launch them into the stratosphere. We'll just have to sit tight for another year until they get there.