Black big screen stars shine with Emmy noms

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The 2011 Primetime Emmy Award nominations are in, and many of television’s most popular actors and actresses have a reason to celebrate.

Four celebrated African-American performers are nominated this year among their TV contemporaries for notable work on the small screen.

Andre Braugher received a nomination for outstanding supporting actor in a drama for his portrayal of Owen Thoreau Jr. on TNT’s Men of a Certain Age. Braugher has won two Emmys in the past for FX’s Thief in 2006,” and one for NBC’s Homicide: Life on the Street in 1998.

Idris Elba is nominated for outstanding actor in a mini-series or movie for his lead role as John Luther in BBC America’s psychological crime drama series, Luther. Elba portrays an embattled detective in his role.

Laurence Fishburne is nominated in the same category as Elba for outstanding leading actor in a mini-series or movie for his role in HBO’s Thurgood. In the film Fishburne captures the life of the civil rights pioneer and Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall.

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Taraji P. Henson received a nomination for outstanding leading actress in a mini-series or movie for her portrayal of Tiffany Rubin in Lifetime’s Taken From Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story. In the movie Henson plays a Queens, New York mother trying to rescue her seven-year-old son after he was abducted by his biological father.

According to a 2010 Variety report, since 1986 non-white actors have received 53 of the nearly 1,000 Emmy Award nominations in the top four acting categories for comedy and drama. Only eight have ever won.

Last year Southland star Regina King expressed her outrage for lack of diverse Emmy nominees in op-ed entitled The Emmys: As White As Ever.

This year four African-Americans actors were nominated for Emmy Awards. Last year only one black actor, Andre Braugher scored a nomination.

The 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards will be broadcast live Sunday, September 18, 2011 on Fox.