This year’s Emmy nominations were released on July 16 and although some of the names were expected, there were also a few pleasant surprises. Viola Davis, 49, was nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama for her role in How to Get Away with Murder, and Taraji P.  Henson, 44, was nominated in the same category for Empire.

What makes this duo part of Emmy history is the fact that for the first time ever, two African American women were nominated in the same category in the same year. Believe it or not, Kerry Washington was the first African American woman to be nominated in the category of lead actress in a drama since 1995. Unfortunately Washington didn’t win back in 2013—in fact, an African American woman has never won an Emmy for best lead actress in a drama. But 2015 could definitely be the year that changes that.

Both Viola Davis and Taraji P. Henson stand a good shot at winning, because they’ve both received plenty of praise for their respective roles, as have both of the shows. How to Get Away with Murder has already earned Davis a Screen Actors Guild Award (along with a slew of other nominations), and Empire has already scored Henson a BET Award and a Critics’ Choice Television Award. Surprisingly, neither series was nominated for best drama series.


The 67th annual Primetime Emmy Awards will air on September 20, 2015 on FOX.

Bucksbaum, S., “Taraji P. Henson and Viola Davis Just Made Emmy History and It’s. About. Time.,” E! News web site

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