Aparna Nancherla, Kumail Nanjiani, Hannah Simone">Emmys 2018 South Asian Nominations
Aparna Nancherla, Kumail Nanjiani, Hannah Simone

We’re almost two months away from this year’s biggest television award ceremony. The 70th annual Primetime Emmy Awards will take place on September 17, 2018. The Emmy’s celebrate television’s finest, from the performers to the directors to everyone who works behind the screens to bring us our favorite programs.

Academy members vote for what they think was the best work in their field for shows that aired between June 1, 2017-May 31, 2018.

The official nominations ballot for this year’s Emmy awards went up on June 11. Voters have about two weeks to submit their nominees, which will then be announced on July 12. This year, a whopping 22,000 members will get to vote in their category (performers nominate performers, writers nominate writers, you get the gist).

We looked through the long ballot to see which South Asian artists are up for a possible nomination.

Outstanding Actress in a Comedy:

1. Mindy Kaling for “The Mindy Project”

The actress is on the ballot for her performance in the final season of “The Mindy Project,” the FOX/Hulu comedy she created, wrote and, starred in for six seasons. It wrapped up its run in November 2017. Kaling played pop-culture obsessed OB-GYN Mindy Lahiri, who in the end, found her way back to long-lost love and baby daddy Danny Castellano.

2. Tiya Sircar for “Alex. Inc”

Sircar played lawyer Rooni on ABC’s unfortunately short-lived family comedy. The sitcom was canceled after only one season. Despite this, Sircar was a clear stand-out on the show, in which she starred alongside Zach Braff as one half of a happily married, interracial couple.

Outstanding Actress in a Drama:

1. Priyanka Chopra for “Quantico”

For her role as the fierce Alex Parrish on this ABC drama, Chopra is also on the ballot for a possible nomination for the third and final season of “Quantico.” She’s previously won the People’s Choice Award for her performance, making her the first Bollywood actress to win the award.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy:

1. Asif Ali for “Wrecked”

Ali plays sports agent Pack on this TBS comedy, which is about a group of survivors stranded on an island after a plane crash. It is, indeed, almost like a creative parody of “Lost.” Ali is on the ballot for the second season for “Wrecked,” which has been renewed for season 3.

2. Utkarsh Ambudkar for “Brockmire”

Ambudkar joined the second season of this acclaimed IFC comedy starring Hank Azaria and Amanda Peet. He plays Raj, a charismatic sports announcer who is pitted against Azaria’s Jim Brockmire. His other credits include “White Famous,” “The Mindy Project,” and upcoming film “Blindspotting.”

3. Kumail Nanjiani for “Silicon Valley”

Nanjiani has played an integral part in this HBO comedy since the start. He’s always delivered as the ready to please, comical coder Dinesh Chugtai. After achieving acclaim for his film “The Big Sick,” Nanjiani is in the spotlight and may very well secure his first Emmy nomination. He was also nominated in this category for “Silicon Valley” for 2017’s Critics Choice Awards.

4. Kunal Nayyar for “The Big Bang Theory”

Nayyar has played resident Indian-American Rajesh Koothrapalli for 11 years on this CBS comedy, which continues to be one of the highest-watched sitcoms on television. He has been nominated along with the rest of the cast for the best TV comedy award at the Emmy’s for multiple years. He’s on the ballot for a possible nomination this year for “The Big Bang Theory” season 11.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama:

  1. Arjun Gupta for “The Magicians”

Syfy’s whimsical drama “The Magicians” is a diverse, underrated and fantastic escape. Gupta is up on the ballot for his performance as Penny Adiyodi. In season 4, especially, Penny goes through emotional turmoil and Gupta delivered on the task of bringing forth real character growth.

2. Shazad Latif for “Star Trek: Discovery”

On this well-received CBS All Access drama, Latif plays Ash Tyler. He is now part of the mammoth “Star Trek” franchise. He plays a crucial role in the first season and is part of one of the largest plot twists.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy:

1. Jameela Jamil for “The Good Place”

Jamil surprised everyone with her nuanced portrayal of Tahani Al-Jamil on this excellent NBC comedy, making it hard to believe this is her first acting role. In season 2, for which she’s on the ballot, Jamil continued to deliver in the role while going deeper into Tahani’s emotional psyche.

2. Mindy Kaling for “Champions”

Kaling is on the ballot twice, y’all. This time, it is for the NBC comedy she’s produced and recurs in as Priya Patel. Priya drops her teenage son Michael with his estranged father in New York City so he can explore his dreams of becoming an actor. Priya pops in from time to time on the show to give her own style of maternal advice.

3. Mouzam Makkar for “Champions”

Makkar is also up for her role in Kaling’s comedy “Champions,” in which she is a total scene-stealer. She plays Britney, an on-again, off-again girlfriend to Anders Holms’ Vince. Makkar will also be seen in upcoming ABC drama,The Fix.”

4. Aparna Nancherla for “Corporate”

Stand-up comedian Nancherla has had a great year, which began with her role as Grace on this Comedy Central show, which was a sleeper hit. Nancherla also led her own special episode as part of Netflix’s “The Standups” and will go on tour later this year.

5. Hannah Simone for “New Girl”

For her final season as Cece Parikh on the FOX comedy, Simone is on the ballot for a nomination. “New Girl” ended in May and gave us one of the few really good portrayals of an interracial relationship and an Indian-American character we could relate to and root for. Simone excelled in her work on the show, evolving with her character as the years went on.

6. Tiya Sircar for “The Good Place”

Sircar, much like Kaling, appears on the nominations ballot twice. This one is for her hilarious portrayal of Vicki on “The Good Place.” Vicki is a demon of sorts pretending to be a good person so she can torture humans after their death. If it sounds complicated, that’s because it is. Luckily, “The Good Place” and Sircar have enough power to pull it off.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama:

1. Summer Bishil for “The Magicians”

Bishil is the clear stand out on “The Magicians,” acing every dialogue delivery with equal parts sass and emotion. She plays Margo, a student of magic at Brakebills University, who goes on to become the reigning queen of another realm known as Fillory. Bishil brought her best foot forward for season 4, for which she’s on the ballot.

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy:

1. Aasif Mandvi for “A Series of Unfortunate Events”

Mandvi plays Uncle Monty on this Netflix original comedy starring Neil Patrick Harris. He is submitted for the season 2 episode “Carnivorous Carnival: Part 1.”

2. Aasif Mandvi for “Younger”

Mandvi plays Jay Malick on TV Land‘s comedy starring Sutton Foster and Hilary Duff. He is submitted for the season 4 episode “A Close Shave.’

3. Ajay Mehta for “The Good Place” 

Mehta plays Waqas Al-Jamil on the NBC comedy starring Kristen Bell, Ted Danson, Jameela Jamil. He is submitted for the season 2 episode “The Burrito.”

4. Ajay Mehta for “Life in Pieces”

Mehta plays Dr. Patel on the CBS comedy starring Colin Hanks, Zoe Lister-Jones, Thomas Sadoski. He is submitted for the season 3 episode “Testosterone Martyr Baked Knife.”

5. Kumail Nanjiani for “Portlandia”

Nanjiani has played various characters on this sketch comedy series, starring Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, over the last seven years. He is submitted for playing Disaster Hut Employee in the season 8 episode “You Do You.”

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama:

1. Behzad Dabu for “The Chi”

Dabu plays Amir on this Showtime drama starring Jason Mitchell and Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine. He is submitted for the season 1 episode “Penetrate A Fraud.”

2. Naren Weiss for “The Brave”

Weiss plays Omar Gallull on this now-canceled NBC drama starring Anna Heche and Mike Vogel. He is submitted for the season 1 episode “It’s All Personal.”

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama:

1. Linnea Berthelson for “Stranger Things”

Berthelsen plays Kali in this Netflix drama starring Millie Bobby Brown and Winona Ryder. She is submitted for the season 2 episode “Chapter 7: The Lost Sister.”

Outstanding Direction in a Comedy:

1. Geeta Patel for “Champions”

Patel has directed two episodes for “Champions,” starring Anders Holm, J.J. Totah, Mouzam Makkar. She is submitted for the season 1 episode “Vincemas.” Her credits include directing episodes for “The Mindy Project,” “Superstore,” and “Fresh off the Boat.”

2. Kabir Akhtar for “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”

Akhtar has directed three episodes for “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” starring Rachel Bloom and Donna Lynn Champlin. He is submitted for the season 3 episode “To Josh, With Love.” His other credits include directing the opening segment of the 63rd annual Emmy Awards.

3. Nisha Ganatra for “The Last Man on Earth”

Ganatra has directed two episodes for FOX’s now-canceled comedy “Last Man on Earth,” starring Will Forte and Kristen Schaal. She is submitted for the season 4 episode “Cancun, Baby!” Her credits include directing episodes for “Brooklyn 99,” “Better Things,” “Transparent.”

4. Jaffar Mahmood for “Young Sheldon”

Mahmood has directed five episodes of the CBS breakout comedy “Young Sheldon,” starring Iain Armitage and Zoe Perry. He is submitted for the season 1 episode “A Mother, A Child, And A Blue Man’s Backside.” His credits include directing episodes for “The Middle,” “Santa Clarita Diet,” and “Brooklyn 99.”

Outstanding Direction in a Drama:

1. Asif Kapadia for “Episode 4” from “Mindhunter”

Kapadia has directed two episodes of Netflix serial killer drama “Mindhunter,” starring Jonathon Groff and Anna Torv. He is submitted for “Episode 4” from season 1. His other credits include directing documentaries like “Senna” and “My World.”


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