Cary Fukunaga took home his very first Emmy for his work on True Detective last night and possibly became the first Asian American to win an Emmy for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series, or for any kind of directing at all for that matter.
“This is awesome, and I’m at a loss for words,” Fukunaga said as he took the stage to accept his award. He admitted earlier on the red carpet that he didn’t have a speech prepared.
Regardless, his win was memorable since it spoiled Breaking Bad’s sweep and was True Detective’s only win for the night. It was even more memorable with the announcer’s fun fact about Fukunaga’s first job being a camera PA for Destiny’s Child’s “Survivor” music video.
However, it wasn’t Fukunaga’s new gold statue that made him an overnight Internet sensation—no, it was his good looks and man-braids. Twitter exploded with love declarations over the half Swedish and half Japanese director, making Fukunaga an instant Emmys crush. Though Fukunaga may have been hidden from the world behind the camera this entire time, all eyes are now on him.
True Blood was Fukunaga’s first venture into television as all his past works were features including the award-winning Sin Nombre and Jane Eyre. Although he directed all eight episodes of True Detective‘s first season and won an Emmy for his cinematic directing, Fukunaga will not be returning to direct season two. Instead, he will be returning to film as the director of Beasts of No Nation and the remake of It.
While it is yet to be confirmed whether or not Cary Fukunaga is the first Asian American to win an Emmy for best directing on a drama series or for directing anything at all, his win is a milestone for Asian American representation in entertainment. After all, the Emmys are notorious for having a lack of diversity.
It’s true that actors like Lucy Liu and John Cho have significant presence in the television world, but their characters don’t scream “Emmy nomination.” And there is even less representation of Asian American directors since they are rarely given the opportunity to direct a well-written television show.
The fact that Cary Fukunaga was even nominated as the best director for one of the most best shows of 2014 is nothing short of incredible. Perhaps Fukunaga’s win and his new social media attention will strengthen Asian American presence in film and television.
To see the full list of Primetime Emmy winners and nominees, click here.
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