Kerry Washington (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Kerry Washington became only the second black woman to receive a Primetime Emmy nomination in the category of lead actress in a drama series for her role as Olivia Pope in the hit television series Scandal.

According to Shadow and Act, the nomination is also the first for Washington herself, but the more important significance is how Washington's nomination gives the actress a chance to make history.

This marks Kerry Washington's first ever Emmy nomination, and the first time a black actress has been nominated in that category (Lead Actress In A Drama Series) since the 1994-95 season (the 47th annual Primetime Emmys) when Cicely Tyson was nominated for her work in the NBC legal drama series Sweet Justice. Interestingly, Sweet Justice would run for just one season. And Tyson didn't win. She lost to Kathy Baker for her work in Picket Fences.

Other notable African Americans who were nominated for the 65th annual Emmy Awards were Don Cheadle (lead actor in a comedy series) for his role as Marty Kahn in the Showtime series House of Lies, and Oprah Winfrey for her show Oprah's Master Class in the category of outstanding informational series or special. Winfrey's nomination is the first for her OWN Network, according to Shadow and Act. 


The Primetime Emmys will be held Sunday, Sept. 22, at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles and will air live on CBS.

Read more at Shadow and Act about Washington and Cheadle's nominations and Oprah's nomination.

Jozen Cummings is the author and creator of the popular relationship blog Until I Get Married, which is currently in development for a television series with Warner Bros. He also hosts a weekly podcast with WNYC about Empire called Empire Afterparty, is a contributor at and works at Twitter as an editorial curator. Follow him on Twitter.