You never forget your first. For a lucky handful of TV personalities, that time is now. Get to know the names behind the nominations with Emmy First-Timers Club, E! News' weeklong celebration of newcomers with nods in some of the biggest categories!
In just a few short years, Jovan Adepo has racked up a seriously impressive resume.
Since making his debut in the second season of HBO's thought-provoking adaptation of The Leftovers in the fall of 2015, he's bounced between screens big and small with appearances in projects like Fences, mother!, Sorry for Your Loss and When They See Us. It's his latest, though, that's finally earned him some Emmy love.
After reuniting with Leftovers creator Damon Lindelof on the writer's remarkable remix of Watchmen for HBO in 2019, Adepo's found himself nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie at the 2020 Primetime Emmy Awards. And the nod comes for work in just one episode as viewers learned how a young Will Reeves (played by in the present day by Louis Gossett Jr.) became Hooded Justice, the first masked hero.
Thanks to an embarrassment of riches both in front of the camera and behind it, Watchmen earned a staggering 26 nominations—the most of any show—at this year's ceremony. As such, Adepo faces stiff competition on TV's biggest night from a pair of his own co-stars: Gossett Jr. himself and Yahya Abdul Mateen II.
While we wait to see the results of Adepo's very competitive category, which will be revealed when the virtual ceremony gets underway on Sunday, Sept. 20, get to know the rising star a bit better with his responses to our Emmy First-Timers Club questionnaire!
Whose performances inspired you to become an actor?
Denzel Washington, Joaquin Phoenix, Daniel Day-Lewis, Philip Seymour Hoffman. These were the actors I watched early on in childhood. I didn't understand the concept of acting at such a young age, but I knew that the characters they played felt real and evoked feelings in me when I watched the films. It was very intriguing.
What was the last non-acting job you held?
I was a server/helper at a senior assisted living home in Beverly Hills in 2015.
What TV show, other than your own, have you never missed an episode of?
I have been a huge fan of the Luther series. When it first premiered, I was immediately drawn to the tone Idris Elba was establishing. I really enjoyed Ruth Wilson's performances as well. Incredibly nuanced, nurtured performances.
The TV show based on my life would be called:
Hey, I Knew Your Father.
When was the first time, if ever, you remember seeing yourself represented on TV?
The earliest program I remembered leaving the strongest impression on my awareness of Black families was My Brother and Me on Nickelodeon. Of course, we had Family Matters or the Cosbys, but this show made me and my older brother feel like they made it for us.
What do you want to see more of on TV?
I would like to see more unconventional storytelling. I get really excited about unusual perspectives and nonlinear forms in all genres, but comedies are my favorite pastime.
What was the first thought that passed through your mind when you learned you were nominated?
"Well, s--t...I'd better call my parents."
How did you celebrate your nomination?
I shared a drink with my cast mate, Regina [King]. The following night I sat on the beach, said a few prayers and drank a bottle of champagne.
Where will you put your Emmy if you win?
Ideally someplace like my bookshelf. Or I could just go full on and attach it to my key lanyard or a giant Cuban link. Yeah...that'd be sick. LOL
To see if Adepo's going to need some bigger pockets for his key chain, be sure to tune in to the 2020 Primetime Emmys when they air live Sunday, Sept. 20 on ABC.
For more from the Emmy First-Timers Club, check out answers from Nicole Byer, Rain Valdez, Mamoudou Athie and Jasmine Cephas Jones—and be sure to check back with E! News every day through Emmy Sunday!