The Late Ray Liotta Received A Well-Deserved Emmy Nomination For Black Bird


It's been just over a year since Ray Liotta tragically passed away at the age of 67, but as his final performances make their way to screens big and small, there's no shortage of reminders that Ray Liotta was one of the very best to ever do it. Not only did he make us all laugh with his larger-than-life performance in Elizabeth Banks' "Cocaine Bear," but he delivered one of his career-best performances as Big Jim Keene in the Apple TV+ limited series, "Black Bird." The performance was so good, it was announced today by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences that Liotta has posthumously earned a Primetime Emmy nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a Limited or Anthology Series.

The role sees Liotta as a former police officer and the father of Jimmy Keene (Taron Egerton), a former football star who lands a decade-long prison sentence for dealing drugs and firearms possession. However, Keene is given the opportunity of a lifetime when the FBI offers him a deal to go to a maximum security prison instead of minimum, with the sole intention of befriending Larry Hall (Paul Walter Hauser), a suspected serial killer. The idea is that their friendship could inspire Hall to confess to the location of missing bodies and determine whether or not Hall is actually a killer, or just someone with a penchant for confessing. Liotta urges his son to take the deal, even though it means throwing him into a prison filled with far more dangerous criminals.

A well-deserved honor

Ray Liotta was an actor who was never restricted by genre, but his "Goodfellas" reputation led to a healthy career of playing heavies. But despite the tough exterior, there was always a warmth and palpable passion to be found in all of his performances. "He just brought this level of focus and tenderness and vulnerability to the part that was just gorgeous," co-star Taron Egerton told Entertainment Weekly. He also noted that Liotta's scenes in the limited series "are kind of the heart of the show, really." Indeed, it would seem that the Television Academy would agree.

"It's a very dysfunctional relationship, but it is one that's full of love and Ray really brought that," said Egerton. "I absolutely adored working with him. It was one of the more special experiences of my career." Liotta's daughter Karsen Liotta thanked the Television Academy for the accolade in a statement to People Magazine, saying, "I am so grateful to the members of the Television Academy for honoring my Dad with this nomination. He was so incredibly proud of his performance in 'Black Bird,' and it would mean the world to him to be nominated alongside Taron and Paul."

Liotta's nomination means that he now joins a handful of other actors who have received posthumous nominations, including (but certainly not limited to) Chadwick Boseman ("What If...?"), Norm MacDonald ("Nothing Special"), and Jessica Walters ("Archer") in 2022. The honor is well-deserved albeit heartbreaking, because it's a sign that we have truly come to the end of the road with Liotta's career. Luckily, we'll always have his wonderful work to remember him by.