While attending the Entertainment Weekly celebration honoring the Screen Actors Guild nominees at Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles on Friday, the Orange Is the New Black star spoke to PEOPLE about the progress occurring in Hollywood.
"I think it's a really wonderful time to be on television now, and I think what's happening, with the SAG Awards, for example, is that there's a number of actors of color who are nominated and queer actors and trans actors," Cox, 31, said. "Actually, between our show and Transparent, there's an unprecedented number of trans actors nominated for SAG awards this year. That's something to celebrate."
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She continued, "And the fact that certain awards shows have not gotten there means that we must celebrate those awards shows like the NAACP Image Awards and the GLAAD Awards. ... We must celebrate those awards shows that do celebrate diversity."
Then, Cox says, "those awards shows where they're not as diverse. They can do the work to work harder. I think it's important to understand that these things are systemic – when we talk about racism, institutional racism – that these things are systemic and the systems must change if we want to really effect cultural change."
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Cox is up for an outstanding performance by an ensemble in a comedy series award for her hit show Orange Is the New Black.
On Saturday, the actress took to Instagram to show off her red-carpet look for the night.
"Ready to head out to the SAG Awards," she wrote, along with a few shoutouts to her glam team.
She also posted another snapshot of herself in the car on the way to the award show. Showing off her blonde locks and berry-colored lips, she wrote how honored she is to be included in this year's group of nominees.
"In the car on the way to the SAG awards #redcarpet. Cannot wait to see all my amazing #OITNB cast mates. So honored to be nominated for outstanding ensemble in a comedy series with this amazing group of actors. #TransIsBeautiful," she captioned the selfie.
Check out PEOPLE's full 2016 SAG Awards coverage and complete winners list!
Reporting by SCOTT HUVER