TV’s Biggest Night, the Emmy Awards, proved to be a night of some surprise wins, some snubs, and a proposal! The show was hosted by Colin Jost and Michael Che of Saturday Night Live and produced by SNL head honcho, Lorne Micheals. With SNL cast members (alums and current) taking over for comedy, there were some good bits and some bits that lasted a little too long. Overall, the Emmy show went as planned, but the best speech went to Oscars director Glenn Weiss who proposed to his girlfriend after his win.
Jost and Che are best known for co-hosting SNL’s iconic Weekend Update. The hosts having been manning the desk for several years and their deadpan presentation makes them a hit with viewers. Although, their lackluster style doesn’t quite work to fill the room. They could win the award for least energetic hosts. Some jokes landed, some didn’t. The majority of the jokes were focused on diversity, race, and Michael Che’s mother’s request for more winners to thank Jesus in speeches. Their ongoing shtick with Maya Rudolph and Fred Armisen was a little too forced.
The top of the show was actually opened by SNL fan favorites Kate McKinnon and Kennan Thompson with a song about celebrating the “solve” to Hollywood’s diversity problem. A dance number is always a smart way to open the show, but this performance, which later included Titus Burgess, Kristen Bell, and a cameo from Ru Paul, felt more like an SNL spoof of the Emmy’s than the opening of the show itself. The best SNL cast member Emmy’s host was Jimmy Fallon who opened the Emmys in 2010 with a memorable and star-studded performance of “Born to Run.”
Not surprisingly, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel from Amazon was the top awards collector. Rachel Brosnahan, Amy Sherman-Palladino, and the series took home gold at the Golden Globes last winter just after the show’s release. The buzz never stopped and the series went home with 8 wins total. Brosnahan went home with the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series win. Sherman-Palladino won for both writing and direction of the pilot episode. An additional win went to Alex Borstein for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. Borstein has been a staple in TV comedy for decades with an additional win this year for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance for Lois Griffin on Family Guy.
Other comedy award highlights go to Henry Winkler winning his long-anticipated Emmy for HBO’s Barry. He claims he wrote his speech 43 years earlier. The TV icon was celebrated by the audience with a standing ovation. Winkler’s Barry co-star, Bill Hader, won for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy.
The drama categories also didn’t surprise much. Game of Thrones was not included in many of the categories, but Peter Dinklage took home another Emmy for the series. GoT won Outstanding Drama Series, so the year and a half long wait didn’t seem to stop the awards train for the fan favorite. With the show not returning until “sometime” in 2019, it is possible the show will qualify for next year’s Emmys, but that remains to be seen. The current rumor has the show returning in April, which would leave it eligible for next season’s Emmys.
The limited series category has largely been dominated by dramatic stories. This year the top prize went to projected winner, American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace. The series also saw a win for series creator and director, Ryan Murphy, and a first-Emmy win for star, Darren Criss. The original run of Crime Story focused on the O.J. Simpson trial to rave reviews. The third season is reportedly about hurricane Katrina. Jeff Bridges and Merritt Wever took home the gold for Godless in the supporting categories.
Snubs and Losses
The biggest surprises came from who didn’t win. With Game of Thrones off the air last year, Hulu’s Handmaid’s Tale took home the majority of awards, but this year did not win any category at the primetime show. Only a few Creative Arts Emmy wins last week, including a win for Guest Actor for Samira Wiley. This season of Handmaid’s Tale was not as buzzed about or as culture shifting as the first season seemed to be. With main and supporting cast and series nominated, the show could have won two years in a row, but GoT proved too big a juggernaut for Emmy voters to ignore.
In reality, Ru Paul’s Drag Race took the top prize over consistent winner, Top Chef. The other single representative for a series was Thandie Newton for Westworld. The western’s sophomore run proved not to be part of the larger Emmy conversation this year.