The 70th Annual Emmy Awards took place at the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles on Monday night and suffice to say, it was an eventful night.
Hosted by Saturday Night Live’s Colin Jost and Michael Che, the Emmy’s had the biggest names in TV (and movies) in attendance. Not surprisingly, Game Of Thrones led the winning pack with 9 wins, including Outstanding Drama Series, followed by RuPaul’s Drag Race winning 5 and The Marvellous Mrs. Maisel, scooping up 4 of the 6 awards in their category. There were snubs, unexpected wins, proposals, mediocre hosts and many more. Here’s a rundown of everything that went down at this year’s Primetime Emmy Awards:
An Actual Proposal
I could say that I just completely made this up, but this actually happened. When the time came for Glenn Weiss to accept his Outstanding Directing for a Variety Special Emmy for directing the Oscars, he used his acceptance speech time to propose to his girlfriend, now fiancé, Jan Svenden, which led he crowd to erupt in sheer shock and delight. Leslie Jones was shocked beyond words, Benedict Cumberbatch was seen clapping happily, Claire Foy and Betty Gilpin tore up a little and Sterling K Brown was downright shook.
Weiss, addressing his girlfriend in the audience said, “Jan, you wonder why I don’t like to call you my girlfriend? Because I want to call you my wife.”
And in case it wasn’t clear already, Jan said yes, much to the audience (and Glen Weiss’) delight.
The Opening Number
The Emmy’s opened with a musical titled “We Solved It” and it was like a huge episode of Saturday Night Live. Kristen Bell, Kate McKinnon and Kenan Thompson led the pack singing about how they have solved the diversity problem in Hollywood because this year’s nominees were the most diverse group ever, including the first Asian female nominee, Sandra Oh, who quipped, “It’s an honour just to be Asian.” The skit had cameos from the likes of Sterling K Brown, Titus Burgess, SNL alum Andy Samberg and John Legend. But then RuPaul came in with a telephone in hand bearing the news that they had not, in fact, solved the problem. It was every bit of cringe as you’d expect it to be, but it was still better than what followed as the hosts of the night decided to take the stage, but we’ll talk about that later.
Game of Thrones
To no one’s surprise, Game of Thrones scooped away 9 awards, including the coveted Outstanding Drama Series, for the third time. They won in 2015, 2016 and now 2018. And the only reason they didn’t win in 2017 is because Game of Thrones wasn’t eligible to be nominated then. Besides Outstanding Drama Series, Game of Thrones also took home the award for Best Supporting Actor for Tyrion Lannister played by Peter Dinklage and the award for Special Visual Effects among others.
Many notable shows like Marvellous Mrs. Maisel and Game of Thrones won, but there were many well-deserved TV shows that were snubbed, some of which didn’t even make the nominations. Donald Glover’s Atlanta was completely shut out even as it was nominated for four Emmys and so were Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Stranger Things and The Handmaid’s Tale. Shows like Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Jane The Virgin didn’t even make it to the major category nominations. NBC’s breakout drama This Is Us also failed to rake up any wins despite multiple nominations. Another show that experienced a complete shutout was Looming Tower, which was nominated for four awards.
Diversity and Sandra Oh
The Emmy’s boasted about how they had the most diverse set of nominees this year (something that every award show says literally every year), but out of all the 26 awards given out on Monday night, only four of them were given to people of colour. They literally opened the show with a musical joking about how diversity is still a problem in mainstream television, and then ended up demonstrating exactly that. And what’s worse, Sandra Oh, who was the first Asian ever to be nominated in the lead actress category at the Emmy’s was snubbed and the internet was furious about it. The award was instead given to Claire Foy for her role in The Crown, who acknowledged that Sandra should’ve won the award instead. Oh was previously nominated five times for Supporting Actress in a Drama for Grey’s Anatomy from 2004 to 2009, but never won.
The night was hosted by Saturday Night Live’s Colin Jost and Michael Che and if you thought the opening musical was a cringe-fest, you clearly didn’t see the absolute disaster that was their duologue. It was just like their Weekend Update segments on SNL where they poked fun at Roseanne and diversity among others. But they completely skirted from the topic of the #MeToo movement and there was no conversation about ex CBS chief Leslie Moonves, who stepped down after multiple sexual assault allegations against him, which he has denied. Their jokes were tired and repetitive, completely unfunny and neither of them looked like they were confident enough to pull this off. The duologue seemed to lose its charm as it droned on and the audience too was tired of this mediocre performance. Frankly speaking, after a point, it looked like even the hosts had given up on trying to get them to laugh.
God is a Woman
Thandie Newton, who took home the award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for Westworld, opened her acceptance speech with a one-liner that proved she must be an Ariana Grande fan, “I don’t even believe in god but I’m going to thank Her tonight.” She is an atheist, but thanked God anyway, who she believes is of the feminine gender. She then went on to thank the cast and crew of Westworld and gave a shoutout to her family as well. She beat out Lena Headey of Game of Thrones and Millie Bobby Brown of Stranger Things to win this award.
Regina King, who was the first person of colour of the night to be honoured with an award, couldn’t believe it when her name was announced as the winner in the category of Lead Actress in a Limited Series for Seven Seconds. She was stunned to her seat for a few seconds, a face filled with shock that could rival Taylor Swift. She then revealed that the announcement came at a time when she was having a little bit of a cosmetic crisis, “OK, so I dropped lipstick on my dress, and I was down there trying to get it out ’cause I knew…” she trailed off.
RuPaul’s Drag Race Makes History
RuPaul’s Drag Race finally won after several years of being nominated for the Best Reality Competition Series. The show bagged four awards, including this category. RuPaul said in an empowering speech, addressing “all the dreamers out there”, saying, “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else?” As soon as he took the stage, the crowd erupted in a standing ovation. And since RuPaul (Best Reality Show Host at the Creative Arts Emmys) and the reality series both won in the same year, the series has just made history by becoming the first reality series to nab series and host wins in the same year.
Ryan Murphy Dedicates Emmy to LGBTQ+ Hate Crimes
Ryan Murphy, who won the Best Limited Series Emmy for The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, dedicated the award to “all those who were taken too soon”, saying:
“The Assassination of Gianni Versace is about a lot of things, it’s about homophobia, internalized and externalized,” Murphy said in his acceptance speech. “One of out of every four LGBTQ people in this country will be the victim of a hate crime. We dedicate this award to them, to awareness, to stricter hate crime laws, and mostly, this is for the memory of Jeff and David and Gianni and for all of those taken too soon. Thank you very much.”
Other notable things that happened at the Emmys were that Henry Winkler, of Happy Days fame, won an Emmy after 43 years, and Teddy Perkins from the show Atlanta made a blink and miss cameo at the awards show. For those of you who don’t know who Teddy is, he is played by Donald Glover in a white face.
In conclusion, the 70th Emmy Awards boasted the most diverse cast of nominees but ended up highlighting how far we still have to go in terms of representation as the winners of the night were mostly white.
Image credit: Variety.