Held on September 17th, 2017 in Los Angeles, the 69th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards aka Emmys were dominated by one powerful man and a number of captivating women. The big winners of the top honors in television were HBO’s Big Little Lies, which is about the domestic struggles of privileged mothers and wives, and Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, which revolves around a slave-class forced to endure a misogynist dystopia. The top comedy award was taken away once again by HBO’s acid political satire Veep, which is centered on a female politico. Its leading lady, Julia Louis-Dreyfus also took home her sixth consecutive Emmy for best actress in a comedy.
Meanwhile, President Trump found himself to be the butt of numerous jokes at the event. The ceremony had a diverse pool of winners this time around and TV stalwart Saturday Night Live also took home plenty of awards. Some of the most memorable moments of this year’s ceremony are discussed here:
Stephen Colbert’s Opening Monologue about Trump
His jokes on President Donald Trump have helped Stephen Colbert become the king of late-night ratings so it didn’t really come off as a surprise when he brought on the jokes again in his first stint as host of the Emmys. The opening song-and-dance number boasted prime-time celebrities such as Allison Janney, Anthony Anderson and Julia Louis-Dreyfus and it showcased TV as an escape from a world that has been wrought by Trump. FX’s animated Archer also made an appearance and there was also a hip-hop interlude by a troupe of tap-dancing male and female ‘handmaids’ accompanied by Chance the Rapper.
A Trump-centric tone was established by a monologue after the sequence and the president was mocked by Mr. Colbert less for his leadership and more for being a former reality star who was unhappy for not winning an Emmy, the TV’s best prize.
Sean Spicer Made an Appearance
After Colbert made jokes about Trump being television’s biggest star, he added that he was hoping the president would be satisfied with the ratings of this year’s Emmy awards. That’s when Sean Spice made an appearance onstage who parodied his own performance behind his infamous podium with Melissa McCarthy watching on from the audience. She had portrayed Spicer on Saturday Night Live and won an Emmy for it.
Donald Trump Got Thoroughly Bashed
Even though he was not in the building, it is safe to say that the President had a large presence at the ceremony. Mr. Colbert began the event by razzing President Trump for never taking home an Emmy and Alec Baldwin continued on his theme by dedicating his Emmy to the President as he won it for portraying Mr. Trump on Saturday Night Live. Some coy references were also made like Julia Louis-Dreyfus mentioning that a storyline about impeachment had been eliminated from Veep as they were worried someone else might get to it.
When introducing Claire Underwood from the House of Cards in the best actress, drama category, Tatiana Maslany said that the character would be an excellent president as she didn’t tweet. Jane Fonda also came onstage with Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton and discussed Nine to Five, their 1980 movie. She stated that they had refused to be controlled by an egotistical, lying, sexist, hypocritical bigot in the movie and would do the same in 2017. Some like Donald Glover chose not to be subtle. In his acceptance speech for winning the Emmy for best actor in comedy, he thanked the president directly for putting black people on top of the oppressed list.
Plenty of Firsts
Lena Waithe made history when she won an Emmy for best comedy series writer as she is the first African-American woman to do so. Likewise, Donald Glover, thanks to his role in Atlanta, also became the first African-American to win the award for best actor in a comedy series category. Riz Ahmed became the first Asian to get an Emmy for Outstanding lead actor in a limited series as well as the first South Asian man to win an acting award and a leading acting award too. Dave Chappelle and Ahmed were also the first Muslims to have gotten acting awards with the former the first to win for a guest role while the latter the first Muslim to get a lead acting award.
Zoe Kravitz’s Dress Made Waves
The Emmys red carpet was dominated by Zoe Kravitz and her dress. Dior haute couture had whipped up the varicolored, slender gown especially for her and the embroidered tufts of feather were just one element of her appearance. Her cat-eye makeup and close-cropped hair added the finishing touches and reminded everyone of Mia Farrow’s waif-like version or an updated Audrey Hepburn. The Tiffany diamonds set off her tattoos and added a cutting-edge look.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus Sets a Record
To no one’s surprise, Julia Louis-Dreyfus won the Emmy for the best lead actress in a comedy series for the sixth year in a row due to her role as Selina Meyer in HBO’s Veep. While we have gotten used to her taking the award home, this time was a bit different as she tied and established some major records. She has now surpassed Don Knotts and Candice Bergen for The Andy Griffith Show and Murphy Brown respectively by setting a new record for most wins playing the same character. Considering her earlier wins for Seinfeld and The New Adventures of Old Christine, she has now won eight Emmy awards, which ties her with Cloris Leachman.
The Handmaid’s Tale Dominated Everywhere
This year’s Emmy race did not include HBO’s main star, Game of Thrones, which worked in Hulu’s favor as its series, The Handmaid’s Tale, which is based on the dystopian novel by Margaret Atwood, dominated the event. It won a horde of awards including best drama for which it beat out Netflix’s House of Cards, Stranger Things and The Crown. Apart from that, it also won Emmys for best writing in a drama (Bruce Miller), best actress in a drama (Elizabeth Moss), best supporting actress in a drama (Ann Dowd) and best directing in a drama (Reed Morano). Depending on your political perspective, the series felt resonant and topical and was the first genuine hit for Hulu. It will certainly give a solid boost to the streaming service’s profile as it succeeded in beating out Amazon Prime and Netflix, both of which are still better known to creators, stars and users alike.
Saturday Night Live Had a Great Night
Election year is always a great one for Saturday Night Live, but the show’s appetite for jokes and political humor continued even after the end of the 2016 campaign. This helped the show in cleaning up a number of awards at the Emmys as it succeeded in winning all four supporting and guest comedy performances. Apart from that, it also took home awards for best directing for a variety series as well as best variety sketch show. Alec Baldwin, Kate McKinnon and Melissa McCarthy all got Emmys for their political impressions.
Ms. McKinnon, who beat Vanessa Bayer and Leslie Jones to win her second Emmy award, even went as far as thanking Hilary Clinton in her speech. Dave Chappelle also won an Emmy for hosting Saturday Night Live as a guest after the election and he beat Lin-Manuel Miranda and Tom Hanks for it. Clearly, Emmy voters were focused on Trump.
Sterling K. Brown Got Cut Off
After winning an Emmy for best actor in a drama series for his role in This Is Us, Sterling K. Brown gave a long acceptance speech, which was both entertaining and enthusiastic. In fact, he continued speaking even after his microphone was cut by the producers and the music swelled.
Big Little Lies Had a Big Night
The best news is that the spectacular and wonderful show, Big Little Lies managed to take home a boatload of awards. The less-exciting news is that this victory has strengthened the talks of a second season, which was never intended. For a limited series, Big Little Lies almost batted a thousand as Nicole Kidman took an Emmy for lead actress, Alexander Skarsgard for supporting actor, Laura Dern as supporting actress and the best directing Emmy went to Jean-March Vallée. The only category in which it didn’t win was for best writing where David E. Kelly was unable to surpass Black Mirror’s Charlie Brooker.
Jackie Hoffman Remained True to Herself
Her role on Feud: Bette and Joan won Jackie Hoffman a nomination in the best supporting actress in a limited series category. However, Laura Dern took the Emmy award for the category and Hoffman was recorded as saying ‘Damn it! Damn it!’ when she lost. Later, Jackie poked fun at her own reaction on Twitter where she said that Laura Dern had won because her parents were famous. She also made some outlandish claims about Dern using the hashtag #soreloser. She said Dern ‘runs a child porn ring’ and had looted art from victims of the Nazis.