Most people would agree that the Emmy Awards are one of the biggest nights on television and in its 69th year, this famous award show brought some groundbreaking actors, actresses, directors and writers of television shows to the stage for recognition. In his first time hosting the Emmys, Stephen Colbert started the show with a lively musical number before diving into his opening monologue. His monologue consisted of poking fun at members of the audience while taking a few big jabs at our current administration. Colbert even let former White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, crash the ceremony. Before being whisked off stage, Spicer proceeded to mock his statement from Donald Trump’s inauguration in January, where he battled with reporters on the size of the inauguration audience. Along with the remarks from Colbert and Spicer, various actors and actresses also expressed their concern over the current administration. This included an anti-Trump ‘9 to 5’ reunion with Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin.
Putting all politics aside, the event was truly groundbreaking with its various firsts. It began when Lena Waithe first made history by becoming the first black woman to ever receive a nomination for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series. She was nominated for this with co-writer Aziz Ansari for the show “Masters of None.” Waithe then proceeded to make history once again by winning the category. During the ceremony, she received a standing ovation and gave a powerful speech in which she thanked Ansari, her mom, her girlfriend, the LGBTIA community and more. After Waithe, Donald Glover made another first. Glover not only won Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for his show, “Atlanta,” but he made history as the first black director to win Outstanding Director in a Comedy Series. Next, Riz Ahmed would become the first male actor of South-Asian descent to ever win an Emmy award. Ahmed received the Outstanding Actor in a Limited Series or T.V. Movie award for “The Night Of” and gave an acceptance speech about the injustice and prejudice in our justice system. Finally, the night ended with Julia Louis-Dreyfus making history for earning six consecutive Emmys for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.
This year the ceremony itself was dominated by three particular television shows; “Saturday Night Live,” “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Big Little Lies.” SNL came out on top with nine Emmy wins out of 22 nominations. Kate Mckinnon took home Best Supporting Comedy Actress while Alec Baldwin received Best Supporting Comedy Actor. Other awards earned included Melissa McCarthy in her guest performances as Sean Spicer, Dave Chappelle for Best Guest Comedy Actor, Don Roy King for Directing Best Variety Series and the show itself took home Best Variety Sketch Series.
Close behind SNL with the most awards was the trending new Hulu series, “The Handmaid’s Tale.” This innovative show earned the awards for Best Drama, Best Drama Actress for Elisabeth Moss and Best Writing for a Drama Series. Among others were Best Supporting Drama Actress for Ann Dowd and Best Guest Actress for Alexis Bledel. This was an especially big win for Moss since this was her first Emmy after seven nominations. However, as the show is streamed instead of broadcasted, it has definitely brought the future of television into question. In recent years, online sites like Hulu and Netflix have been putting out more original content on their sites, attracting large fan bases. A popular Netflix original, “Stranger Things,” was also nominated for various Emmys. The popularity of these shows prove that maybe this is something more people want. It’s a decision for many broadcasting networks to consider since this could mean more of their media is going to rely on the internet rather than cable, something they’ve used for decades now.
Following “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Big Little Lies” earned Best Limited Series, Best Actress in a Limited Series or T.V. Movie, Best Supporting Limited Series Actor, Best Supporting Limited Series Actress and last but not least, Directing for a Limited Series. Other outstanding Emmy awards for the night included “Black Mirror: San Junipero” which would make its mark by winning Best Television Movie and Writing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Drama. “Veep” took Best Comedy, Sterling K. Brown won best actor for the drama “This is Us,” and John Lithgow went home with Best Supporting Actor in the drama “The Crown.”
The 69th Emmys celebration emphasized this idea of finding the joys in television to escape from a lot of the issues in our world today. Many of these shows share various beliefs and discuss topics that are important and relevant to our current society. Whatever the case, the 69th Emmys delivered a diverse, historical and compelling performance.