A celebration of talent, diversity and hard work is presented as a gold-plated Emmy — the most prestigious award that can be given to a professional in the television industry. The 71st Primetime Emmy Awards were held Sunday night at the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles.
More than 168 nominees are honored from the best in dramas, comedies, limited series and variety series but only 27 awards are given out. Streaming services like Amazon Prime and Hulu have taken the television world by storm and were subsequently represented by many of the biggest winners and history-making TV series.
Here are some of the highlights from this year’s Emmy Awards.
With the absence of a host this year, which perhaps stemmed from the lack of enthusiasm from last year’s hosts Colin Jost and Michael Che, the popular animated family from “Family Guy,” Meg, Peter, Lois, Stewie, Chris and Brian Griffin, opened the ceremony sitting on a couch projecting sarcastic humor. The family made sour comments while watching the award show in their family room, snarking about previous actors who’ve won Emmys but have since fallen from the spotlight, referencing Bill Cosby and Roseanne Barr.
The awkward sketch was short and rescued by Anthony Anderson, known for his role in “Black-ish,” leaping to his feet and running backstage. Anderson’s sketch consisted of him refusing a Starbucks coffee and his mother stuffing not one, but three Emmy Awards in her purse. The sketch then proceeded to Bryan Cranston being shoved on stage by a tech crewman to save where Anderson left off, resulting in a speech about the power of TV and a montage of the greatest scenes in television.
HBO received a record-breaking 137 nominations at Sunday’s ceremony, 32 of which were nominations for “Game of Thrones.” The series only took home two awards, but the crowd thought differently. The audience gave the cast a standing ovation when they joined together to present the award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie to Patricia Arquette for her role in “The Act.” Peter Dinklage won his fourth triumph for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for playing Tyrion Lannister. “Game of Thrones” swept up the award for Outstanding Drama Series, the final award of the night.
Amazon’s “Fleabag” was the top winner of the night bringing in four awards. Phoebe Waller-Bridge created, wrote and starred as “Fleabag” in this BBC comedy-drama series and won her first-ever Emmy for Lead Actress in a Comedy Series and her second in the category of Writing for a Comedy Series. Harry Bradbeer, “Fleabag” director, also brought home the Emmy for Directing for a Comedy Series. “Fleabag” took home the penultimate award of the night — the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series.
Amazon snagged a total of seven awards. Ben Whishaw, who played Norman Scott in “A Very English Scandal,” took home the award for Best Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie. Alex Borstein won Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her role as Susie Myerson, and Tony Shalhoub received the award for Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for his role as Abe Weissman in “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.”
Lorne Michaels, the creator of Saturday Night Live, gave an emotional acceptance speech about the late Chris Farley after Saturday Night Live won for Outstanding Variety Sketch Series. Michaels noted that the episode submitted for the award was hosted by Adam Sandler, who performed a song for his friend and former co-worker Chris Farley. This earning adds to SNL’s 72 Emmy wins over the past 44 seasons. Don Roy King, director of SNL, also won the Directing for a Variety Series for this same episode, collecting his 10th Emmy Award.
Billy Porter made history by winning Lead Actor in a Drama Series for his role as Pray Tell in “Pose.” Sporting a striped suit, high heels and an extra atypical 1970s hat, Porter is the first black, gay man that has ever won in this category. “Pose” is an FX series based around queer families living during the AIDS crisis. This was a big win for the LGBTQA+ community in furthering the fight for acceptance and the right to be authentic in society.
Even though the 2019 Emmys didn’t maintain a host like previous years, it occupied the time with bold acceptance speeches, like Michelle Williams’ speech about equal pay for women of color. Overall, the Emmys gave valued time to the diverse, well-deserved and humbled talents of the entertainment world.