A mixed bag of an evening that started with a lot of promise and ended with a lot of predictability. The most diverse set of acting nominees the Emmys has ever seen ultimately led to an all-white set of acting winners, most of whom are from The Crown.
What was most frustrating about the night, and it’s not the first time the TV Academy has done this, is that the ceremony was presented to us as if it was a diverse year with a black host (a likably loose Cedric the Entertainer), presenters of colour and references to diversity yet ultimately, it evaporated into more of the same. There were some signs of progress - RuPaul became the most awarded person of colour ever, Michaela Coel was the first black female winner of best writing for a limited or anthology series and, for the first time, two women won the comedy and drama directing trophies in the same year - but not quite enough.
There were deserving acting winners though - Kate Winslet and Julianne Nicholson for Mare of Easttown and Jean Smart for Hacks - but the dominance of Ted Lasso and The Crown felt a little too safe and a sign that those two shows might be dominant yet again this time next year, the Emmys known to stick too their faves time and time again.
Normality has returned, not just to the structure of awards ceremonies but also who they choose to reward. Here we go again.
And here’s the full news wrap:
And here’s that Scott Frank speech that no one was into:
And here was one of the best speeches of the night, courtesy of Debbie Allen:
Here’s a look at Seth Rogen’s viral intro for one of Ted Lasso’s many wins:
Despite a record number of diverse nominees, there wasn’t a single acting winner of colour, an embarrassment for the TV academy during a ceremony that constantly referred to the importance of diversity.
Actors who were considered strong contenders included Billy Porter and MJ Rodriguez for Pose, the late Michael K Williams for Lovecraft Country, Michaela Coel for I May Destroy You and Bowen Yang for Saturday Night Live. #EmmysSoWhite to start trending in 3, 2, 1 ...
The skits tonight were more miss than hit but there was some novelty to this one which brought together famously unrewarded TV stars:
So as briefly mentioned before, the biggest winner of the evening was ultimately Netflix, scooping 44 in total (taking into account the Creative Arts Emmys too). The Crown was the streamer’s first best drama series win, a major milestone.
A record for Hulu tonight but, errrr, not a great one. The streamer’s grim drama The Handmaid’s Tale set the record for the most Emmy losses in a single season, with 21 nominations and 21 losses.
A major takeaway from tonight is that despite a major uptick in nominations for genre shows like WandaVision (23), Lovecraft Country (18) The Mandalorian (24) and The Boys (6), there’s still a reluctance to actually reward them. No genre show scored any of the major awards tonight, with just a few technical wins back at the Creative Arts Emmys.
Given the combined fanbase, it’s led to some predictable anger on Twitter with many bemoaning the staid nature of the kinds of shows that tend to do well at the Emmys - period dramas - and wondering if there’s ever going to be a breakthrough.
If you need to remind yourself of the many winners of the evening then here’s a full list:
At least one person who will not be cheersing the success of the Netflix chess drama:
WINNER: The Queen's Gambit - limited or anthology series
Many might have been expecting a win for Mare of Easttown given its acting sweep but instead, some last minute love for the awards-friendly Netflix drama The Queen’s Gambit. It’s been a huge night for Netflix (who may have won more than any other channel/streamer, stay tuned) who will likely be putting even more money into prestige period content as a result of tonight and the awards season thus far. A shame for Mare and Michaela (both more deserving winners) but it’s over, we can breathe again.
The very white acting winners of the evening have not gone unnoticed ...
WINNER: The Crown - drama series
While it was encouraging to see this category embrace three genre shows (!) which felt like a result in itself, this was only ever going to be a win for The Crown. It’s strangely the first time the show has won this award, with Game of Thrones hogging the limelight for so long and then Succession sneaking in last year. Remarkable energy in the London room given the hour, with Peter Morgan telling us that they actually start shooting in a couple of hours (!) suggesting a lot of sore heads in the morning. Just one award left. Thank heavens.
WINNER: Ted Lasso - comedy series
Well there it is, the TV academy’s favourite new comedy taking the baton from Schitt’s Creek which took it from Veep. It’s a huge first season result for Apple’s sleeper hit and even if there’s a huge dip in quality, knowing the Emmys this will likely be winning awards for seasons and seasons in the future.
WINNER: Hamilton - variety special (pre-recorded)
Many nominations for this one but finally a win, moving from Tonys love to Emmys years later. Lin-Manuel Miranda isn’t in attendance but his cast are, collecting an award for a filmed version of the much-loved musical. A reminder of how many actors of colour haven’t been accepting individual awards tonight though ...
WINNER: Stephen Colbert's Election Night 2020 - variety special (live)
A strange award to be included so late or even included at all (why was this not in the Creative Arts Emmys) but hey, a nice consolation prize for Colbert who continues to miss out to John Oliver for the other awards they’re both nominated for.
The Ted Lasso Twitter account is living, laughing and loving the night away.
WINNER: Josh O'Connor (The Crown) - lead actor in a drama series
The only actor from The Crown to actually be at the ceremony itself ends up winning the last acting award of the night and showing that The Crown continues to be a runaway train at the Emmys. Josh O’Connor, who starts by calling himself “a wreck”, reads a trembling speech about his gratitude and family, a short but sweet reminder of how these things should go. That does mean though that every single acting winner tonight has been white. Not a great sign of progress despite the show telling us how progressive things are ...
WINNER: Olivia Colman (The Crown) - lead actress in a drama series
The question was never was an actor from The Crown going to win this but more which actor from The Crown was going to win this? And so voters ultimately went for Olivia Colman (still awake in London at 3.38am) over Emma Corrin. She gives a brief emotional speech about her dad, who died recently, not being there to see it. Colman is never not a deserving winner but a shame not to see MJ Rodriguez make history with the final season of Pose.
Scott Frank’s maddeningly long speech has maddened Twitter ...
WINNER: Ewan McGregor (Halston) - lead actor in a limited or anthology series or movie
Bit of a “huh” win here for a show that no one has been talking about, ironic after presenter Taraji P Henson just talked about the importance of water-cooler moments. Ewan McGregor’s divisive performance in the Netflix miniseries was criticised by some but his celebrity sway edged him to the top of a category that was far less competitive and interesting than the female equivalent.
WINNER: Kate Winslet (Mare of Easttown) - lead actress in a limited or anthology series or movie
Arguably the toughest category of the night with a handful of heavyweights battling it out but the winner is the biggest name of them all: Oscar winner Kate Winslet for Mare of Eastttown. It was one of her greatest performances and while Coel and Taylor-Joy would also have been deserving choices, it’s hard to complain about this one. The impressive showing for Mare so far (it might still win the big one) means that those second season chats will surely get a boost starting from tomorrow.
One notable record tonight though is a strong showing for women behind the screen for once. It’s the first time women have swept both comedy and drama directing categories in the same year. The Crown’s Jessica Hobbs is only the fourth female winner while Hacks’ Lucia Aniello is only the fifth.
WINNER: Michaela Coel (I May Destroy You) - writing for a limited or anthology series or movie
It speaks to the nature of television right now that these categories, for limited or anthology series, are the most competitive but still there was no other more deserving winner than Michaela Coel for her shattering show I May Destroy You. “Write the tale that scares you,” she says at the start of a speech aimed at writers urging them to push their work to scary and uncomfortable places. She also dedicates it to survivors of sexual assault. It’s great to see recognition for Coel and her show but it’s a very small sign of diversity for one of the whitest Emmys in recent memory, at least so far. Nine awards left so here goes.
WINNER: Scott Frank (The Queen's Gambit) - directing for a limited or anthology series or movie
The first award of the night for a show that many had predicted to sweep its categories, the surprise Netflix hit The Queen’s Gambit. Scott Frank beat out two episodes of I May Destroy You and, gulp, Barry Jenkins, for his work on the show that he helped usher to the screen. One of the most visibly annoyed played off winners (by Time to Say Goodbye, cruelly) but he speaks through the many attempts and somehow gets the longest speech of the night (!). It’s a tough category that could have been justifiably won by any of the nominees but let’s hope Michaela Coel’s show doesn’t get snubbed for the next award which should really have her name on it ...
A special governors award now for Debbie Allen, “the ultimate multi-hyphenate” who is an actor, producer, singer, choreographer, dancer and director with a storied career. It’s a deserved victory with Gayle King narrating a section detailing her often groundbreaking achievements but her win does make for a stark difference when compared to the pretty much all-white winners tonight (RuPaul is the only winner of colour so far).
An emotional Allen is “trembling with gratitude” so she can be equal to the situation. “Turn that clock off, I ain’t paying no attention to it,” she says when faced with a countdown, a fun middle finger at the rushed ceremony tonight (next year some of these awards really need to be pushed back to the Creative Arts Emmys ceremony). Allen’s speech and her callouts provide even more reminders of just what she’s done and who she has touched but let’s hope she isn’t the last person of colour collecting an award tonight ...
WINNER: RuPaul's Drag Race - competition program
Another foregone conclusion here with the fourth win in a row in this category for RuPaul and his behemoth drag competition (which had already cleaned up at the Creative Arts Emmys recently). RuPaul has now also become the most awarded person of colour in Emmys history.
Here’s that musical opening if you still need to see Rita Wilson rap:
WINNER: Jason Sudeikis (Ted Lasso) - lead actor in a comedy series
A rather funny intro from presenter Jennifer Coolidge (who will likely be on stage picking up an award for her role in The White Lotus) who gives the award to Jason Sudeikis, the most predictable of all the winners tonight for Apple’s breakout football comedy. As with Smart, I imagine he’ll be owning this category for the near future. Ted Lasso is not going anywhere.
WINNER: Jean Smart (Hacks) - lead actress in a comedy series
Well, thankfully, there is no lead actress in Ted Lasso so the very deserving Jean Smart squeezes in for her role as a been-there-done-that comedian in the wonderful HBO Max comedy Hacks. It’s been a big year for the actor, who hasn’t always been given the roles she deserves, with another nomination for Mare of Easttown also at this ceremony. It’s the first major awards show for HBO Max (it’s not been a great night for their other hope, The Flight Attendant) and with the second season on the way, it feels like Smart might own this category for the next few years.
A ‘No Emmy Support Group’ sketch here that features host Cedric the Entertainer alongside other non-winners: Scott Bakula, Zooey Deschanel, Alyson Hannigan, Dr Phil, Fred Savage and Jason Alexander, an eight-time loser. It’s funny enough and does break up the aggressive procession of awards but there are still so many damn Emmys to give out tonight ...
We’re halfway through and it’s not looking good...
WINNER: Hacks - directing for a comedy series
Oh wow, another upset here with another behind-the-scenes win for Hacks, nominated for just one episode in this category compared to three for Ted Lasso. Lucia Aniello is back on stage to take the award, a little surprised to be winning two in a row for a show that really has flown under the radar compared to most of the bigger comedies of the year. Go Hacks!
WINNER: Hacks - writing for a comedy series
A refreshing change here from even more Ted Lasso love for the surprising dark horse of the category: HBO Max’s smart comedy about comedy Hacks. It’s, for me, the best comedy nominated tonight and for a show about the importance of women in comedy, it’s nice to see women get an award for writing it. Expect star Jean Smart showing up on stage later too ...
In case you hadn’t already noticed, it has been a very white night so far ...
Kate Winslet’s bizarrely uncomfortable seat means we will have a reaction like this to pretty much everyone. Someone please order her a neck massage in the AM:
WINNER: Saturday Night Live - variety sketch series
The team at Saturday Night Live pretty much own this category and even in a patchy year (but when is it not a patchy year for SNL), they have found themselves crowned winners yet again. This is the fifth win in a row and in another difficult 12 month period, it has been at least impressive on a technical level how the show has been able to vault itself back given the pandemic.
WINNER: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver - variety talk series
Aaaand again this is also the sixth win in a row of this award by a not-too-surprised John Oliver, who starts his speech by paying tribute to the recently retired Conan O’Brien, who was also nominated, then reminding everyone to look up clips of the late Norm Macdonald.
WINNER: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver - writing for a variety series
No surprise here with the sixth win in a row in this category for John Oliver and his extremely deserving team. It remains the smartest of its type, although with Apple bringing Jon Stewart back in the coming weeks, could he be here next year? (He was the most recent non-John winner of this award.)
Given that chats are currently under way, according to HBO’s Casey Bloys, this is a worthwhile question (and one that Big Little Lies faced in recent years).
WINNER: Tobias Menzies (The Crown) - supporting actor in a drama series
A sad start to this award with a heartfelt tribute from Kerry Washington for one of the nominees who died recently, Lovecraft Country’s Michael K Williams. It would have made for a perfect final goodbye but it’s more love instead for The Crown and for Tobias Menzies, who couldn’t be there. Not even in London!
WINNER: Gillian Anderson (The Crown) - supporting actress in a drama series
A category dominated by two shows - The Crown and The Handmaid’s Tale - with just one slot afforded to a newbie - Lovecraft Country. Predictably it was one of the actors from The Crown who won out - Gillian Anderson for her divisive portrayal of Margaret Thatcher. Back to not-quite-sleepy-yet London for Anderson’s acceptance speech, not the last we will be hearing from The Crown bunch tonight.
This is a fair point:
WINNER: Jessica Hobbs (The Crown) - directing for a drama series
Back to London and a very excitable audience congratulating director Jessica Hobbs in a category that showed more diversity than usual (three women, three men). “Not a lot of women have won this award so I feel like I’m standing on the shoulders of some really incredible people,” Hobbs says.
WINNER: Peter Morgan (The Crown) - writing for a drama series
Our first view of the London ceremony which looks pretty swanky, if a little tightly packed, with a win for one of the most -nominated shows of the night. More for The Crown on the way, if they can stay awake that long.
Rita Wilson is trending, as she should be.
WINNER: Evan Peters (Mare of Easttown) - supporting actor in a limited or anthology series or movie
It’s going to be a big night for Mare then with Evan Peters beating out stiff competition from the stars of Hamilton for the HBO drama’s second award of the night. He thanks Kate Winslet “for BEING KATE WINSLET”, and this win will at least make up for the Hahn loss on Twitter given how loved the actor is online, thanks to his place in the Murphyverse (he was trending earlier just because of his nomination).
WINNER: Julianne Nicholson (Mare of Easttown) - supporting actress in a limited or anthology series or movie
A bit of a surprise here given that, if at least Twitter were to be believed, Kathryn Hahn would scoop this for her devilish, viral turn in WandaVision. But an early sign here of the love for HBO’s Mare of Easttown given that Julianne Nicholson had a rather unshowy role in the grim crime drama. It was an excellent performance and nice to see recognition for a hard-working actor who hasn’t always received her due. A rather mean “play her off” musical moment though. More for Mare on the way.
Cedric’s set is actually pretty decent so far, making the expected Nicki Minaj’s cousin’s friend’s testicles joke, some jabs at Covid jabs, the royal family and also recognising the number of black nominees. He’s loose and comfortable and while the bar is low and not every joke lands, he’s already an improvement on, say, Corden or Meyers or Kimmel, who stick to safer, tried-and-tested territory.
WINNER: Brett Goldstein (Ted Lasso) - supporting actor in a comedy series
Another category dominated by both SNL and Ted Lasso and given that the latter had four nominated actors, it’s no great surprise that one of them won. Brett Goldstein was their (sweary) pick (a slight shame given Nick Mohammed being the show’s MVP) but already a big start to the night for the show and for Apple, who sorely needed an awards player.
WINNER: Hannah Waddingham (Ted Lasso) - supporting actress in a comedy series
A very funny and very alarmed Seth Rogen introduced the award by expressing worry over the amount of people in such a small place (“I wouldn’t have come if I’d have known!”). A fiercely packed category here with three of the very finest SNL cast members but the award goes to Hannah Waddingham, one of many breakouts from the adored Apple comedy Ted Lasso (she beat out fellow cast member Juno Temple). “Jason, you’ve changed my life with this,” she says, shock followed by tears which is then followed by more shock. There will be many many more awards for Ted tonight.
Here we go
Not the biggest fan of a montage intro but this year’s collection of clips did at least provide a reminder of just how impressive the last year has been. In a pre-recorded segment, Cedric the Entertainer follows said montage by telling us that this year will not be as subdued as might expect.
As we switch to live, it’s a musical opener (fun at least for a traditionally non-musical ceremony). LL Cool J helps out and then so does Lil Dickie and then so does, errrr, Rita Wilson rapping, which is a choice – although even when joking, she’s still a far more tolerable hip-hop star than her problematic son. It’s kind of a cheesy start but it’s kind of charming too in a silly, shaggy way. There’s some high energy at the outset for a ceremony which often lulls us to sleep.
Bookmark this page for the night so you can keep track. It’ll be constantly updated with the latest winners:
Michaela Coel is here! She just told Queer Eye’s Karamo on the red carpet that she is “overwhelmed with gratitude” for her four nominations tonight. How many can she win?
There are a ton of Emmys to give out (this night will be a thick and fast one as ever with very few breaks for air) and so the Creative Arts Emmys took place earlier this month to downgrade tonight from being a super long nightmare to just like a regular long nightmare. Here are some of the main ones:
Outstanding guest actress in a drama series: Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II on The Crown
Outstanding guest actress in a comedy series: Maya Rudolph as Host on Saturday Night Live
Outstanding guest actor in a drama Series: Courtney B Vance as George Freeman on Lovecraft Country
Outstanding guest actor in a comedy series: Dave Chappelle as Host on Saturday Night Live
Outstanding structured reality program: Queer Eye
Outstanding television movie: Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square
Outstanding host for a reality or competition program: RuPaul for RuPaul’s Drag Race
Outstanding documentary or nonfiction series: Secrets of the Whales
Back when the nominations were announced, we let Stuart Heritage express an article’s worth of rage, shock and happiness as he wrote about the snubs and surprises of this year. No Small Axe remains a head-scratcher. Here’s a reminder:
There is an understandable amount of excitement/fear/concern/panic over the many awards that Michaela Coel and her much-loved series I May Destroy You is up for and whether she will leave the night empty-handed or not.
The show picking up at least one of its nine nominations seems likely but can it take home one of the bigger awards, for best limited or anthology series or best actress in a limited or anthology series? It’s arguably a harder sub-section than the ongoing series categories, with The Queen’s Gambit, Mare of Easttown and WandaVision all battling it out. We’ll find out soon!
Some good snack inspiration here via Mare.
More major nominees arriving (digging the Sudeikis blazer, a mountain-sized step up from that dreaded Golden Globes hoodie)
An interesting-adjacent bit of gossip via E!’s mostly hellish red carpet show here: WandaVision star Elizabeth Olsen’s outfit tonight has been designed by her sisters Mary-Kate and Ashley apparently.
Here it is:
The Emmys has become the first awards show to insist that all attendees are vaccinated and has also limited each nominee to just four guests. Each guest also has to show a recent negative Covid test alongside proof of vaccination.
Last week’s Met Gala instituted a similar mandate, which led to some no-shows and some celebrities speak out but according to tonight’s exec producer Ian Stewart, there’s been no sign of a backlash.
“In fact it’s been the opposite,” he said to Deadline. “People are so enthusiastic about attending, particularly since we limited the number of tickets available, they get snatched right way; it’s very much like a Willy Wonka golden ticket.”
He added: “There is an option to come in remotely if you don’t feel comfortable. We haven’t gotten any pushback on that. We have some people who physically can’t be here so we try to include them as nominees but very few, a handful.”
So after the initial wave of celebs arriving in black, there’s been a jolt of colour since (full trend analysis coming in the morning from actual fashion writers)
A fun burst here of Oscars glamour with two of the many big screen A-listers who will be in attendance. Michael Douglas is nominated for his role in The Kominsky Method (nope, still haven’t seen it either)
The choice of Cedric the Entertainer to host tonight’s festivities is ... a bit of a strange one (less strange perhaps if it was the 2003 Emmys) but it’s at least something new (it’s not James Corden or Jimmy Kimmel).
It’s a CBS Emmys year which means they have picked one of their stable sitcom stars (he’s in The Neighborhood, a show someone must watch, I’m sure) and he spoke to the Hollywood Reporter earlier this week about the difficulty of trying to get it right at an increasingly sensitive time for comedy:
“It’s not bad if you’re the news for a couple of days, but you don’t want to be the guy that ruins the night or someone’s moment. At the same time, you’ve got to be yourself. As comedians, we’re up on a tightrope trying to make sure people are entertained. But, again, we’re living in a hypersensitive society. You don’t know where that line is sometimes. It moves from day to day.”
Let’s wait and see how that works out.
Stars are arriving! Well, some of them! It’s a quieter red carpet than usual but here are some of the outfits we have seen so far. More to come (black is a trend!)
There’s a major achievement tonight for MJ Rodriguez, who is the first ever trans woman to receive a lead actress nomination, for her role in the final season of Pose.
Chitra Ramaswamy interviewed her for the Guardian earlier this week where she spoke about the importance of the Ryan Murphy-ushered show.
“It’s crazy to think that just before Pose none of this was even a thought in anyone’s mind,” she said. “We had never been in these spaces, on those sets, in Hollywood. So it’s amazing, and honey, I’m living for it. But I do wish there was more of it so we didn’t have to constantly be the educators. Some of us just want to be the artists.”
You can read the full interview here:
There’s a special London-based ceremony tonight for The Crown, the most nominated show of the night, since UK citizens are still unable to fly to the US. Other stars from other shows are also expected.
Here are some of the attendees prepping for an especially late night:
Given how uber-competitive so many categories are this year, it would be a fool’s errand to predict what might triumph, right? Wrong if you’re Adrian Horton, who gives it a brave crack here:
Small screen, big night
After an understandably clumsy 2020 edition, the Emmys are back to (almost) normal and set to provide us with one of the most interesting ceremonies in years. In the last year, we’ve all been watching more TV than ever before and while it’s not exactly notably better than usual, we all have a lot more opinions on what should and shouldn’t be rewarded.
One of the buzziest seasons of The Crown, the birth of Bridgerton, Michaela Coel’s one-of-a-kind drama I May Destroy You, Netflix’s surprise sleeper hit The Queen’s Gambit, the all-consuming charm of Ted Lasso, Marvel’s breakout smash WandaVision, HBO Max’s buzzy thriller The Flight Attendant – to name but a few. It’s going to be a competitive evening.
We’ll be here all night to fill you in on who gets what and what that all means and whether this might be the first regular-ish awards ceremony we’ve seen since Covid and whether people still, ya know, care about these things (ratings for awards shows in the last 18 months have been catastrophic). Stay tuned!