The biggest night in television just wrapped with the 70th edition of the Primetime Emmy Awards at the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles. The ceremony, co-hosted by Saturday Night Live’s comedians Colin Jost and Michael Che, was filled with both predictable moments and surprises.
SNL’s Kenan Thompson and Kate McKinnon opened the evening with a star-studded musical performance, which included, among others, the fabulous Tituss Burgess, that honoured the night’s diverse list of nominees but also mocked Hollywood for thinking that it has finally “solved” its diversity issues. The comedians also gave a shout out to Sandra Oh for being the first ever Asian woman to be nominated for Lead Actress in a Drama Series. As the music stopped, “Thank you, but it’s an honour just to be Asian,” Oh promptly replied from her front row seat next to her mother dressed in traditional Korean hanbok. On a similar note, Twitter is officially obsessed with Oh’s parents’ cameo on the red carpet.
Quite predictably, the opening monologue followed the same path – and the same themes of the all award ceremonies this year – with Jost and Che praising some nominees and shows and “sarcastically” addressing some of the TV industry’s endemic problems with gender and race (don’t get me wrong, their intentions were good but the delivery and actual jokes failed to underline the issues.)
One the most triumphant moments of the night was Game of Thrones’ comeback. After its absence from last year’s ceremony, GOT took home Outstanding Drama Series – arguably the most prestigious award – for the third time. “This show could not be without the mad genius of George,” co-creator and show-runner David Benioff said of the GOT books’ author George R.R. Martin, who was also on stage. “Thank you for letting us take care of your people.”
But while the show has officially gained a spot in TV’s all of fame with countless wins and nominations, the night’s biggest winners were The Marvelous Mrs Maisel, which dominated the comedy category, and The Assassination of Gianni Versace, while the critics’ favourite The Handmaid’s Tale went home empty-handed.
Most of the acting awards were spread out across different shows and went to the most critically acclaimed performances, like Claire Foy’s portrayal of young Queen Elizabeth II in Netflix’s The Crown just before she prepares to say goodbye to the show. Surprisingly enough, however, The Marvelous Mrs Maisel also earned the hilarious Amy Sherman-Palladino – yes, none other than the mastermind behind Glimore Girls – both best writing and directing for a comedy series, the first time in history a woman has received both prizes.
Now, for the “cutest/sweetest,” moment of the ceremony, Betty White’s offering her hand to Alec Baldwin for a kiss (adorable) as she was honoured for her seven-decade-long career was nothing compared to Oscars’ director Glenn Weiss’ proposal on stage. While accepting the award for outstanding directing for a variety special, during the last portion of the ceremony (aka when everyone pretty much stops to pay attention), he asked his girlfriend Jan Svendsen in the audience “You wonder why I don’t like to call you my girlfriend? Because I want to call you my wife.” Svendsen then joined him on the stage and Wells proposed as the entire audience was cheering and/or crying.
Yes, public proposals can be cheesy and unnecessarily pompous but that was a great TV moment that made this year’s Emmys somehow more exciting.