By Sean Riedel | Contributing writer
The 71st Primetime Emmy Awards were held on Sunday evening. Here are the big winners and some personal insights into whether or not I think they deserved to bring home the gold.
Outstanding Drama Series
In an expected move, “Game of Thrones” triumphed in its final year of eligibility, bringing its total in this category to four wins. “Thrones” is the most Emmy-nominated series ever, and also has the most wins, with 161 and 59, respectively. Despite it’s polarizing final season, the series tied its own record this year by winning 12 awards from 32 nominations.
Outstanding Comedy Series
“Fleabag,” in its first year and final year competing at the Emmys, took home the night’s biggest comedy award. The Phoebe Waller-Bridge created comedy ended a two season run this year, and despite being ignored by the Emmys for its first season, picked up 11 nominations this year. It triumphed in numerous categories, winning six statuettes in total this year. I personally was rooting for “Veep” here.
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
In a groundbreaking moment, Billy Porter made history by becoming the first openly gay black man to win this award. Porter, who is also a Tony winner, has received critical praise for his leading role as the emcee Pray Tell on FX’s “Pose,” which follows members of New York City’s black and Latinx ballroom culture in the ’80s and ‘90s. The Ryan Murphy-created series completed its second season this year and has been renewed for a third.
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
This was Sandra Oh’s year to finally win an Emmy after seven losses from “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Saturday Night Live” and last year for “Killing Eve,” and she lost again to her “Eve” co-star Jodie Comer. Oh seemed like a solid lock to win this category, especially having won the Golden Globe earlier this year. Comer portrays Villanelle, a psychopathic assassin who is obsessed with Oh’s character, Eve.
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Bill Hader won his second consecutive Emmy for his brilliant role on HBO’s “Barry.” Hader is a comedic genius who got his start on “Saturday Night Live” and has done some great voice acting, which is not surprising because of his unique and iconic voice.
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Waller-Bridge won her first Emmy for her role as the title character in the second and final season of the British series “Fleabag.” I’m not taking anything away from Waller-Bridge’s acclaimed work, but I am a “Veep” superfan and think it should have clearly gone to Louis-Dreyfus. I’m pressed, but JLD is an 11-time Emmy winner overall, eight of which are for acting (tying Chloris Leachman’s record as the most decorated performer) and three for Outstanding Comedy Series as an executive producer. Phoebe Waller-Bridge beat the odds and became the first person not named Julia Louis-Dreyfus to succeed in this category in a year when Louis-Dreyfus is nominated since 2012. Louis-Dreyfus has never lost in this category for her role as Selina Meyer in “Veep,” and had to sit out last year as “Veep” was on hiatus due to her treatment for breast cancer.
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Peter Dinklage picked up his fourth statue for his role as Tyrion Lannister on HBO’s long-running megahit “Game of Thrones.” Dinklage stands out as the only member of the main cast to win an Emmy after every other acting nominee was shut out this year.
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
“Ozark” co-star Julia Garner, 25, won her first Emmy for her role as Ruth on the Netflix original. This was also her first-ever Emmy nomination. In its second season, “Ozark” more than doubled its Emmy nominations this year and it’s third season is set to premiere later this year.
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Tony Shaloub won his fourth career Emmy, and his first for the role of Columbia University mathematics professor Abe Weissman on “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” His first three Emmy wins were for his work a the title character of USA’s “Monk.”
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Alex Borstein walked away with her second consecutive Emmy for her role as Susie Myerson on “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” Borstein is a comedy veteran experiencing a heyday of recognition with this show. Last year, she was a double Emmy winner, also taking home the statuette for Outstanding Voice Performer for “Family Guy,” on which she has voiced Lois Griffin since 1999.
Outstanding Limited Series
HBO’s critically acclaimed limited series “Chernobyl” took home the gold in this category. The five episode series chronicled the eerie events surrounding the 1986 nuclear disaster, which is the worst man-made disaster in history and resulted in the deaths of thousands of people. “Chernobyl” won a total of 10 Emmys from its 19 nominations. I was rooting for “Sharp Objects” here, but with only eight nominations, it never really had a chance. Both series were fantastic.
Outstanding Television Movie
Netflix’s “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch” snatched the statuette away from the likes of competitors “Deadwood: The Movie” and “Brexit,” among others. “Black Mirror” has had a winning streak in this category for the past three years, winning last year for “USS Callister” and the year before for “San Junipero.”
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series
Jharrel Jerome was the only performer from Ava Duverney’s “When They See Us” to take home a statue. At 21, he is also the youngest actor to ever win this particular category. “When They See Us” brought to the screen the trial surrounding the Central Park Five, a group of wrongly accused young black men, from 1989.
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series
Michelle Williams brought home her first Emmy for her turn as Gwen Verdon, a Tony Award winning actress and dancer in the FX limited series “Fosse/Verdon.” In her acceptance speech, Williams acknowledged FOX Studios commitment to paying her and co-star Sam Rockwell equally for their roles in the series, and for allowing her to have some creative control over her character. Patricia Arquette was considered a frontrunner here, so Williams’ name being called was a surprise for me.
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series
British actor Ben Whishaw won for his performance in “A Very English Scandal,” on which he portrayed Norman Josiffe in the dramatization of the Jeremy Thorpe, former leader of the liberal party in England and a member of parliament, scandal. Josiffe was Thrope’s lover with whom he had an extra-marital affair in the 1960s.
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series
Past Emmy and Academy Award winner Patricia Arquette was awarded her second Emmy this year for her supporting role in “The Act.” She was also nominated for lead Actress in a Limited Series for “Escape at Dannemora,” which aired on Showtime. In her acceptance speech, the actress called for more roles to be written for transgender actors, as Arquette’s sister Alexis, who died in 2016, was transgender. I was rooting for Patricia Clarkson for her work in “Sharp Objects” here, but both Patricia’s gave amazing performances in their respective roles.
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