GAME OF THRONES KILLS IT
HBO’s record-breaking fantasy epic Game of Thrones stormed back onto the Emmys stage on Monday, winning the coveted best drama series prize. The show was ineligible for last year’s Emmys. Peter Dinklage took home the best supporting actor prize for his portrayal of Tyrion Lannister.
“Writing for these actors behind us is the honour of a lifetime,” said series co-creator David Benioff
“But we didn’t invent these characters. That was George R.R. Martin. The show could not be without the mad genius of George.”
It won nine Emmys this year, meaning the blood-spattered tale of the battle for the Iron Throne — which returns in 2019 for an abbreviated eighth and final season — now has 47 awards overall.
That breaks the program’s own record as the most decorated fictional show since the Television Academy first handed out prizes in 1949.
It was a 2009 movie starring Sandra Bullock, but now will forever be the informal title of the 2018 Emmys telecast, thanks to a memorable romantic gesture from Emmy-winning director Glenn Weiss — who summoned the courage to propose to his girlfriend on live TV.
She said yes — thank the Lord. The stars in the audience responded with gasps (we saw you, Leslie Jones) and even tears (we saw you too, Queen Elizabeth — er, Claire Foy.)
That feel-good moment — along with crowd-pleasing speeches by Henry Winkler and Betty White — lightened the mood of an evening that otherwise had a lacklustre feel, and disappointed many with the lack of ethnic diversity among its winners.
ISSUE: NOT SOLVED
Nope, they sure didn’t solve it.
The Emmys began with a happy announcement — this was the most ethnically diverse group of Emmy nominees yet — and a cheeky musical nod to the diversity issue in Hollywood, a song aptly called We Solved It! Kenan Thompson, Kate McKinnon, Sterling K. Brown, Tituss Burgess and Ricky Martin, among others, sang — tongue firmly in cheek — about how far things had progressed, joined by a company of One of Each dancers.
But they couldn’t have known how the evening itself would progress — award after award would go to a white winner. Presenter James Corden finally said what everyone was thinking. “Let’s get it trending: #EmmysSoWhite,” he quipped, a double reference to both Betty White, who preceded him, and the prevailing colour of the evening.
The string was finally broken about halfway through when Regina King was awarded best actress in a limited series or movie for Seven Seconds.
WHO’S BEHIND WHITEFACE?
A creepy, whiteface character from the FX hit series Atlanta has been seated in the front row and taking selfies at the Emmy Awards.
Teddy Perkins appeared Monday night at the Microsoft Theater in the same attire as worn on the comedy-drama on the show, sporting red velvet dinner jacket, heavy white make-up, prosthetics and a bob cut wig. The character was played by the show’s star Donald Glover, but it’s unclear whether the actor-singer dressed up as Perkins who became a main attraction in the crowd and social media taking selfies during commercial breaks.
Perkins congratulated Bill Hader, who won an Emmy for best actor in a television comedy over Glover — last year’s winner.
Even Hader had no idea who was dressed up as Perkins.
“I don’t know who it was, but I know it was that guy from Atlanta,” Hader said backstage.
When Glover was shown in the crowd, Perkins was not around.
Perkins became one of the most intriguing figures during Atlanta’s second season because of his eerie appearance. The character tricked Darius, played by LaKeith Stanfield, into visiting his home.
BETTY WHITE STEALS THE SHOW
If that was a feel-good moment, what do you call the sublime appearance of 96-year-old White, honoured for 80 years in television?
The star of Golden Girls and The Mary Tyler Moore Show got such a huge ovation from the crowd that she quipped: “I’m just gonna quit while I’m ahead.”
“It’s incredible,” White said, “that you can stay in a career this long and still have people put up with you. I wish they did that at home.”
And she showed she wasn’t above — or beyond — a racy joke: “I want to thank Lorne Michaels for everything he’s done with me. I mean, for me,” she said of the Saturday Night Live creator and producer of the evening’s telecast.
POLITICS TAKES A BREAK
There was surprisingly little politics in the Emmys telecast; the name “Trump” was barely if ever mentioned. But Full Frontal host Samantha Bee got a few digs in.
Presenting the award for best drama actor with Taraji P. Henson, Bee was asked what drama she was watching. She was off and running.
“I’ve been watching this shocking dystopian drama called ‘the news,’” Bee said.
“I’m on approximately season 9,000. Gets darker and darker, but I can’t stop watching. You know, they really need to recast the lead.”
She suggested others might want to try, er, lighter fare.
“Just watch The Handmaid’s Tale instead,” she said. “It’s a lot more fun.”
A #METOO MOMENT
The #MeToo movement, on the other hand, was addressed right away by hosts Michael Che and Colin Jost.
“It’s an honour being here, sharing this night with the many, many talented and creative people in Hollywood who haven’t been caught yet,” Che said, to laughs.
Jost noted that drinks were being served to the audience.
“The one thing Hollywood needs right now is people losing their inhibitions at a work function,” he quipped.
Missing from the audience was former power player Leslie Moonves, the CBS Corp. chief who was ousted last weekend over sexual misconduct allegations. Che said one of the scariest things a Hollywood executive could hear right now is the message, “Sir, Ronan Farrow is on line one,” a reference to The New Yorker writer who has specialised in #MeToo stories, including the ones that led to Moonves’ downfall.
FINALLY, A WIN FOR MATTHEW RHYS
Welsh actor Matthew Rhys on Monday took home the Emmy for best actor in a drama series for his role in FX’s Cold War spy thriller The Americans — a big win for the critically acclaimed show in its final season. Some industry pundits have called it the “Jon Hamm factor,” as both actors won their lone Emmys for defining roles in their final year of eligibility.
Rhys bested a tough field that included last year’s winner Sterling K. Brown (This is Us), Ed Harris (Westworld), Milo Ventimiglia (This is Us), Jeffrey Wright (Westworld) and Jason Bateman (Ozark).
“Parts like these come along so rarely,” Rhys told the audience at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, thanking show creator Joe Weisberg. “What you created and risked, I will be forever in your debt.”
The 43-year-old Rhys starred for six seasons as Philip Jennings, part of a husband-wife team of Soviet sleeper agents posing as Americans — and living next door to an FBI agent.
NETFLIX AND HBO SHINE
Netflix Inc. won the most Emmy awards of any TV network Monday night, capping a sudden and dramatic rise to the top of the entertainment industry for a company that got its start as a DVD-by-mail operation.
Netflix earned seven awards during the prime-time presentation of Emmys and 23 overall, both records for the streaming giant. Its biggest prizes came for The Crown, a period drama about the British royal family, and Godless, a Western miniseries.
Even as it hit a new high, Netflix was denied the industry’s top honours: It failed to win a prize in any of the three most prestigious categories, losing out to rivals HBO, FX and Amazon.com Inc.
HBO, now part of AT&T Inc., won the outstanding drama award for Game of Thrones, a fantasy epic set in the land of Westeros. It was the third time in four years that the show has claimed that prize. HBO also tied Netflix for the most Emmys in total, with 23.