Television celebrated television Sunday night as the Emmys took the stage to celebrate the year's finest on the small screen. It was a night of surprises, moving speeches and a whole lot of plugs for "The Masked Singer" and AppleTV+. (Which, from what I know right now, seems to be about eight new TV shows and that's it?)
By this point, we've all likely read who won and who lost – but who REALLY won? And who REALLY lost? And who REALLY wouldn't mind if Jenny McCarthy didn't interview people on the red carpet again? Well, the answer to that last one is "everybody" – but as for the first two questions, here are the real winners and losers of last night's Emmys.
Going into the night, season two of Phoebe Waller-Bridge's critically acclaimed Amazon comedy was generally in the "happy to be there" category. Maybe it would score a writing victory, but otherwise most of its six major nominations were of the "the nomination is the win" variety, with "Veep" or fellow Amazon awards-friendly hit "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" likely to swipe the trophies.
That's certainly not how the night ended, however, as Waller-Bridge turned into the evening's biggest winner, scoring four wins – the most of any show in the major categories – including upset wins for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series and Outstanding Comedy Series. It's a massive bump for the show – which almost assuredly will rise to the top of most people's binge list as a result – and an official star-making moment for Waller-Bridge, who's been on the cusp of breaking it big for a few years with the show's first season, writing and creating fellow award-winner "Killing Eve" and her scene-stealing vocal role in "Solo."
Now it's official: With these massive wins – plus a role punching up the upcoming James Bond script – it's clearly not just the priest on "Fleabag" who's hot.
Loser: Angry "Game of Thrones" fans
It's fairly hilarious that, on the night of its greatest success, the fans who watched and obsessed over "Game of Thrones" for most of a decade were likely the same people most enraged by the show winning Outstanding Drama Series.
Indeed, if any "Thrones" fans still stewing over the show's anticlimactic ending (one more time: BRAN!?) and massive character leaps were looking for the Emmys to vindicate their anger and disappointment, they probably just found more anger and disappointment as the show came away the night's biggest winner, taking 12 total trophies – including the Emmys' top prize for drama and a Supporting Actor win for Peter Dinklage.
None of this was incredibly surprising. After all, the show came into the night with the most nominations of any competitor, so clearly it still had support and admiration. Plus, on some level, how could a TV awards show not reward one of the most watched, most discussed programs in the medium's history, appointment viewing in the era of binge-watching? In fact, if anything, the show underperformed Sunday night; sure, it was never going to win all of its 14 major nominations, especially considering several were competing against one another, but it lost in many places that were expected to be comfortable locks, particularly in supporting actress and directing.
So at least you have that, angry "Game of Thrones" fans. That and that awkward introduction bit THAT DIDN'T EVEN HAVE BRAN.
Boy, THAT'S a weird statement sans context. But the grim HBO miniseries had a very strong night, winning Outstanding Limited Series, Outstanding Writing and eight more awards over the likes of Netflix's favored "When They See Us," the star-studded "Fosse/Verdon" from FX and "A Very English Scandal," which is as British as it sounds – and therefore as likely to win as it sounds. But instead it was the co-writer of the "Hangover" sequels and the director of "Superhero Movie" claiming victory over the prestige-y likes of Ava DuVernay, Russell T. Davies and Amy Adams.
And to all those now getting ready to binge it now that it's won several major prizes: Have fun with that!
Loser: The show itself
For a night celebrating great television, the Emmys broadcast was a pretty bad television show – and no, Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel, not because there wasn't a host.
The decision to have comedian Thomas Lennon crack jokes announcing the winners to the stage was divisive at best; some of the gags landed, but overall there was a weird tonal clash considering a person's greatest professional moment getting undercut by some random voiceover jab. More egregious were the show's music choices bringing the stars to the stage, all poppy – and, in the case of any "Chernobyl" win, highly tone-deaf – hits that felt more in-line with an MTV awards show than TV's biggest night. Even the easier stuff, like the stage design, was biffed, resulting in the bizarre image of winners happily receiving their awards and giving proud speeches with their own giant, ominous face – in Waller-Bridge's case, complete with a bloody nose – lording over them.
What if you had to accept an Emmy award in front of a GIANT photo of your face with a bloody nose
I’m so sorry Phoebe you deserve better #Emmys pic.twitter.com/UK8eZGv2Ye — Rachel Syens 🎃 (@rachsyens) September 23, 2019
Fox has a bit of a reputation as the tackiest and loudest of the major networks – and Sunday night's production, winners and speeches aside, generally lived down to that reputation. Even the expected product placements and embedded show plugs played more garish than usual. In the end, sure, everyone was dressed up, but the show felt more like Applebee's than a night of respectable fine dining.
Winner: Red and pink
Apparently the big red carpet fashion theme of awards season – or for at least Emmy night – will be Starburst FaveREDs as red dresses with pink accents was the hot look of the evening, worn by Taraji P. Henson, Mandy Moore and more. And that has been Fashion Commentary From A Grown Man Who Still Wears His High School Homecoming Shirts In Public.
Loser: Red carpet hosts
Maybe it's the culture today – or maybe it's that they've probably already had a few by the time their limo pulls up – but celebrities have increasingly felt little pressure to hide their distain for the red carpet mouth-droolers asking them what they're wearing and if they're excited to be there tonight. And Sunday was no exception as E!'s Giuliana Rancic and Fox's Jenny McCarthy were brutally savaged on multiple occasions – mainly by Christina Applegate of "Dead to Me" – with no security in sight to protect them.
Christina Applegate was wearing Christian Dior and absolutely zero f*cks.
Winner: Billy Porter
EGOT ALERT! EGOT ALERT! After already claiming a Grammy and a Tony, Billy Porter got closer to history Sunday night after winning his Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama for his role of Pray Tell on FX's "Pose." And while he approaches a landmark, he already achieved one last night, becoming the first openly gay black man to win in the category. Plus, in the middle of all of that, he squashed a supposed side-eye beef with RuPaul.
Overall, a busy and successful night – so much so that he even made his giant hat, which either looked like the Nike logo gone nuts or like somebody tried to draw a fedora but fell asleep midway through, look good.
Loser: Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Considering she'd won literally every year in which she was nominated for "Veep," prognosticators had to feel pretty good predicting that Julia Louis-Dreyfus' famously tart turn as Selina Meyer would receive one final bow on Sunday night. However, apparently the voters weren't feeling so sentimental as instead Phoebe Waller-Bridge scored the upset win for "Fleabag," adding to the show's phenomenal night and giving "Veep" a goose egg in the major categories. Don't feel too bad, though; she has eight other performance trophies – one away from a new Emmy record – to console her. And also: Never feel bad for Selina Meyer.
Winner: Jason Bateman's face
Sure, Jason Bateman of Netflix's "Ozark" won the Emmy for Best Directing in a Drama Series, beating out buzzier and flashier competition like "The Handmaid's Tale," "Succession" and not one but three episodes of "Game of Thrones." But what REALLY made him a winner Sunday night was the moment his name was called to the stage and he turned into Michael Bluth.
That is the face of a man who's made a huge mistake. Or actually, THIS is the face of a man who's made a huge mistake:
Can you win an Emmy for best performance while sitting in the audience at an awards show?
Loser: Gwyneth Paltrow's ability to move
Congratulations to all the performances that won Emmy’s tonight but the best performance of the night is Gwyneth Paltrow’s walk to the stage pic.twitter.com/b2LLcmpU9c — Amy Adams’ Emmy (@prasejeebus) September 23, 2019
During the show, Gwyneth Paltrow came out on stage to present the award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. An hour later, she finally reached the microphone as she slowly and stiffly shuffled her way to the stand, possibly literally holding her dress together with her left hand and arm, and taking baby steps like her pants were around her ankles. Or like she had a jade egg stuck somewhere.
Winner: Staving off streaming
The cable king of TV awards, HBO, scored more total wins (34) than both Netflix (27) and Amazon (15). Plus it had the two biggest overall winners of the night – "Game of Thrones" with 12 and "Chernobyl" with 10 – so perhaps the streaming revolution hasn't quite conquered all just yet.
Loser: Network television
Broadcast networks have been dropping off the awards map for years now, with Sunday night serving as the latest nadir for the classic channels as they won the least amount of major awards yet and didn't even win an award until two hours into the evening ("SNL" for Best Variety Sketch Show, a trophy which probably should've gone elsewhere). But then again, pretty much everything will be streaming next year – with HBOMax, Disney+, Universal, AppleTV+, CBS All Access and every other studio and channel getting in on the new business model.
So I guess actually yes, the streaming revolution HAS pretty much conquered all already.
As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.
When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.