The Primetime Emmy Awards wrapped its 68th installment on Sunday, as many of Hollywood’s television elite (sans Maggie Smith) gathered to honor the best performances of the past television season. Jimmy Kimmel was on hand to host the evening, doing a commendable job delivering an entertaining Emmys broadcast.
Here are the moments that stood out from Sunday’s telecast:
Jeb Bush’s incredible cameo
— Ugene's Politics
The United States’ absurd political climate was referenced multiple times throughout the night, but the best nod to the current election cycle was Jeb Bush’s hilarious cameo. In Kimmel’s opening monologue, the one-time Republican presidential candidate appeared as a limo driver.
Bush was a great sport, telling Kimmel he was in between jobs. He expressed glee at making $12 an hour as an Uber driver. The former Florida governor then asked Kimmel what it was like to be nominated before joking “If you a run a positive campaign, the voters ultimately will make the right choice” and driving off. Whether you agree with Bush politically, it was a superb, surprisingly well-acted cameo.
Game of Thrones “Battle of the Bastards” wins all the Emmys
HBO’s epic fantasy Game of Thrones entered the evening with 23 nominations and ultimately pulled 12 awards, including a second consecutive Best Drama Series win for its spectacular sixth season. Thrones undoubtedly deserved the honor (unlike last year) jam-packing 10 episodes with plenty of battles, payoff, and intrigue for what’s to come, despite being forced to deviate from George R. R. Martin’s source material.
“Battle of the Bastards,” arguably the series’ best episode, picked up awards for directing (Miguel Sapochnik), writing (David Benioff and D. B. Weiss) and single-camera editing (Tim Porter). Considering the epic scale of “Bastards,” it’s no surprise that the episode, like Jon Snow, reigned supreme. Receiving no acting awards was odd, however.
There was a variety of new winners and heartfelt award dedications, leading to multiple noteworthy speeches.
Veep’s Julia Louis-Dreyfus broke down in tears after winning her sixth consecutive Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. An emotional Louis-Dreyfus dedicated the award to her father, William, who passed away on Friday.
“I’m so glad that he liked me because his opinion was the one that really mattered.”
First-time winners shared surprise at capturing an Emmy. Mr. Robot’s Rami Malek delivered a fine speech upon winning Best Actor in a Drama Series, asking the audience “please tell me you’re seeing this too,” in response to the huge career moment. Saturday Night Live’s Kate McKinnon tearfully accepted Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, thanking Ellen DeGeneres and Hillary Clinton (who McKinnon immaculately impersonates) for the trophy.
Also, Master of None’s Alan Yang asked for more representation in Hollywood for Asian-Americans while urging “a couple” of Asian parents to get cameras for their kids instead of violins.
Also, Saturday Night Live’s Leslie Jones addressed the recent online harassment she was subject to on Twitter and her website.
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) September 19, 2016
Jeffrey Tambor, Sarah Paulson, Tatiana Maslany, and Courtney B. Vance were among the many other winners who delivered great speeches. The 68th Emmys were filled with them, making for several memorable moments during the evening.
Tatiana Maslany was finally recognized for her outstanding multi-character performance in BBC America’s Orphan Black. The Canadian actress won for the second time she was nominated. But the award, while warranted, felt like a product of her past performance and not necessarily the most recent season. Orphan Black’s last couple seasons haven’t drawn the same praise as the series’ first two.
Maslany is incredible and has long been lauded for her work, but it would make more sense if she won a couple years ago. Either way, I’m glad she’s finally recognized.
The same could be said for Bloodline’s Ben Mendelsohn. The Australian actor turned in a much more stirring performance in season one of the Netflix drama. He was continually solid in season two, but his character didn’t have as much to do. Winning over Kit Harrington and Jonathan Banks doesn’t add up. But again, the Emmys has a history of paying back past snubs, so Mendelsohn has earned it.
FX cleans up with American Crime Story: The People V. O.J. Simpson
We were thoroughly impressed with FX’s American Crime: The People vs O.J. Simpson, as were the Emmys voters. The show picked up four awards in the Limited Series or Movie category, including Lead Actress (Paulson), Lead Actor (Vance) and supporting actor (Sterling K. Brown). The People vs. O.J. also picked up Outstanding Limited Series. Voters did an impeccable job honoring the three best performances from the series. John Travolta, David Schwimmer, and Cuba Gooding Jr. would have been sexier, more surprising picks, but the show’s standout performances appropriately got the nod.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Louie Anderson’s win for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy for his role as Christine Baskets in FX’s Baskets. It’s an amazing revival to a seemingly dead career, as the 62-year-old’s latest IMDB credits include multiple reality show appearances and late-night talk shows.
Snub Snub Snubs
The biggest snub of the night was Fargo getting shut out almost entirely. The FX limited series earned 18 nominations, but won only sound editing and cinematography, and failed to capture a single Primetime Emmy. Fargo‘s second season was arguably better than its excellent first, but the show fell victim to competing against heavyweight The People vs. O.J. Simpson. There was no wiggle room for the show, even if Bokeem Woodbine, Noah Hawley, and Kirsten Dunst warranted recognition.
HBO’s Silicon Valley failed to receive a single Emmy, despite 11 nominations in the comedy category. Lead Thomas Middleditch’s neurotic performance as Richard deserves Emmy gold, but with Transparent’s Jeffrey Tambor oddly occupying the Lead Actor in a Comedy (he should be in the drama grouping) for years to come, he’s a lock to continually win (as Kimmel pointed out).
Perhaps the most surprising snub was Beyonce’s visual album HBO’s Lemonade falling to The Late Late Show Carpool Karaoke Primetime Special in the Oustanding Variety, Music, or Comedy Special. Lemonade was a genuine pop culture phenomenon from arguably the biggest solo artist on the planet. It was tremendously produced and a stunning package to watch. I like Carpool Karaoke just fine, but this is Beyonce!
[Image via Emmys.com]