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Emmys 2016: 6 of the Night’s Most Exciting Moments for Diversity

Kate McKinnon, Rami Malek, Aziz Ansari and more inspired us and made history during this year's Emmys.

THE 68TH EMMY(r) AWARDS - “The 68th Emmy Awards” broadcasts live from The Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, Sunday, September 18 (7:00-11:00 p.m. EDT/4:00-8:00 p.m. PDT), on ABC and is hosted by Jimmy Kimmel

ABC/Image Group LA


Jill Soloway wants to topple the patriarchy. This is not the sort of thing you hear chanted all that often during an awards show, yet when Soloway won for her work on the “Transparent” episode “Man on the Land,” that’s exactly what she said.

By the way, the last time a man won for directing a comedy was Steve Levitan in 2012, for “Modern Family.” In 2013 and 2014, Gail Mancuso took the prize for her episodes of “Modern Family,” and in 2015 Soloway won for the first season of “Transparent.”

So the patriarchy might be just a little wobbly as it stands.

Jeffrey Tambor wants more opportunities for trans talent: As a cis male playing a trans woman, Tambor’s casting on “Transparent” has become an increasingly controversial element of the otherwise groundbreaking Amazon series, and this Sunday both he and Soloway addressed it head-on.

“I just hope there are more opportunities for transgender talent,” he said. “I would very much like to be the last cisgender male playing a transgender female. I think we are there now.”

Alan Yang and Aziz Ansari do the numbers: Winning for their heartfelt writing on Netflix’s “Master of None,” the duo made the point, both in their acceptance speeches and also backstage, that there was a need for more Asian voices in entertainment.

Comparing the equal number of Asian-Americans to the number of Italian-Americans in this country (17 million), Yang noted that “They have ‘The Godfather,’ ‘Goodfellas,’ ‘Rocky,’ ‘The Sopranos.’ We got Long Duk Dong. So we got a long way to go, but I know we can get there.”

Sarah Paulson and Kate McKinnon’s big night. Both women, who are openly gay, took home their first-ever Emmy wins for Lead Actress in a Limited Series and Supporting Actress in a Comedy, respectively. McKinnon is also the first to win that category as an “SNL” cast member. Even Hillary Clinton was thrilled for her.

Tatiana Maslany wins, and the #CloneClub delights: It’s not just that the cult favorite actress has stunned us with her work on “Orphan Black” for the last four seasons, but that she’s brought to life over a half dozen characters with modesty and humor. “I feel so lucky to be on a show that puts women at the center,” she said during her acceptance speech.

Backstage, Maslany described the “immense joy in getting to tell women’s stories that you don’t normally see,” also shouting out to the different groups who have responded to the show, from little girls to the LGBT community. “It’s a really connective thing, in terms of the fans.”

Tatiana Maslany

Susanne Bier triumphs with “The Night Manager.” AMC Network’s one big win was well-deserved — in coming to television for the first time, the Danish director crafted a six episode miniseries that kept us on the edge of our seats, even as we were struck by its moments of lyrical beauty.

Rami Malek is the first non-white actor to win Best Actor in a Drama since 1998. The actor to precede him was Andre Braugher for “Homicide: Life on The Street.” That is quite some time.

Malek gave a heartfelt speech on stage, and as soon as he got off camera, he admitted backstage, “The emotion poured out of me — hugging Jimmy Kimmel and crying and trying not to get anything on this suit.”

When asked about his connection with Elliot, the isolated and lonely hacker he plays on “Mr. Robot,” Malek remarked that “I think we all have things in common with him — we live in a world where people feel voice-less, where we’re not being heard by our governments our society.”

Malek also reflected on his own experiences growing up as the son of immigrants, with parents who sacrificed “so they could give their children the opportunity to be special.”

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