Lots of statues were handed out during the 69th annual Primetime Emmy Awards, a night filled with big triumphs and only a few major disappointments. It was an exciting night for diversity, an exciting night for women in front of the camera as well as behind the scenes, and an exciting night for fans of Donald Glover. Below are some of the notable winners and losers from the evening, including one cameo that didn’t do anyone any favors.
People were unsure how the frequent Emmy powerhouse might perform, since the news about it ending with Season 7 came out after nominations voting had closed. The answer: as well as usual, with star Julia Louis-Drefyus breaking records for with her historic sixth win for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy.
LOSER: Sean Spicer
His cameo during Stephen Colbert’s opening monologue only highlighted how brutal Melissa McCarthy’s Emmy-winning parody of Trump’s former press secretary was.
WINNER: Laura Dern
“Big Little Lies” was always going to perform, but Laura Dern’s win for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series was an early indicator that the HBO drama was an Academy favorite.
Dern, backstage, was effusive about her experience working on the series, while addressing the question of whether or not a second season was in the works. “That’s up to Liane Moriarty, to see what she would come up with,” she said.
To what does she credit her incredible year? “Great directors I consider my family,” she said, such as Jean-Marc Vallee and David Lynch. “It’s about finding your tribe and sticking with it.”
LOSER: “The Crown”
Netflix’s big wins of the night came courtesy of “Black Mirror: San Junipero,” which took home the trophies for Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series or TV Movie and Outstanding TV Movie. But the streaming giant’s big bet was on its prestige drama “The Crown,” which performed well in terms of nominations but ultimately only took home the prize for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama, thanks to John Lithgow.
WINNER: Donald Glover
The “Atlanta” star/creator was humble in accepting his award for Outstanding Directing for a Comedy, thanking fellow director/”best friend” Hiro Murai for his contributions to the series. Later, when accepting the award for Outstanding Actor in a Comedy, he made a point of thanking Donald Trump, “for making black people No. 1 on the most oppressed list.”
But he was ultimately quite modest: “I just want to make quality,” Glover told reporters backstage, clenching his two trophies.
WINNER: Lena Waithe
“Master of None” co-creator Aziz Ansari let his collaborator speak when the pair won for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, which felt fair given that “Thanksgiving,” the episode for which they won, was a deeply personal installment for the writer and actor, tackling the coming out story of her character across many years. Waithe was the first African-American woman to win for comedy writing and dedicated her award to LGBTQIA audiences.
“It means a lot to me,” she said backstage about her history-making win. “I hope it will open people’s eyes, so that women of color can have a seat at the table.”
WINNER: “Saturday Night Live”
Between Kate McKinnon, Alec Baldwin and director Don Roy King — not to mention actually winning for Variety Sketch Series — it was a good night for stalwart “SNL,” a series which benefitted hugely from an insane news cycle last year.
“Thank you to Hillary Clinton for your grace,” McKinnon said while accepting her award. Baldwin did not make a similar statement regarding Donald Trump.
ABC’s popular and critical hit performed well in terms of nominations, but wasn’t able to break through to the winners’ circle, as the Academy chose to dole out its affections on “Veep” and “Atlanta.” Unfortunate news for the comedy, which went hard this year for a win.
“Bring women to the front and make them the heroes of their own stories,” Reese Witherspoon declared as the team behind “Big Little Lies” accepted the award for Best Limited Series. “More great roles for women, please and thanks,” winner Nicole Kidman echoed.
It was a theme echoed across the board, including by “Black Mirror” star MacKenzie Davis, who observed that not only were there so many women recognized over the course of the night, but the sorts of roles recognized went beyond “strong female characters,” to represent a wide range of women on screen.
WINNER: “The Handmaid’s Tale”
You can’t talk about the way women represented at the Emmys this year without discussing the iconic “Handmaid’s Tale,” which helped Hulu become the first streaming platform to win any top award at the Emmys.
“Streaming has arrived,” executive producer Warren Littlefield declared, adding that “our allies at Hulu are fearless […] each and every day they encourage us to go for it. That kind of support is exceptional. No one ever said pull it back.”
Not holding back was winner Elisabeth Moss, whose acceptance speech for Outstanding Actress in a Drama was aden with F-bombs. “That was the clean version,” she said backstage.
Showrunner Bruce Miller said, “You don’t want to tell people what to take away from a show like this. If we’ve done our job well, it means something different from everybody.” His primary hope was that Season 1 would get people excited to watch Season 2.
Meanwhile, author Margaret Atwood praised Miller for upholding one of her book’s central premises: “Never believe it can never happen here.”