The Emmys are under way in downtown Los Angeles, with Michael Che and Colin Jost of Saturday Night Live hosting. Saturday Night Live owned the opener, Kate Mckinnon and Kenan Thompson first on stage, the pair singing about how the television industry had “solved” its diversity issues.
The pair saluted Sandra Oh, a nominee for Killing Eve.
“It’s an honor just to be Asian,” she quipped.
Andy Samberg wondered if there was any room left for a straight white guy, and was quickly booted off stage.
Thompson then got a phone call, with RuPaul providing the phone, informing him that the industry had not, in fact, solved diversity.
After a John Legend vocal number, Jost and Che came out. Che saluted the many accomplished people in Hollywood “who haven’t been caught yet.”
Jost spoke of the first Emmys 70 years before, when a gallon of gas and a house were cheap, and “we all agreed Nazis were bad.”
The pair saluted ABC comedy Black-ish, and Che said “Black-ish is how I’ve been told to behave tonight.”
Jost joked about Netflix’s “700 original series.” “It makes me realize the show I pitched them really sucked," he said.
Best supporting actor in a comedy went to Henry Winkler of HBO’s Barry.
“If you stay at the table long enough, the chips come to you,” he said, acknowledging that the chips had, indeed, come to him.
Best supporting actress in a comedy went to Alex Borstein of Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. She saluted the show’s brain trust, along with “the crew, the crew, the crew--you do everything.”
Borstein, who plays no-nonsense manager Susie on Mrs. Maisel, also mentioned her children. “None of this matters, but you matter,” she said.
Mrs. Maisel kept up its hot streak, as the Emmy for writing for a comedy went to Amy Sherman Palladino of that Amazon comedy. She credited her father for inspiring the series, and saluted the show’s cast for their “hard work, brilliance and endurance.”
The comedy directing trophy went to Sherman-Palladino. Sporting a trophy on each hip, she singled out the Maisel crew. “My crew, my crew, my crew--you are my everything,” she said.
She added, “My actors, I love you.”
Angela Bassett and Tiffany Haddish awarded outstanding lead actress in a comedy. “Royalty,” Haddish said of standing alongside Bassett.
Rachel Brosnahan of Marvelous Mrs. Maisel won. She said the show is "about a woman who is finding her voice anew."
Lead actor in a comedy was given to Bill Hader of Barry, breaking the Mrs. Maisel streak. He said his top skill on the show was hiring “great actors that made me look good.”
Supporting actress in a limited series or movie was given to Merritt Wever of Netflix’s Godless. “I really hope you don’t mistake my fear for a lack of gratitude,” she said, adding that she loved, and missed, her character Mary Agnes.
Supporting actor in a limited series went to Jeff Daniels, also of Godless. “If you’re gonna do a western, do it with [creator] Scott Frank,” he said, and thanked Netflix for letting “artists be artists.”
The writing in a limited series trophy went to William Bridges and Charlie Brooker of Netflix’s Black Mirror. Brooker called his Emmy “a delightfully horrifying out of body experience.”
Betty White was brought out on stage as the Emmys saluted its history. “I’m just gonna quit while I’m ahead,” she said after effusive applause.
White added, “It’s incredible that I’m still in this business and you’re still putting up with me.”
James Corden came out to give out the prize for directing in a limited series. He first saluted Betty White. “Last night she broke up a fight between Tom Arnold and Mark Burnett!” he said.
Ryan Murphy won for FX’s The Assassination of Gianni Versace. He cited his network partners, and “the women in my life who have supported me from Day One.”
“I’m very shocked,” Murphy concluded.
Lead actress in a limited series or movie went to Regina King for Netflix drama Seven Seconds.
“I wasn’t really expecting this but I am so grateful,” said an emotional King.
She thanked creator Veena Sud for creating a story that holds a mirror up to “what is going on today.”
Lead actor in a limited series or movie went to Darren Criss of The Assassination of Gianni Versace. He called it “the most extraordinary moment of my life thus far.”
Che did a bit called the Reparation Emmys, giving out trophies to deserving African-American actors who never were saluted for their work.
Writing for a comedy special was awarded to John Mulaney. Mulaney thanked his wife, who told him, “I just can’t fly across the country to watch you lose.”
Mulaney also gave a shout-out to “all the people who represent me, and their assistants, who do all the stuff.”
Outstanding director for a variety special went to Glenn Weiss of the Oscars. He called the moment “bittersweet,” as his mother passed away two weeks ago. He said his “heart is broken, and I don’t think it will ever be repaired. But she is in me.”
Weiss then proposed to his girlfriend, who joined him on stage with her answer (a yes).
HBO then claimed a couple awards. Best supporting actor in a drama was given to Peter Dinklage of HBO’s Game of Thrones. “Thank you, Dave [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss], for changing my life,” he said. “I cannot walk down the street anymore.”
Dinklage called the executive producers “the most talented” people he knows, along with his wife.
Outstanding actress in a drama was awarded to Thandie Newton of HBO’s Westworld. “I don’t even believe in god, but I’m gonna thank her tonight,” she said.
The writing for a drama series Emmy went to Joel Fields and Joe Weisberg of FX’s The Americans.
Weisberg called the Americans crew “the kind of team you wait your whole life to be on.”
Fields called FX chief John Landgraf “our friend, our inspiration.”
Directing for a drama went to Stephen Daldry of Netflix’s The Crown. Daldry was not in attendance.
Outstanding lead actor in a drama went to Matthew Rhys of The Americans. He said to Joe Weisberg, “What you created, wrote and risked, I will be forever in your debt.”
He thanked a “cast and crew you can only wish for in a fairy tale,” and FX chief John Landgraf and “his very merry band of men and women.”
Of his co-star and wife, Keri Russell, Rhys said, “I don’t have the words, I don’t have the time. Neither of which would do you justice.”
Lead actress in a drama series was awarded to Claire Foy from The Crown. “I had the most extraordinary 2 ½ years of my life,” she said, vowing not to cry. “I was given a role I thought I would never get to play.”
Foy spoke gleefully that “The show goes on, which makes me so, so proud.”
Outstanding reality competition program was picked up by RuPaul’s Drag Race on VH1.
“We are so happy to present this show,” said RuPaul.
He added, “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else? Can I get an amen?”
Outstanding variety sketch series went to NBC’s Saturday Night Live. Lorne Michaels accepted the Emmy. Michaels is also executive producer on the Emmys telecast.
“Working on [the Emmys] over the last month or so, urging everyone to talk for a short time,” he said, “it would be wrong for me to talk at length.”
“I love my job and I love the people I work with,” added Michaels.
Outstanding variety talk series went to HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. “Thank you to our staff, we’re incredibly proud of you,” said Oliver, apologizing for the staff’s cheap seats in the theater.
He thanked HBO’s executives for “incredible support,” and Glenn Weiss’s wife for saying yes to his proposal.
The outstanding limited series trophy went to The Assassination of Gianna Versace, as Ryan Murphy again stepped on stage. He thanked writer Tom Rob Smith, his exec producers, and network chiefs Dana Walden, Gary Newman, John Landgraf and Peter Rice.
The series is about “a lot of things,” he said, including homophobia and hatred. He dedicated the show to the LGBTQ community, and “all of those taken too soon.”
Will Ferrell presented outstanding comedy series, which went to The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
Daniel Palladino spoke on behalf of the series. He credited the crew for its amazing job in turning “modern-day New York into 1958 New York.”
He thanked Amazon for “a really great ride.”
“You guys have been nothing but supportive from the beginning,” he added.
Outstanding drama was awarded by Kenan Thompson. Game of Thrones picked up the honor, beating out The Americans, The Crown, The Handmaid’s Tale, Stranger Things and This Is Us.
D.B. Weiss spoke. “Writing for these actors behind us is the honor of the lifetime,” he said, then singled out George R. R. Martin, whose books birthed the series. “The show could not be without the mad genius of George.”
Weiss said there’s “no better place to work” than HBO.
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Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.