Slowest Emmys? Whitest Emmys? Most romantic Emmys? The 70th Annual Emmy Awards deserve their own superlatives, but for now let’s break down the best and worst moments of the night ‚Äď as well as a few that were neither here nor there.
The Mrs. Maisel sweep
Early in the night, before the telecast got awkwardly white, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel kicked things off with energizing wins for women in television and comedy, including lead actress Rachel Brosnahan and TV powerhouse Amy Sherman-Palladino, who was the first woman to win for both writing and directing in the same season.¬†
Leslie Jones straight up yelling for Regina King
Jones and RuPaul presented King with Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie for Netflix’s Seven Seconds. At that point, over an hour into the show, King was the first person of color to win any award, and both presenters were shocked in the best way to read her name in the envelope. Jones shrieked with joy and didn’t stop until King took over the microphone, and we were right there with her.
That freaking marriage proposal
Oscars director Glen Weiss won an Emmy for the March telecast, but he proceeded to win over the entire room and Emmy audience at home by turning his speech into a marriage proposal.¬†
“You wonder why I don’t call you my girlfriend?” he asked his then-girlfriend-now-fiancee Jan Svenson. “It’s because I want to call you my wife.” It thawed the cold, dead hearts of Team Mashable, and of most of Twitter, a real feat!
Love for RuPaul’s Drag Race
It’s amazing to think that after 10 seasons of outstanding television, RuPaul’s Drag Race has only won an Emmy Award now.¬†
Aside from its commitment to onscreen drama and the overall craftsmanship of the show, Drag Race has been responsible for introducing hundreds of thousands of people to the great and wonderful art of drag. The show has made bona fide stars out of queens like Sharon Needles and Trixie Mattel and made RuPaul into even more of a household name. Giving Drag Race a well-deserved Emmy, as well as Rupaul’s 2018 win for Host For A Reality Competition program, has been long coming.
Hannah Gadsby tore a well-deserved hole in the fabric of stand-up comedy with her electrifying Netflix special Nanette, and while Nanette isn’t eligible for an Emmy until next year, Gadsby still got to have her Emmys moment at the 2018 ceremony. She presented the Emmy for Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series to an absent Stephen Daldry for The Crown, but not before spending her few moments onstage with a hilarious monologue that called back to her comedy special. “Not all men,” she said, “but a lot of them! It’s just jokes, but what are jokes these days? We don’t know. Nobody knows what jokes are, especially not men.”¬†
It was refreshing to hear Gadsby back on her beat, and best of luck to her in the 2019 For Your Consideration circuit.
The opening number
It was possible that “We Fixed It,” the opening number starring Kate McKinnon, Kenan Thompson, Kristen Bell, Ricky Martin, Sterling K. Brown, and a bunch of other stars, would make it onto the “Best Moments” part of this list. Unfortunately, the musical number poked fun at the traditional lack of diversity in Emmy nominations and this year’s relatively diverse crowd of nominees…and was followed by a steady stream of awards given to white creators and actors. While later awards did go to actors of color, the first hour of the show made the genuinely funny musical number seem hypocritical and awkward.
Of all the celebrities expected at the Emmys, Teddy Perkins was probably the least likely to show up. The terrifying Atlanta character, (probably?) played by Donald Glover, showed up clapping all weird in the audience and quite frankly, scared everyone at home. The real mystery, however, was who was behind the Teddy Perkins mask? Glover was spotted in the audience, so it couldn’t have been him. Did…did the real Teddy Perkins rise from the grave for a posthumous appearance? Yikes!
Colin Jost and Michael Che
Saturday Night Live‘s “Weekend Update” hosts were inexplicably tepid hosts, repeatedly upstaged by every pair of presenters they introduced, some of whom had just met (Sandra Oh and Andy Samberg! We ship it!). Their political commentary lacked the bite that others provided (Samantha Bee calling the news her favorite show and suggesting Robin Wright take over as lead character), and the highlight of the gig for Che was easily his “Reparations Emmys” bit, which was prerecorded. Sorry guys, but it’s back to the Update desk for you.
The lack of diversity
Okay, we’ve already said it, but we need to keep saying it because clearly, this isn’t going away. There were a few sweet victories for women, people of color, and LGBTQIA+ creators, but James Corden’s #EmmysSoWhite joke was one of the night’s cringe-iest for how true it rang. Black stories and creators lost many major categories, the sole Asian American actress snubbed (an oft-touted statistic that is itself an embarrassment), and Latinx voices all but shut out.
The general boredom
It’s not that the Emmys are the place to go all fire and brimstone on the terrifying state of Hollywood in the wake of several sexual assault scandals and the general state of American politics, but it’s hard not to wish they’d at least tried.¬†
Aside from a few blunted jokes from Jost and Che, there wasn’t a lot of spice or commentary in this year’s telecast. Aside from some of the more timely nominations, this year’s Emmys sounded like they could have taken place in any previous year, as opposed to using its national platform to speak to the uncomfortable truths that the past year’s news cycle has unearthed. Che and Jost’s hosting didn’t help, but the writing also seemed to beg the industry’s bigger questions.