The cast of Game of Thrones posing backstage with their Outstanding Drama Series award at the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, California on September 17, 2018. (Reuters)
LOS ANGELES − Game of Thrones and The Marvelous Mrs Maisel won the top prizes at the Emmy awards on Monday on a night of upsets for the highest honours in television and a triumph for streaming services.
Dystopian female show The Handmaid’s Tale and FX’s surreal hip-hop comedy Atlanta were the biggest losers, taking none of the most prestigious awards and making a disappointing night for stars Elisabeth Moss and Donald Glover.
HBO’s medieval fantasy Game of Thrones won a total of nine Emmys, including technical awards for special effects and stunts, and was named best drama series for a third time, beating last year’s champion The Handmaid’s Tale.
Netflix, which had a leading 112 nominations going into the Emmys, ended up tying HBO for the most wins, with 23 apiece.
Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs Maisel, about a 1950s housewife who turns to stand-up comedy, took home the Emmy for best comedy series. Mrs Maisel also won a total of seven other awards, including best actress for Rachel Brosnahan.
Claire Foy beat Moss to win for her quiet but formidable portrayal of Queen Elizabeth in Netflix drama The Crown. “This wasn’t supposed to happen,” said a surprised Foy.
Matthew Rhys took his first best drama actor Emmy for playing a conflicted Russian spy in the final season of the FX Cold War series The Americans.
Saturday Night Live won, as expected, for variety sketch series, taking its lifetime Emmy total to a record-setting 72 wins since 1975.
Emmy hosts Michael Che and Colin Jost from Saturday Night Live sprinkled the evening with skits and jokes about diversity on television, sexual misconduct in the entertainment industry, and the power of streaming services like Amazon and Netflix.
“It is an honour to be here sharing this night with the many, many talented and creative people in Hollywood who haven’t been caught yet,” Che said, alluding to the dozens of men who have been fired or forced to resign in the past year because of sexual harassment allegations.
“We solved it!” sang a line-up of celebrities, giving themselves a tongue-in-cheek pat on the back for the strides television has made for women, people of colour, and gay men and women behind and in front of the camera.
But despite one of the most ethnically diverse array of nominees, only Regina King (Seven Seconds) Thandie Newton (Westworld) and RuPaul (RuPaul’s Drag Race) made it to the winners’ podium.
“I don’t even believe in God, but I am going to thank her tonight,” Newton said.
Other big winners included The Assassination of Gianni Versace, for best limited series and actor Darren Criss, who played the gay serial killer who murdered the Italian designer in Miami in 1997. Creator Ryan Murphy dedicated the Emmy to the LGBT community.
One of the biggest shocks came when presumed front-runner Glover lost the comedy acting category to Bill Hader’s hitman-turned-struggling actor in HBO’s showbusiness satire Barry.
Barry also brought honours for veteran Henry Winkler, winning a standing ovation and his first-ever Emmy for his supporting role as a self-important acting teacher.
Yet the warmest applause came when Glenn Weiss used his acceptance speech for directing the televised 2018 Academy Awards show to propose to his girlfriend in the audience, Jan Svendsen. She said yes. (Reuters)