The Emmys have come and gone and most sites have packed away their Emmys talk until next year. Not here at Awards Radar TV, the ARTV team is still discussing the highs, the lows, the expected wins, the surprises and the rest of the moments that made up the 73rd Emmy Awards.
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Now here’s what the Awards Radar team is saying about the Emmys.
While a fair share of unexpected winners emerged, this year’s Emmys were largely predictable and unexciting when it came to the big three categories. We knew Ted Lasso was unstoppable, while the timing was just right for The Crown to win Best Drama Series and The Queen’s Gambit has been in the public conversation for months.
Putting aside the show’s that they won for, I was delighted with so many British national treasures like Ewan McGregor, Kate Winslet and Olivia Colman taking home gold. Brett Goldstein’s win was also a standout and hopefully the first of many to come for him.
There’s something nice about a show that honors most of the expected winners yet still finds room to spread the wealth a little bit. Early on, it seemed like Ted Lasso, The Crown, and Mare of Easttown were going to win everything, and while that basically did happen, it still included some fun mini-surprises. The creators of Hacks were particularly delighted at their victories for writing and directing, and it would have been great to hear Tobias Menzies give an acceptance speech for his supporting actor win.
While it was awkward to have presenters introduced after the nominees had already been announced, it seemed unnecessary to say the full name of each category (“in a limited series…or anthology series…or movie”), and there was a lot of time devoted to jokes oddly specific to Cedric the Entertainer, most of the show was actually pretty fun and satisfying. The sincerity and excitement from most of the winners was a particularly welcome touch. Michaela Coel stopping Scott Frank on his way up to the microphone to shake his hand was a sign of respect, and then she got to deliver her own piece of writing in a show that really did emphasize repeatedly the importance of writers, among other non-acting talent. The energy and happiness espoused by Hannah Waddingham and Kate Winslet conveyed a true appreciation for a craft that the Emmys really seek to honor.
I’m thrilled that The Crown Season 4 won so many categories tonight, including Outstanding Drama Series. Especially Gillian Anderson, who’s incredible as Margaret Thatcher. Anderson won Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. On the other hand, I am a little sad that Michael K. Williams didn’t win a posthumous award for his performance as Montrose Freeman in Lovecraft Country. Also, I’m a little shocked that Olivia Colman won Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, but she was incredible as Queen Elizabeth II. Finally, I’m glad that Kate Winslet won an Emmy for Mare of Easttown. Her acting was so raw.
However, both Hannah Waddingham & Brett Goldstein winning “Outstanding Supporting …” in a Comedy Series for their roles in Ted Lasso Season One is not shocking since that show is so hot right now. Along with the fact that Jason Sudeikis also won an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. Ted Lasso is hilariously heartwarming, which is why it won the Outstanding Comedy Series. Hacks is one of my favorite new comedies, so I’m glad they won three Emmys (Writing for a Comedy Series, Directing for a Comedy Series, and Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series). Jean Smart deserves an Emmy for her whole career, not just Hacks. Lastly, Michaela Coel earned the Emmy for Outstanding Writer for a Limited or Anthology Series. Coel showed absolute mastery when she infused comedy in a profoundly personal traumatic event.
Watching the Emmys was a lot like watching Rita Wilson’s opening rap. It’s confusing, hilarious, joyous and embarrassing – all in the same moment. As host, Cedric the Entertainer kept the entire night moving at a buoyant pace, which is important when the night was full of multiple sweeps. The “Ted Lasso” crew kept everyone energized, with Supporting Winners Brett Goldstein and Hannah Waddingham giving some of the most authentically happy moments of the show. Meanwhile, the “Hacks” writing and directing wins were the type of great surprises we love to see from the Emmys. Meanwhile, on the drama side, “The Crown” had an all out sweep, with the only surprise being Olivia Colman beating an Esther Williams diving cap clad Emma Corrin. The high and low points of the evening came in the Limited Series field. Michaela Coel had the most succinct and powerful acceptance speech of the night, winning for Outstanding Writing in a Limited Series.
Similarly, the three Mare of Easttown winners were all joyous upsets, with Kate Winslet lighting up the room with her exuberance. However, “The Queen’s Gambit” director Scott Frank’s never ending battle with the orchestra was a real lose-lose situation for everyone. He sucked the air out of the room with his long winded ramblings and the music wasn’t strong enough to drone him out. Speaking of teleprompters, the Emmys had the good sense to let Honorary Award winner Debbie Allen have her time in the sun. The Oscars can take a few notes from this year’s Emmys (and last year’s COVID Emmys). While not all the winners and speeches were the best, the overall package for the show was entertaining and reverent. There’s a rich television history to celebrate and what better place to honor it than at the Emmys.
It says a lot when the biggest surprises at the Emmys come courtesy of Ted Lasso and The Crown winning the few categories where they were actually predicted not to win. Or the predicted Lead Actress winner of The Crown was beaten by *gasp* the other Lead Actress nominee from The Crown. Suffice to say, I largely found this year’s Emmys to be a snooze. Even the expected emotional moments, such as Michael K. Williams winning a posthumous award for Best Supporting Actor, were somehow undone by his largely considered locked win being usurped by Tobias Menzies for… another The Crown win.
The Emmys have always relied on filling out their ballots with the same series and actors over and over again, yet somehow in a year where people had more time sitting at home than ever, this reliance on habitual devotion to a tiny handful of series was worse than ever. It created a dire nomination morning, and an even more soporific Emmys ceremony, where even the battle between Mare of Easttown and The Queen’s Gambit in the Limited Series categories lost any excitement after hours of having to suffer through CBS forcing us to endure interstitial bits that seemed to flop harder in the room than they did through the television screen.
In the desperate search for bright spots amidst the rubble, there were a few to be found. For starters, Michaela Coel is now an Emmy winner. I May Destroy You certainly deserved more love than it got, as did series that had far fewer nomination totals, but at least it came away with one win at the end of it all. The other highlight? Conan O’Brien, celebrating the end of his tenure on TBS by pouring out more energy into that airless room than the rest of the crowd combined. At least someone was having fun on Emmys night.
I on the other hand enjoyed this year’s Emmys. The perfect ceremony? No. Not by far. But there was something comfortable about it both in the segments that flourished as well as those that failed. The focus was on television from start to finish. Sure a Pence fly joke felt as current as a fax machine, it provided me a much needed stretch break. Cedric The Entertainer did a good job moving things along and selling the jokes.
Even the sing-along/Biz Markie tribute was just cheesy enough to work. When I saw the giant television head singer there to start the segment I thought I was having 80s flashbacks, but as soon as LL Cool J and Rita Wilson grabbed the mics to work a room of enthusiastic audience I kind of loved it. Put aside the pretentiousness and celebrate this odd industry. It felt like a wedding reception with celebs getting caught up in the moments. The rest of the ceremony never matched the energy, and retained on cruise control which is fine. They didn’t bungle the In Memoriam as the Oscars did and that is important. Especially with the recent losses of Michael K. Williams and Norm MacDonald.
As for the winner and losers on the night. I for one honestly do see all the nominees as winners. With such a copious amount of content out there, to stand out above the rest is impossible. Sure people will be upset that one person did not win, that their lock was not so much a lock, but that will happen until the end of time. Take a step back, forget the winners and look at this great body of work put out this year. It is impressive.
The wins I was most excited about bookended the show. The was Brett Goldstein for his work as Roy Kent on Ted Lasso taking home Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy. When I first watched the series I gravitated to his character and thought I was on an island in my appreciation for his work. Nominations was a nice surprise to realize I was not ‘alone.’ And the win just put a huge smile on my face. The final award of the night Outstanding Limited Series was an award everyone was talking about – and with good reason. The nominees were ‘outstanding’ from top to bottom with something for everyone. I honestly would have been happy with any series winning, but in my heart I had a favorite, The Queen’s Gambit. There was so much about the series that I appreciated that repeat views only reinforced. It was deserving of the win and again had me smiling.
Some of the other moments that had me smiling, Michaela Coel’s win, Conan O’Brien being Conan O’Brien, Hannah Waddingham uncontainable joy for every Ted Lasso win, and Debbie Allen owning and inspiring on the mic, and those unexpected Hacks wins. There were more, of course. I was just very happy for the winners – I enjoyed all of their work.
Next year, I would like to see the nominations from a wider array of series. That was the biggest glaring flaw and will hopefully be address for next year’s Emmys. Sure, I loved Hamilton and Ted Lasso, but there was plenty else to love and for the sake of the industry it is important to dig a little deeper. Until next Emmys, Cheers!