There was an awkward moment in the press room when Lena Waithe and Aziz Ansari of "Master of None" were asked to step aside at the Emmys on Sunday night to make way for the cast and crew of “Big Little Lies,” fresh off their win for limited series.
Instead of being ushered to the podium to take questions since they were there, Waithe and Ansari were escorted to the side where they waited patiently through a long question-and-answer session once the “Big Little Lies” team arrived. (The situation would've been uncomfortable regardless of which shows were involved, but the optics weren't great.)
It was just before 10 p.m., and the cast of "The Handmaid's Tale" hadn't yet arrived at Hulu's Emmy party at downtown L.A.'s Otium — the curse of being winners and making the media rounds at the Microsoft Theater. Their presence was felt in other ways, though — like with specialty cocktails: "Blessed be the Fruit," "Praise Be" and "Under His Eye."
By 11 p.m., the cast began making their way into the Hulu party.
Donald Glover, the multi-hyphenate behind FX’s groundbreaking comedy “Atlanta,” became the first black director to win an Emmy for comedy direction. Glover won for “B.A.N.,” an experimental stand-alone episode set in “Atlanta’s” alternate-universe Black Entertainment Television. It was one of the first-year series’ best episodes, blistering in its honest and funny look at race, outrage culture and black masculinity.
Glover also won the Emmy for lead actor in a comedy, becoming just the second black man to take that award. Robert Guillaume won for “Benson” in 1985.
It turns out Stephen Colbert may be more than the typical Emmy "host."
Or so viewers were led to believe during a skit that transported the Emmy emcee to the world of "Westworld."
When Colbert started spouting gibberish on stage, two people clad in hazmat suits appeared to drag him away. When Colbert came to, he was face to face with Jeffrey Wright, a.k.a. Bernard from HBO's "Westworld."
With “Game of Thrones” debuting too late to be eligible for this year’s Emmys, plenty of fresh names were in the running for best drama series. But ultimately, Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” — based on Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel about a futuristic, totalitarian patriarchal theocracy that prizes fertile women above all else — scored the top honor.
Creator Bruce Miller had no trouble answering what he hopes audiences will take away from the show: “a desire to watch the second season," he replied quickly. "No, if we’ve done our job well, it’ll be different for everyone who watches it.”
On Hulu being the first streaming service to win one of the Emmy’s top two prizes,” Miller added: “The way Hulu handled our show, they were bold and behind us and committed to making something different. If streaming services continue to do that, I don’t see a limit to what they [can do].”
In a backstage reveal at the Emmys, Brooker explained that the episode — starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Mackenzie Davis — about technologically star-crossed lovers, was originally written for a heterosexual couple. It wasn't until Brooker decided to make them a queer couple that things started to fall into place.
“It became more fun, more interesting,” he said. “It was sort of easiest to write in a way. We felt we captured something special, and the reaction has been quite overwhelming — the way people have taken it to heart. I’m genuinely a cynic, as you can tell from the series, so the fact that this happened blows up my worldview.”
Among the biggest winners at the 2017 Emmy Awards: LGBTQ stories and storytellers.
Kate McKinnon was one of the early winners of the evening Sunday, beating a field that included some of her “Saturday Night Live” colleagues to take home the award for supporting actress in a comedy series. The first openly lesbian cast member of the sketch comedy show, McKinnon made her mark this season with portrayals of Hillary Clinton, Jeff Sessions, Kellyanne Conway, Betsy DeVos and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Lena Waithe of “Master of None” made history as the first black woman to win the Emmy for writing in a comedy series. Waithe, who also plays Denise on the Netflix series, co-wrote the “Thanksgiving” episode with the show’s co-creator, Aziz Ansari. The intensely personal story was based on Waithe’s own coming out story.
Making it from the Emmys broadcast home at the Microsoft Theater to the convention center across the street, where the Governors Ball is held, is no easy feat for those in heels. But even with screaming toes and ankles betraying our age, the select few with ball tickets make the trek.
"We're all teetering at this point of the night," actress Yvette Nicole Brown said. "But I'm not above taking these off... I don't care if it's downtown. They can talk."
Her friend, actress Anika Noni Rose, laughed and mused about what could make the walk easier in the future.
For its 69th festival of self-benediction, broadcast Sunday on CBS, the Television Academy brought on Stephen Colbert as its master of ceremonies. Already on the CBS payroll, already schooled in hosting — it is two years almost to the day that, having abandoned his ironic “Colbert Report” persona, he took over “The Late Show” — he was an obvious choice for this job. It was a choice made even easier, to be sure, as his numbers improved and the narrative surrounding “The Late Show” turned from disappointment to delight.
As a comedian, it’s Colbert’s job to take things apart, but he is temperamentally a thoughtful, philosophical, gracious, happy sort of humorist. Like “The Late Show,” where Colbert shows himself more interested in philosophy than celebrity self-promotion, Colbert’s Emmys show was, not surprisingly, genial, pointed, exuberant, just a little bit outrageous and marked by a kind of bemused patience with the vanities of Hollywood that did not exempt the host. When he led the audience in “the traditional Hollywood prayer: Lord, thank you for giving us talent and beauty and the gaping hole inside of each of us that craves love and will never be filled,” that was not meant just in fun. . . .
. . .The monologue began as a mix of good and bad jokes, like any late-night monologue, mostly on lightweight topics. There was the usual engaging with selected stars in the front row seats. But it was the Donald Trump jokes — the current administration being the source of much of “The Late Show’s” invigorated focus — that one awaited.
Why didn’t you give him an Emmy? If he had won an Emmy, I bet he wouldn’t have run for president. This is all your fault.
Here it is, the obligatory roundup of Emmy favs kissing on their Atom lady. But what sparks this trophy love between recipient and award? Is this genuine joy from an ecstatic winner, or was it prompted by the red carpet photographers angling for a quality photo-op?
Truly this is the chicken and the egg conundrum of award season. We may never know the answer, but also who cares Lena Waithe looks great holding gold.