Phoebe Waller-Bridge and ‘Maisel’ are talk of the Emmys party at Governors Ball

Standing on the L.A. Live Event Deck at the Governors Ball, beside tables designated for the “Fleabag” team, the show’s guest actress nominee, Fiona Shaw, shared her thoughts on Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the night’s big Emmy winner for lead actress, writing and top comedy series.

“Phoebe is like a swan, lit by lightning,” Shaw said Sunday night. “She opens her wings and Zeus comes out of the sky. She said tonight — and ‘many a true word is spoke in jest’ — that she finds writing hard. And writing is hard, but her genius is in this ability to write comedy cheek by jowl with tragedy. She is a phenomenon, and if you ever ring her and ask her to say something funny for a scene, she can do that.”

So maybe “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” didn’t sweep the Emmys again this year. Amy Sherman-Palladino, the show’s writer-director-producer, said she was “still flying” from last week’s win over “Game of Thrones” for cinematography at the Creative Arts Emmys.

Besides that, the show won Emmys for supporting actor Tony Shalhoub, supporting actress Alex Borstein, guest actor Luke Kirby, guest actress Jane Lynch and three more Creative Arts categories.

“I’m so proud of our cinematographer [M. David Mullen],” Sherman-Palladino said as she entered the party. Minutes later, Shalhoub arrived, carrying his gold statue.


John Oliver at Governors Ball
John Oliver, winner of the awards for variety talk series and writing for a variety series for “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver,” at Sunday’s Governors Ball.
(Invision for the Television Academy)

Inside the black tent, chandeliers dripped with crystals, a band played from a revolving stage, and food stations featuring beef tenderloin and a white cheddar potato dish lined the walls.

Not far from the entrance, Chrissy Metz, Justin Hartley, supporting actor nominee Chris Sullivan and other members of the “This Is Us” family clustered around two comfortable-looking sofas.

Farther back, between a “Sliders N’ Chips” bar and a dessert station covered in cookies and cups of Lindt chocolate pot de crème, fans lined up to meet John Oliver, the night’s winner for variety talk series. Some requested photos, while others simply heaped on praise, as one admirer said, for starting his own church to illustrate a story.

The Emmys went off script this year with delightful, shocking wins for “Fleabag,” Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Jodie Comer.

This being the HBO area, members of the “Chernobyl” team weren’t far away. Jared Harris, a lead actor nominee, expressed his hope that the show’s 10 wins — which included writing, directing and limited series — “will drive more people to see the show, and encourage filmmakers to take more risks, and take on these kinds of tough subjects.”

A nominee in in the supporting actor category, Stellan Skarsgard said, “Winning in the heavy categories — writing, directing and the show — that’s what makes me happy. [‘Chernobyl’] is not plain entertainment. It’s about something.”

Allegra Riggio, left, and Jared Harris
“Chernobyl’s” Jared Harris, with wife Allegra Riggio, at the Governors Ball.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Two nights before at a pre-Emmys party, Anthony Carrigan, a supporting actor nominee for “Barry,” said he’d be “stoked” if any cast member won an Emmy; indeed, Bill Hader took the prize for lead actor in a comedy series.

“I’m really happy that Bill won,” Carrigan said. “He works hard and I’m glad that people are giving him recognition.”

On the opposite side of the tent, in the Netflix section, the company’s chief content officer, Ted Sarandos, held up an Emmy as he posed for pictures with Charlie Brooker, creator of “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch.”

After noting that Netflix had won four Primetime Emmys and, counting Creative Arts awards, a total of 27 Emmys, Sarandos called the ‘Bandersnatch’ win “a part of television and Emmy history, as ‘Bandersnatch’ is the first interactive movie to ever win for best television movie.”

He then added, “It’s always nice to break new ground.”