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The best acceptance speeches of the 2016 Emmys

The 2016 Primetime Emmys have come and gone, but its acceptance speeches will live on as endearing and memorable moments in awards show history. 

The best speeches resonated in part because they seemed as if they embodied a ceremony that was marked with intense emotions and shot through with indications that the increasingly inclusive landscape of “Peak TV” is here to stay.

CALLS FOR CHANGE

“Asian parents out there — if you could do me a favor — just a couple of you get your kids cameras instead of violins, we’ll be all good.” — Alan Yang, writer for a comedy, “Master of None”

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Accepting with “Master of None” co-creator Aziz Ansari, Yang delivered an early speech that set the tone for the night to come, talking about the importance of Asian American representation in pop culture and his hope that his show was just the beginning.

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“Please give transgender talent a chance. Give them auditions. Give them their story.” — Jeffrey Tambor, lead actor in a comedy, “Transparent”

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Tambor, who earned his second consecutive Emmy for his portrayal of transgender woman Maura Pfefferman, used his speech as an opportunity to plead the case for transgender performers trying to break through in Hollywood, going on to add: “I would be happy if I were the last cisgender male to play a transgender female.”

“Topple the patriarchy!” — Jill Soloway, director for a comedy, “Transparent”

It was Soloway’s second consecutive Emmy for her direction of “Transparent.” She used her time on stage to advocate for making individuals too often marginalized by society the subject of Hollywood’s stories, as opposed to their objects, before concluding her speech with her patriarchy-smashing rallying cry.

CALLS FOR KLEENEX

“I’m really crying. I’m not making it up." — Kate McKinnon, supporting actress in a comedy, “Saturday Night Live”

McKinnon, an exuberant presence on “Saturday Night Live,” cried tears of happiness during her acceptance speech Sunday night. Known for her impressions of Ellen DeGeneres and Hillary Clinton, both of whom scored shout-outs in the acceptance speech, McKinnon seemed genuinely shocked by the win.

“I’m so glad that he liked ‘Veep’ because his opinion was the one that really mattered.” — Julia Louis-Dreyfus, lead actress in a comedy, “Veep”

Though many may have expected Louis-Dreyfus’ speech for her fifth consecutive win as lead actress in a comedy win to be a perfunctory one, it became profoundly emotional when she dedicated her award to the memory of her father, William Louis-Dreyfus, who died just two days before.

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Jimmy Kimmel hosted a night full of unexpected wins, shattered records and presidential jokes.

See the most-read stories in Entertainment this hour »

As if Louis-Dreyfus’ words extolling her father weren’t enough, they were underlined by the actress’ trembling as she struggled to contain her emotions, her hands shaking so visibly that it appeared to hinder her reading from her notes. 

“I want to share this with two people: My daughter Alice, who is waiting at home, and the other one is waiting somewhere else, I hope.” — Patton Oswalt, writer for a variety special, “Patton Oswalt: Talking for Clapping”

Oswalt’s acceptance speech concluded with remarks that, for the uninitiated may seem mysterious but are actually an understated tribute to his late wife, Michelle McNamara. 

McNamara, a true-crime writer, died in April, the night before “Talking for Clapping” premiered. She was 46. 

THE BEST OF THE REST

“I, along with the rest of the world, had been superficial in my judgment, and I’m glad that I’m able to stand here in front of everyone today and say, I’m sorry.” — Sarah Paulson, lead actress in a limited series, “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”

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Although “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” proved to be a big winner at the Emmys, the person who seems to be benefiting the most from the reexamination of the landmark case is former Simpson prosecutor Marcia Clark. Thanks in large part to Paulson’s empathetic portrayal in the FX limited series, the collective culture seems to pleading mea culpa to Clark, and Paulson used her speech to put it into words.

“Please tell me you’re seeing this too.” — Rami Malek, lead actor in a drama series, “Mr. Robot”

First-time nominee and first-time winner Malek had a lovely speech speaking about the alienation of the character he plays and how he hopes his victory reminds people of the alienation we all carry with us. 

But as beautiful as Malek’s speech was, it would be difficult to top his opening line which saw him looking at the audience in awe and making direct reference to the unreliable narrator he had just won an Emmy for portraying.

“Obama out, Hillary in!” — Courtney B. Vance, lead actor in a limited series, “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton’s names were both bandied about plenty in Sunday night’s ceremony, including Jimmy Kimmel’s extended ribbing of Mark Burnett, the man Kimmel said is responsible for Trump’s presidential run. But few people made their case as succinctly and matter-of-factly as Vance.

Vance, whose portrayal of famed Los Angeles lawyer Johnnie Cochran earned him an Emmy, used his speech to extol the virtues of the cast and crew he worked with on “American Crime Story” as well as giving a shout-out to his wife Angela Bassett, telling her, “This one is for you, girl.”

Only as Vance was concluding his remarks did he give over to politics, stating his four-word endorsement, “Obama out, Hillary in,” and then leaving the stage.

libby.hill@latimes.com

Twitter: @midwestspitfire

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