In Review

Emmys 2017 highlights: the big winners

The Handmaid’s Tale, Veep, Big Little Lies, and SNL claim top prizes

Game of Thrones has handed its Emmys crown to female-led dramas, with big wins for The Handmaid’s Tale and Big Little Lies at this year’s awards. 

Ceremony host Stephen Colbert ensured politics was also in the spotlight during Sunday night’s event, at the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles. The satirist delivered a politics-laden opening monologue, with frequent mentions of Donald Trump - and there was a surprise cameo from the president’s former press secretary, Sean Spicer.

Colbert also thanked Game of Thrones on behalf of all of the nominees for being ineligible for the awards this year, owing to its later-than-usual air date. 

Here are some of the key moments of the night.

Female-led drama

It was a great night for female-led drama, with two big winners emerging. Top honours this year went to the dystopian series The Handmaid’s Tale. The show won five awards, including best drama, best actress, for Elisabeth Moss, and best supporting actress, for Ann Dowd. 

Leading lady Moss drew the attention of censors during her acceptance speech. Addressing her mother in the audience, the actress said: “You have taught me that you can be kind and a f***ing badass” - which was then “bleeped out” in the TV coverage, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Domestic dramas

Domestic noir Big Little Lies also scooped five awards, including acting wins for Nicole Kidman and Laura Dern. Kidman said her role had “shone a light” on the “insidious disease” of domestic abuse, and thanked her family for their sacrifices.

But OK! magazine points out that while Kidman thanked her two youngest daughters, she forgot to mention her two adopted children with Tom Cruise. OK! claims some viewers were “shocked” by the omission. 

Topical speeches

Writing in Time magazine, Ashley Hoffman says that in a charged political climate, topical speeches defined the night. Host Colbert even looked at the camera to address Trump directly, Hoffman notes. 

“Hello sir. Thank you for joining us. Looking forward to the tweets,” Colbert said.

And the “hits only got more pointed from there”, writes Hoffman.

Colbert then segued into Sean Spicer - “the cameo of the night”. The audience “lost it” as Trump’s former press secretary came out to assess the crowd size. 

When asked about the audience, Spicer said: “This will be the largest audience to witness an Emmys, period! Both in person and around the world” - referencing his own controversial comments on the disputed crowd size at the president’s inauguration.

Trump’s Emmy gripes

The awards also honoured political comedy, with wins for Julia Louis-Dreyfus in Veep, and Alec Baldwin for his Saturday Night Live performances as Trump.

Louis-Dreyfus joked that her series had developed a narrative about impeachment but abandoned it for fear that someone would get there before them.

Meanwhile, Baldwin addressed Trump's long-running gripes about his failure to win an Emmy for The Apprentice: “I suppose I should say, at long last, here, Mr. President, is your Emmy.”

Westworld satire  

In a pre-recorded clip mocking HBO’s breakout hit Westworld, a naked Colbert played a glitching “host” - a robots who appear human, in the the sci-fi western - at the Westworld diagnostic facility. The show’s Dr Bernard Lowe, played by Jeffrey Wright, asks Colbert: “Have you ever questioned the nature of your reality?” To which, Colbert responds:  “Every day since November 8 [the presidential election].” 

British talent

British talent was in the spotlight too, with The Night Of star Riz Ahmed claiming the award for best lead actor in a limited series. The actor -  the first Asian man and first Muslim to take home an Emmy - said that he hoped his dramatic performance highlighted issues of Islamophobia and injustice.

Other British winners included Charlie Brooker, who won an Emmy for outstanding writing in a limited series for his Netflix show Black Mirror. Meanwhile, British comedian John Oliver and his writing team claimed the award for outstanding variety talk series for Last Week Tonight.

A complete list of winners can be found here.

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