The 70th Primetime Emmy Awards were this Monday, awarding the crème de la crème of television for the past year.
“Saturday Night Live”’s Colin Jost and Michael Che hosted the affair. This contributed to the “SNL-ification” of the Emmys, according to the New York Times, as Jost and Che brought their dynamic from SNL’s Weekend Update to the Emmy stage. Even outside of the hosting situation, this year’s Emmys provided a host of awkward moments, from Hollywood trying, as it has been in recent years, to joke about its racial diversity problem. There were jokes about #EmmysSoWhite that didn’t quite land, and a short by Che on “Reparation Emmys” to acknowledge Black performers that had not received Emmys for their stellar work in the past that seemed “oddly forced” according to The Verge. At the end of the night, only three people of color were given awards, adding salt to the wound.
I was thrilled about deserved winners of awards I had been closely following. Amazon Prime’s “The Marvelous Mrs Maisel” dominated the awards ceremony. “Maisel” claimed five wins, including for comedy series, two for showrunner Amy Sherman-Palladino in the writing and directing categories, and honors for Rachel Brosnahan in the lead actor category and Alex Borstein in the supporting actor category. This delightful show was initially brought on to my radar by a friend who insisted that I would love it very early this year. She was right. “The Marvelous Mrs Maisel” follows a ‘50s Jewish housewife on the Upper East Side who delves into the world of stand-up comedy in downtown Manhattan after her husband leaves her. I was drawn in by the clever writing, and I fell in love with the costumes and set design. Rachel Brosnahan especially deserved the Best Actress in a Comedy accolade for her ability to captivate the viewer with her whip-smart line delivery and hilarious stand-up moments.
I was also ecstatic for FX’s “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: an American Crime Story”, a limited series on the person who shot and killed the titular Versace, and what drove him to go on the killing spree that led to that final murder.“The Assassination of Gianni Versace” claimed three honors, for Best Limited Series as well as Lead Actor for Darren Criss and Directing in a Limited Series for Ryan Murphy. I cannot think of a more deserved win than Darren Criss’s. He absolutely nailed the psychologically unhinged character study of Andrew Cunanan, providing viewers an intriguing performance of the obsessions and delusions that contributed to Cunanan’s murderous rampage.
“Game of Thrones” also took home wins, unsurprisingly. HBO’s “Game of Thrones” took home two wins, for Best Drama Series and for Peter Dinklage in the Supporting Actor category. While Peter Dinklage’s acting is always commendable, I have to disagree with the award for best drama series. The most recent season of “Thrones”, its Season 7, was, in my opinion, big on special/visual effects but lacking in strong writing and overall cohesion. Season 7’s plot was the lowest point of the whole series, and the creators delivered more fan service than good storytelling.
On the topic of people of color being recognized, Thandie Newton took home an Emmy for her supporting actress role in “Westworld”, of which her acting skills are certainly worthy. However, Donald Glover lost to Bill Hader of “Barry” for the award of Best Leading Actor in a Comedy Series. Yet, Donald Glover’s performance in the second season of “Atlanta” was refreshing, skillful and visionary. Additionally, “Atlanta” won no awards, despite it providing consistently thought-provoking television and being experimental without sacrificing quality. As CNN’s Rebecca Bodenheimer points out, “it deserved to win because of its incredible emotional range–episodes this season evoked the hilarity and absurdity of “Seinfeld” (“Barbershop”), the fear and darkness of grief (“The Woods”) and a bizarre, ultimately tragic commentary on black stardom (“Teddy Perkins”)–and because it’s one of the most innovative shows ever made.” For the show’s creators to go home empty-handed is truly disappointing.
Overall, the Emmys handed awards to definite deserving winners in its comedy and limited series sections, while also overlooking real recognition of voices of color.