2016 Emmys give many memorable moments


The primetime Emmy Awards were held on the evening of Sept. 18, and the three-hour-long show did not disappoint. Te biggest stars from the top television shows delivered resonating speeches, hilarious moments, and the awards, for the most part, went to the actors and shows that deserved them.

The host for the night was Jimmy Kimmel, which marks his second gig hosting after his first stint in 2012. I find that I usually have a lot of complaints about hosts of awards shows, but Kimmel did an outstanding job. He kept the long show moving and the majority of his jokes landed. Perhaps the best thing Kimmel contributed to the night was his excellent improvisation.

In his opening monologue, Kimmel made fun of Maggie Smith, who won Emmys in 2003, 2011 and 2012, but did not show up to receive them. Smith was once again nominated this year for her role on “Downton Abbey,” and Kimmel stated that if she won, the award would just go to the next person in line. Lo and behold, Smith won again and was not present. Upon hearing the announcement, Kimmel spontaneously ran on stage and grabbed the award, saying that Smith could pick up her Emmy at the lost and found. It’s hard to incorporate improv and a recurring bit into a live show, but Kimmel managed to make it look effortless.

There were many touching moments scattered throughout the show, which reminded viewers that stars really are just like us. Tree winners mentioned relatives who passed away in their speeches, most notably Julia Louis-Dreyfus, whose father passed away just two days before. Louis-Dreyfus won the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for her show “Veep,” and although she is a veteran of television and award shows, she was visibly shaking for the entirety of her speech. She tearfully dedicated the award to her father, ending her speech on a sad, yet stirring note.

Poignant acceptance speeches were matched with powerful calls for social change. Jeffrey Tambor, who was the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, actually hushed the orchestra starting to play him off so he could make a plea to Hollywood to take a chance on more transgender actors. Tambor plays a transgender character in the show “Transparent” and said that, “I would not be unhappy were I the last cisgender male to play a female transgender on television.” Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang won “Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series” for “Master of None.” Yang called for more Asian parents to buy their kids cameras, rather than violins in order to get more Asian representation in Hollywood. Perhaps the most quotable line from the night however, was from Jill Soloway, who won an Emmy for directing an episode of “Transparent,” who yelled “Topple the Patriarchy!” at the end of her speech.

Despite what Yang said about representation in Hollywood, the Emmys provided an amazing example of diversity in Hollywood. Equal representation of African Americans and other minorities in Hollywood has been a major issue lately. The hashtag #OscarsSoWhite started earlier this year after no black actors were nominated for any of the four major acting awards, despite stellar performances throughout the year. The Emmys, however, did not have this problem. Not only were people from different races nominated, many ended up being winners.

Speaking of winners, “Game of Thrones” made history by scoring three more Emmys, bringing its total to 38– the most for any fictional TV show. After a spectacular seventh season, the HBO show took home arguably the biggest award of the night, Outstanding Drama Series, making it two years in a row that that “Game of Thrones” has dominated in that category.

The other big winner of the night was FX’s true crime series “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story.” The show caught critics’ attention when it debuted in February and kept audiences riveted episode to episode, even though most viewers are already familiar with the O.J. Simpson trial. Te show garnered five awards—three for acting, one for writing and Outstanding Limited Series. Sarah Paulson won Outstanding Lead Actress in a Mini-Series or Movie for her portrayal of prosecutor Marcia Clark. She surprised everyone by bringing the actual Marcia Clark as her guest to the show. She later got Clark’s name engraved on the Emmy award rather than her own, a true sign of respect and thankfulness for an amazing role.

While writing this article, I racked my brain for something to complain about, but the Emmys this year were perfect to me. Even the usually boring parts were entertaining, like when Saturday Night Live star and Twitter celeb Leslie Jones joined the accountants on stage. That’s usually a moment where I make a snack break, but it turned into a fun little bit. The 2016 Emmys provided many memorable moments, and I can only hope that the Golden Globes and Oscars follow suit in celebrating diversity and having a little fun.

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