The Emmys returned tonight (September 19) with an in-person event for the first time since 2019, ready to celebrate the last year of television. Along the way, there were satisfying surprises and moments of joy seeing the best talent rewarded but, as with any awards ceremony, also some snubs that could have been avoided.
Hannah Waddingham and the cast of Ted Lasso
There’s something about Brits at Hollywood awards bashes that brings out the most gloriously unfiltered and giddy side of us. Like Olivia Colman and Emerald Fennell before her, Ted Lasso’s Hannah Waddingham immediately stole hearts when she collected her award for Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. “Oh my god, I’m giving a speech at the Emmys!” she cried at one point, sinking towards the floor, after first screaming into the microphone.
For every win that Ted Lasso picked up, the joyously grateful mood continued, the cast seeming genuinely excited for their colleagues and soaking up every moment at the ceremony.
The brilliant Michaela Coel
Although I May Destroy You deserved more than its one award, that the solitary trophy it picked up was for Coel’s writing felt appropriate. The show’s creator gave it its beating heart with her sensitive and compelling script, and proved in her concise but impactful speech just why she’s an award-winning TV writer.
The acclaimed WandaVision
Despite being up for eight trophies tonight, Marvel’s celebrated series WandaVision collected precisely zero awards. Not even the viral line about grief from its ‘Previously On’ episode could secure it a shiny Emmy for Writing in a Limited Series, although that category was always going to be tough – it was, after all, up against The Queen’s Gambit and eventual winner I May Destroy You. Marvel will just have to make do with the show’s one Creative Arts Emmy from earlier in the month for now.
TV’s diverse talent
The Emmys 2021’s nominees was a diverse cast – host Cedric The Entertainer even highlighted how many Black stars were up for awards during the ceremony, while beforehand The Hollywood Reporter analysed that 44 per cent of nominees were people of colour. Yet the majority of winners at this year’s event were white. This isn’t to take away from any of those stars who took home an award, but it’s not enough to merely nominate non-white talent if we aren’t going to go the whole way and honour them with trophies too.
There were plenty of actors of colour who deserved to pick up the gongs tonight – including Pose’s Billy Porter and MJ Rodriguez, The Handmaid’s Tale’s Samira Wiley and, of course, the late Michael K. Williams – and The Crown could definitely have stood to have gotten a few less awards.
The late, great Michael K. Williams
It’s easy to say an actor should have won an award when they’re no longer with us, the tragedy of their death overshadowing whether they actually were the best in their category or not. But with Michael K. Williams, who sadly died earlier this month at the age of 54, there was no doubting that he deserved to be honoured tonight. Unfortunately, he didn’t get a posthumous trophy, but presenter Kerry Washington took a moment to pay tribute to the brilliant actor, poignantly noting that his “excellence [and] artistry will endure”.
Mare Of Easttown
The Crown and Ted Lasso might have led the winners at the 2021 Emmys, but not far behind was one of the other big hits of this year’s TV viewing, Mare Of Easttown. As Kate Winslet noted in her acceptance speech for Actress in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie, the show became something of a “cultural moment” this year, reflected in its three wins – its leading lady’s, plus victories for Evan Peters and Julianne Nicholson.
Perhaps, though, the biggest win of all for the cast and crew was working with Winslet herself. In Nicholson’s speech, she paid tribute to the star for how she led the project, while Peters’ bellowed thanks at her “for being Kate Winslet”. It seems like the Emmys were just a bonus.