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Primetime Emmys recap: Lots of surprise moments even as 'Thrones' and 'O.J.' predictably win big



Breath-taking wins, a Matt Damon sighting and Maggie Smith trolling. Just a few things to note about the most entertaining Emmy Award show in years.

Hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, the ceremony honored the best of television. But, perhaps the real winner was Little Caesars Pizza. By the end of show, if you weren't craving those Crazy Bread Bites, can you call yourself an American? Jalapenos amid fireworks, cheese glistening in perfect lighting. That commercial was a thing of cinematic beauty.

Okay, back to the actual award show. THE AWARD SHOW OF MY DREAMS.

No, I didn't hack the Emmys, but I did pretty well predicting some of the wins.

This is my Super Bowl, amirite fellow TV fanatics? After hours of training, my boob-tube binges have come down to this moment. Will the right shows be awarded, thus validating all my opinions and hard work?

"Please tell me you're seeing this, too," Rami Malek said as he walked on stage to accept is award for outstanding lead actor in a drama series for USA's Mr. Robot. Yes, we're seeing this. But I may have just scared my cat with a loud scream when I heard your name.

So let's recap the 68th Primetime Emmys show, awarding some more screams, boos and sobs.

WINNERS: For a full list of winners, click here.


I knew the night would be filled with some delightful surprises when Louie Anderson accepted the award for outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series. Baskets on FX is not for everyone. This comedy about a sad clown, played by Zach Galifianakis, is pretty devastating and its humor is dry and subtle. But Anderson's nuanced performance as Christine Baskets, a role he says is based on his own mother, stands out.


I was excited to see Regina King get her second win for American Crime. While anyone could have taken home the statue for best supporting actress in a limited series, I'll gladly use this as another promotion for this compelling anthology series from ABC.

But it was another American Crime that had the best night ever. The People V. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story took home five Emmys. My favorite O.J. acceptance speech goes to Sterling K. Brown, who you can soon see on NBC's This Is Us. We're smitten.

I really didn't care who won outstanding supporting actress in a drama, but it was hilarious for Kimmel's opening monologue joke to come full circle later on stage.


While the major comedy wins went to repeat winners, Jeffrey Tambor and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, the drama category shook things up and awarded newbies. Rami Malek and Tatiana Maslany took to the Emmy stage both flustered and astounded. Amid all my competing emotions (tears, laughter, screams), I am so excited that the Emmys can now call themselves hip. Both underdog shows, Orphan Black and Mr. Robot rode the wave to wins with lots of social media and critical buzz. It's a millennial world, you guys.

Speaking of, it was a wonderful night for diversity, most notably when Master of None writers Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang took the stage. Yang reminded us that there are other people of color and cultures to consider when talking about diversity on television.

Other delights: Leslie Jones asking men in suits to guard her Twitter account. The Stranger Things kids on bikes handing out snacks. Ansari's shout out to his dad's Emmy snub. And all that Kimmel mockery.


My real gripe all night is Transparent. Tambor won for the second time for his role as Maura Pfefferman, a trans woman. Yes, the show is groundbreaking, and it deserves notoriety. However, Transparent is not a comedy. Tambor is beyond brilliant, but it's unfair to place him, his costars, and the show in comedic categories. Kimmel mocked it by saying, "Transparent was born a drama but identifies as a comedy." Sigh. 

No wins for Fargo. It's crazy to live in a world where a series as perfect as this one went home with nothing.

But speaking of snubs, Silicon Valley was the most-nominated comedy (11 nods) and it didn't go home with anything, either. Another surprise loser is House of Cards. With 13 nominations, the Netflix drama couldn't even sneak a Creative Emmy last weekend.

I'm going to say something extremely controversial here. But after heart-stopping wins from Malek and Maslany, another best drama win from Game of Thrones severely bummed me out. What a complete let down. It tied its own record from last year with 12 more wins, but I thought we were being all cool and hip this year, Emmys?! My dreams were crushed in that moment. It was a sobering reminder that we can't have it all.

And c'mon Kiefer Sutherland. Maslany is the best and hardest working woman on television. Learn how to say Tatiana. 


Our first tear of the night came from Louis-Dreyfus, who reminded us all to call our dads.


Sarah Paulson finally got her win and she used her speech time to apologize to the real-life character she played, Marcia Clark, in The People V. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story. She went on to thank Ryan Murphy, the show's creator, and said "I love you" to her girlfriend, Holland Taylor. They have a great relationship, especially on Twitter.

via GIPHY (Marcia and Marcia, toppling the patriarchy. Oh, hey Rami.)

Patton Oswalt's wife died unexpectedly earlier this year, so his surprise win (best writing in a variety special) was a mix of excitement and grief. He didn't expect the win so his unfettered speech was all that more emotional.

The In Memoriam segment is always met with a few tears, but it was smart for the Emmys to give individual tributes to Garry Marshall and Garry Shandling. However, many people in the montage weren't just notable TV people, but I'm not going to complain about ending with Prince.

Every award show is filled with surprising and predictable winners, but perhaps the Emmys are finally going in the right direction. Just maybe we can live in a world where The Americans wins an Emmy. Anything can happen.


[Last modified: Monday, September 19, 2016 8:45am]


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