ABC/Image Group LA(LOS ANGELES) — Perhaps the most surprising thing about Sunday night’s 68th Emmy Awards wasn’t the winners, but the fact that the show ended two minutes early. Starting at 8 p.m. ET, it wrapped up at 10:58 p.m. ET, less than three hours later. Thanks, host Jimmy Kimmel!
The big winners were The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, which grabbed five awards Sunday night, and Game of Thrones, which picked up three. Counting last week’s Creative Arts Emmys, though, Game of Thrones won 12 this year, while O.J. scored nine. Game of Thrones now holds the record for the most wins of any primetime show in history, with 38 total.
Veep was named Outstanding Comedy Series for the second straight year, and Game of Thrones also repeated for Outstanding Drama Series.
–Mr. Robot star Rami Malek and Orphan Black star Tatiana Maslany won their first Emmys ever for Outstanding Lead Actor and Actress in a Drama, respectively. Quoting his character, Elliot Alderson — a paranoid, delusional and “profoundly alienated” computer hacker — Malek’s first words were, “Please tell me you’re seeing this too!” He ended his speech by saying that with his win, “I want to honor the Elliots, ’cause there’s a little bit of Elliot in all of us.”
Maslany, who plays multiple female clones on Orphan Black, said, “I feel so lucky to be on a show that puts women at the center.”
–Another first-time winner was Sterling K. Brown, who played Christopher Darden in The People v. O.J. Simpson. He gave a touching speech, thanking the Academy for checking the box next to his name even though they might not have known who he was. He also mentioned his late father, and praised his wife by quoting Jay Z. “Contrary to popular belief, I got the hottest chick in the game rocking my chain,” he shouted. “Ryan Michelle Bathe, you make this whole thing go. I love you!”
Brown’s comments set off a mini-trend among winners: Courtney B. Vance, who won for playing Johnnie Cochran in the same show, ended his thank-you speech by dedicating his win to his wife Angela Bassett, “the woman that rocks my chain!” Brit Stephen Moffat, who won for writing the movie Sherlock: The Abominable Bride, thanked his wife by saying, “Not only does she rock whatever that was, but she actually produces the show.” John Oliver, another Brit, also attempted to quote Brown, saying, “And I need to thank my wife, the hottest chain…uh…I don’t know either.”
By the way, the original Jay Z line, from the 2003 song “Public Service Announcement,” is, “Got the hottest chick in the game wearin’ my chain, that’s right.” He was referring to Beyonce, who, by the way, lost the Emmy Sunday night for Best Director of a Variety Special — she was nominated for Lemonade — to the guys who directed Grease: Live.
–Sarah Paulson was another first-time winner for her role as Marcia Clark in The People v. O.J. Simpson. She brought the real Marcia Clark with her, and then apologized to her from the podium, saying that she’d been “superficial and careless” to judge Clark on the “two-dimensional” portrayals of her during the real O.J. trial. “I’m sorry,” she said. She also professed her love for her girlfriend, actress Holland Taylor.
–After numerous nominations, Saturday Night Live star Kate McKinnon picked up her first Emmy for Supporting Actress, Comedy. A tearful McKinnon could barely speak, saying, “This is really crazy!” She specifically thanked Ellen DeGeneres and Hilary Clinton — two celebrities she often portrays on the show. Clinton later tweeted congratulations to McKinnon, pronouncing herself a “big fan.”
–Comedian Louie Anderson won his first Emmy for his role as Zach Galifianakis’ mother in the FX show Baskets. “I haven’t always been a very good man, but I play one hell of a woman,” he joked.
–Julia Louis-Dreyfus repeated for her role in Veep — her fifth win — and paid tearful tribute to her father, who passed away on Friday. “I’m so glad that he liked Veep, because his opinion was the one that really mattered,” she said, choking up. Louis-Dreyfus also commented on this year’s election, saying, “I’d like to apologize for the current political climate. I think that Veep has torn down the wall between comedy and politics. Our show started out as a political satire but it now feels more like a sobering documentary.” She promised to “rebuild that wall…and make Mexico pay for it!”
–Regina King repeated for her role on American Crime, as did Jeffrey Tambor for his role as a transgender woman in Transparent. “Please give transgender talent a chance,” he told the industry decision-makers. “I wouldn’t be unhappy if I was the last cisgender male to play a woman on TV.”
There were two heartfelt tributes to celebrities we lost this year: Tambor saluted his former Larry Sanders Show co-star, Garry Shandling, who passed away in March, while Henry Winkler remembered actor, producer, director and writer Garry Marshall, creator of Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley and Mork & Mindy. Marshall died in July.
The “In Memoriam” segment included everyone else who passed this year, from Prince to David Bowie to Gene Wilder. Pop star Tori Kelly sang Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” during the montage.
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