The 68th Primetime Emmy Awards was surprisingly poignant Sunday night, as the winners were open and emotional during their speeches. Meanwhile, host Jimmy Kimmel kept up the energy for the evening, humoring the audience of Hollywood insiders as well as entertaining viewers at home.
The opening sketch followed the comedian as he attempted to get a ride to the Emmy’s from various people, including late night’s James Corden and the cast of ABC’s “Modern Family”. Kimmel finally got a ride from former presidential candidate Jeb Bush, who claimed to be working as an Uber driver. Bush also marked the beginning of the evening’s political humor, which took shots at the election and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
During the ceremony, Kimmel called out television producer Mark Burnett for making Trump a reality television star with “The Apprentice.”
“Thanks to Mark Burnett we don’t have to watch reality shows anymore,” Kimmel said. “We’re living in one.”
When Burnett won as producer for “The Voice”, Kimmel joked that the show’s judges Miley Cyrus and Alicia Keys would be the country’s “next Supreme Court justices.”
As the evening went on, Kimmel supplied the audience with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, which were passed out by the child actors of Netflix’s “Stranger Things” on bikes.
Kimmel also took over the stage when Dame Maggie Smith won best supporting actress in a drama for her role on “Downton Abbey.” Kimmel had joked early in the evening about Smith having never attending the award show despite winning multiple times. He took the award statue and announced that they would not be mailing it to her and it would be in the lost and found if she wanted it.
The Emmy’s band got in some hot water when cutting some speeches short, including playing in the middle of “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” producer Nina Jacobson’s speech. “People v. O.J. Simpson” swept the awards for limited series, winning nine of its 22 nominations including outstanding limited series, outstanding writing, lead actor for Courtney B. Vance and lead actress for Sarah Paulson.
Jeffrey Tambor won for lead actor in a comedy for his role on “Transparent”. Tambor discussed the controversial nature of his role as a transgender woman, saying he would like to see more roles for transgender actors.
“I just hope there are more opportunities for transgender talent,” Tambor said. “I would very much like to be the last cisgender male playing a transgender female. I think we are there now.”
Kate McKinnon won best supporting actress in a comedy for her work on “Saturday Night Live.” She is the second female SNL cast member to win an Emmy for her work on the show after Gilda Radner in 1978.
Tatiana Maslany won a long-earned Emmy for lead actress in a drama for her role on BBC America’s “Orphan Black”. Maslany plays multiple roles on the show, having played up to 11 characters over four seasons.
Patton Oswalt gave a touching speech after winning the Emmy for outstanding writing for a comedy special for his special “Patton Oswalt: Talking for Clapping.” He thanked his wife Michelle McNamara, who died suddenly last April.
“I want to share this with two people,” Oswalt said as he accepted the award. “One of them is my daughter, Alice, waiting at home. The other one is waiting somewhere else — I hope.”
Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus also gave an emotional speech, talking about her recently deceased father. Louis-Dreyfus made history after she became the first person to win an Emmy five consecutive times for her role as Selina Meyer on HBO’s “Veep.” The show also went on to win outstanding comedy.
HBO also won outstanding drama for “Game of Thrones.” The show also won outstanding writing and outstanding directing for a drama for the episode “The Battle of the Bastards.” “Game of Thrones” has now won more Emmy Awards than any other fictional show with 38 total awards.
While most of the wins were predictable, the night was dynamic, with a lively host, fun sketches and vibrant speeches that reminded viewers of the hard work that goes in to creating a television show. Overall, it was celebration of the shows we love.