The Emmys Give Back to Black

By: Martha Ugwu

Once again, the stars of the small screen convened in the Microsoft Theater in Downtown Los Angeles for the 67th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards. This year’s ceremony was broadcast on September 20, 2015 on Fox, with Brooklyn Nine Nine’s own Andy Samberg as the host. The show played out quite smoothly, avoiding any major risks and instead sticking to good-spirited quips laced throughout the program, directed at shows and nominees alike.

The big winners of the night included HBO’s Game of Thrones, Olive Kitteridge, and Veep sweeping most of the top awards, along with The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Inside Amy Schumer, and The Voice rounding out the bunch. The acting awards were full of surprises, with Jon Hamm picking up his first Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for his role as Don Draper in Mad Men. Other winners in the Lead Performances category included Jeffrey Tambor (Transparent), Julia Louis Dreyfus (Veep), Richard Jenkins (Olive Kitteridge), and Frances McDormand (Olive Kitteridge).

Actress Viola Davis poses in the press room at the 67th annual Primetime Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 20, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. Credit: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

Another shocking win went to Viola Davis, who won the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her stunning performance as Annalise Keating in ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder. Davis’s win is one for the history books, since she is the first African American woman to win in this category. Upon accepting her award, Davis delivered a powerful speech that spoke volumes about the struggle of women of color in the television industry. Davis pointed out that “the only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity. You cannot win an Emmy for roles that simply aren’t there.”

Two wins definitely stood out in from the Supporting Performances category that night. The first is Uzo Aduba’s win for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series her character, Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren, on Orange is the New Black. The second one would be Regina King’s win for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie for her work on American Crime. The rest of the winners are listed below, as well as the winners in the Directing and Writing categories:

  • Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series: Tony Hale (Veep)
  • Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series: Allison Janney (Mom)
  • Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series: Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones)
  • Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie: Bill Murray (Olive Kitteridge)

Directing:

  • Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series: Transparent, Jill Soloway
  • Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series : Game of Thrones, David Nutter
  • Outstanding Directing for a Variety Series: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Chuck O’Neil
  • Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special: Olive Kitteridge, Lisa Cholodenko

Writing:

  • Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series: Veep  
  • Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series: Game of Thrones
  • Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
  • Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special: Olive Kitteridge

 

My Overall Rating: B+
Why: The Emmys was genuinely entertaining. There were few if any cringeworthy moments during the show, which was a major relief. The opening of the show and the skits were enjoyable and actually had me laughing a bit – that part when Tatiana Maslany and Tony Hale fought over a can of beans on the red carpet? Priceless. My favorite moment of the show was hands down Viola Davis winning her Emmy because as a black girl with big dreams, seeing that kind of empowerment on the TV screen was emotionally stirring and I couldn’t be more proud of the triumphs that black women have been making in television lately. I also couldn’t wrap my head around the thought that not one, but three women of color won Emmys that night. Uzo Aduba and Regina King both looked radiant as they accepted their awards and seeing their surprised reactions was really heartwarming. Also, this wouldn’t be a complete review if I forgot to mention the showstopping return of Tracy Morgan to the Emmy Awards stage to present the final award of the night after recovering from his devastating automobile accident. My jaw immediately dropped at the sight of him and I thought it was a truly memorable ending to a star-studded night.

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