68th Primetime Emmy Awards Review- Veep and Game of Thrones Reign Again, as Acting Races Pull Off Surprises

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HBO’s Game of Thrones won Outstanding Drama Series.

HBO was dominant network yet again at this year’s Emmys, as Game of Thrones and Veep took the top prizes for a second successive year. On the night, Game of Thrones took home Outstanding Drama Series, as well as Outstanding Writing and Directing, both for “Battle of the Bastards”. And as well as Veep‘s win for Outstanding Comedy Series, it also won Outstanding Lead Actress for Julia Louis-Dreyfus for the fifth time in a row, despite the show losing in 4 other categories as the Comedy categories were spread among five different shows. The People v. O.J. Simpson was the biggest winner on the night, taking home five awards, including Outstanding Limited Series, and both Lead acting categories. Sherlock: The Abominable Bride was the only shocker from the four top categories, beating HBO’s All the Way to win Outstanding Television Movie.

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Rami Malek won Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for his role as Elliot Alderson on USA’s Mr. Robot.

The Drama categories didn’t exactly go as many thought they would this year. While the three wins for Game of Thrones were as expected, the acting races weren’t as straightforward, with 3 new winners being crowned, and no winners matched up to last year’s. Rami Malek won Lead Actor for the debut season for Mr. Robot, while Tatiana Maslany pulled off a big shock, beating the likes of Viola Davis, and Robin Wright, to take home her first Emmy for Lead Actress for Orphan Black. There was an expected, but boring win for Maggie Smith in Supporting Actress for the final season of Downton Abbey, while the biggest shock of the night was undoubtedly Ben Mendelsohn’s victory for Bloodline in Supporting Actor. Don’t get me wrong, Mendelsohn is AMAZING in season one of the show, but in season two he does next to nothing, for obvious reasons if you watch the show. I had him in sixth, and this win makes zero sense, but, if his win means anything, it’s that you should never discount anyone’s chances at the Emmys.

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Jeffrey Tambor won Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for his role as Maura Pfefferman on Amazon’s Transparent.

Over to Comedy now, and while Veep took home Outstanding Comedy Series, it didn’t exactly have an amazing night. While it won Lead Actress yet again for Julia Louis-Dreyfus, a deserved fifth consecutive victory, it only won from 2 of it’s 10 nominations over 5 categories, losing it’s title for Writing and Supporting Actor to new shows competing for the first time. Writing went to Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang for Netflix’s excellent Master of None and their episode “Parents”, while Tony Hale, possibly the victim of vote-splitting with Matt Walsh, lost his Supporting Actor crown to TV veteran Louie Anderson for his transformative role on FX’s Baskets, in which he portrays Zach Galifianakis’ character’s mother with aplomb, and puts some limelight on the under-the-radar show, as that was it’s only nomination. Jeffrey Tambor won again for Transparent in Lead Actor, which was completely deserved as it’s probably the best performance on TV right now, while Transparent also won for the second time in a row for Directing, once again for show-runner Jill Soloway, this time for the stunning episode “Man on the Land”. And in Supporting Actress came possibly the most shocking win on the comedy side: Kate McKinnon for Saturday Night Live, who became the first variety performer to win in the main comedy acting categories (discounting Guest).

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Sarah Paulson won her first Emmy for her role as Marcia Clark on FX’s The People v. O.J. Simpson in the Lead Actress for a Limited Series/Television Movie category.

In the Limited Series races, it went pretty much as expected in the sense that The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story was as big a juggernaut as we all expected, taking home five awards, including Outstanding Limited Series. The show also won Writing for the episode “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia”, and acting awards for Courtney B. Vance, Sterling K. Brown, and Sarah Paulson, finally winning on her 6th nomination. However, the show couldn’t complete a clean sweep, as it couldn’t overcome vote splitting in Directing to take it home, allowing Susanne Bier to end up taking it for The Night Manager. Regina King managed to upset heavy favourite Jean Smart to win Supporting Actress for the second year in a row for American Crime, while Sherlock: The Abominable Bride took home Outstanding Television Movie to cap off a great night for the BBC, and British shows in general.

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Comedy Central’s Key & Peele won Outstanding Variety Sketch Series.

The variety categories pulled off some real shockers. Key & Peele was the deserving winner of Variety Sketch Series (I also loved that they thanked the viewers of their show, as they were the only winners to do so), upsetting last year’s winner Inside Amy Schumer, while Amy Schumer lost again in the Writing for a Variety Special category, losing to Patton Oswalt’s Talking for Clapping stand-up special, resulting in one of the night’s best moment as it showed the outpouring of emotion that his peers have for him after the tough few months that he’s had in his personal life. Grease: Live took home Directing for a Variety Special, while HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver managed to win Outstanding Variety Talk Series for the first time.

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Jimmy Kimmel hosting the Emmys.

Overall, this was a great ceremony, full of great winners, great speeches, and some great talking points, and things to take away. Jimmy Kimmel did a fantastic hosting job, and I hope he gets to host this, or the Oscars, again soon. A fabulous way to end a really terrific television awards season. Now it’s onwards and upwards to the Oscars!

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