TV’s biggest night has come and gone but these highlights — and one glaring lowlight — will be committed to small-screen memory forever.
Sure, HBO’s drama “Succession” and Apple TV+’s “Ted Lasso” were the evening’s big winners, but the ceremony is what had most people talking Monday night. Here are the five big moments from the 74th Primetime Emmy Awards, which took place Monday at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles and were hosted by “Saturday Night Live” star Kenan Thompson:
Sheryl Lee Ralph of “Abbott Elementary” scored the supporting actress in a comedy prize and blew away the room by singing Diane Reeves’ “Endangered Species,” which appeared on her 1994 album “Art & Survival,” before she uplifted the ceremony with a powerful speech dedicated to dreamers.
Backstage, Ralph told reporters why she’s been singing that song for years: “I think of myself as an artist, as a woman, and especially as a woman of color, I’m an endangered species,” she said. “And I don’t sing any victim song. I’m a woman. I’m an artist, and I know where my voice belongs.
“There are so many young actors, artists, even kids that think they know what they’re going to do in life,” she added. “Find your voice and put it where it belongs.”
Late-night host Jimmy Kimmel fully committed to a sore loser/passed-out drunk bit Monday night that required “Murderville” star Will Arnett to drag him onstage by the legs to present the award for comedy writing. When “Abbott Elementary” star and creator Quinta Brunson took the stage to accept her award, Kimmel didn’t budge, sparking debate about white privilege detracting from history being made by a Black woman.
The 32-year-old Brunson addressed the controversy backstage and said she might get back at the comedian when she appears on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” on Wednesday.
“So I think in that moment, I was just really happy that it was Jimmy up there! I’m a huge fan of Will Arnett, so I was wrapped up in the moment,” Brunson told reporters backstage.
“I’m going to be on [Kimmel’s] show on Wednesday, so I might punch him in the face,” she quipped. “I don’t know. We’ll see what happens.”
After earning 14 Emmy nominations in July, trophies from the Screen Actors Guild Awards and Critics Choice Awards earlier this year, Netflix’s brutal blockbuster “Squid Game” capped off its run Monday by becoming the first Korean series, and the first TV series not in English, to win a major Primetime Emmy Award.
The drama earned series creator Hwang Dong-hyuk an Emmy for drama series directing, “Squid Game’s” first prize of the night, making him the first Asian and first native Korean to take home the award. “Squid Game” star Lee Jung-jae also made history, winning for his lead performance as Seong Gi-hun. Like the series creator, he is the first Asian and first native Korean to take home the prize.
Jennifer Coolidge danced away with the Emmy for supporting actress in a limited series or TV movie Monday for HBO’s ‘The White Lotus.’
“The White Lotus” star Jennifer Coolidge didn’t pay any mind to the music playing her — and many of the night’s winners — offstage to keep the three-hour telecast on schedule. Instead, after taking the stage to accept the supporting actress in a limited series or TV movie, Coolidge said it was a “once-in-a-lifetime thing” and as the music prompted her to wrap up, the ever-flustered star started dancing along rather than wrapping up her speech or walking offstage.
“Hold on,” said Coolidge. “Wait, hold on.”
Grammy Award winner Lizzo brought music, glamour, voluminous red tulle and emotion to TV’s biggest night and, honestly, it’s about damn time. The multi-hyphenate injected her signature energy into the sagging awards show when she accepted the Emmy for competition program for “Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls,” the Amazon series that chronicled her search for backup dancers.
“They’re not that unique, they just don’t get the platform, telling stories. Let’s just tell more stories,” she said of the cast. “When I was a little girl, all I wanted to see was me in the media — someone fat like me, Black like me, beautiful like me. If I could go back and tell little Lizzo something, I’d be like, ‘You’re going to see that person, but b—, it’s going to have to be you.’”
She waved at her boisterous dancers up in the mezzanine seats to come down and join her onstage and added, “This is for the big grrrls!”