The hostless 2019 Emmy Awards was a failed experiment that shouldn’t be repeated. Nor should whoever is producing the 2020 Emmy Awards repeat the annoying voice-overs. The only thing that saved this year’s Emmys from being an unwatchable disaster were the terrific (and moving) acceptance speeches of the winners.
HBO’s Game of Thrones received the Outstanding Drama Emmy for the show’s final season, with sentimentality propelling it to a win over better shows including Better Call Saul, Killing Eve, Ozark, Pose, Succession, and This Is Us. On the comedy side, it was a Fleabag sort of night. Fleabag was named Outstanding Comedy and its creator picked up Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series Emmy. Harry Bradbeer took home the Outstanding Directing on a Comedy Series Emmy for his work on the critically acclaimed show.
Among a night of memorable speeches, the thank yous delivered by Michelle Williams (Fosse/Verdon), Alex Borstein (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel), Billy Porter (Pose), and Patricia Arquette (The Act) stood out.
Alex Borstein thanked the women involved in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel as well as her mother and grandmother. “They are immigrants — they are Holocaust survivors,” said Borstein. “My grandmother was in line to be shot into a pit. She said, ‘What happens if I step out of line?’ He said, ‘I don’t have the heart to shoot you, but somebody will,’ and she stepped out of line. For that, I am here and my children are here. So, step out of line, ladies. Step out of line!”
Patricia Arquette took the opportunity to speak about her sister, Alexis. “In my heart I’m so sad I lost my sister Alexis and that trans people are still being persecuted. I’m in mourning every day of my life, Alexis, and I will be the rest of my life for you until we change the world so that trans people are not persecuted.
And give them jobs. They are human beings. Let’s give them jobs. Let’s get rid of this bias that we have everywhere,” said Arquette.
Billy Porter, the first openly gay black man to win an Emmy as the lead actor in a drama, began his speech by saying he was overwhelmed and overjoyed. “It took many years of vomiting up all the filth that I had been taught about myself and halfway believed before I could walk around this earth like I had the right to be here,” said Porter, quoting James Baldwin. He added, “I have the right. You have the right. We all have the right.”
Michelle Williams used her time on the Emmy stage to campaign for equal pay for equal work.
“Thank you so much to the television academy for this and to the incredible cast and crew who have worked so hard to make this TV show, especially you Sam Rockwell. I know how hard you worked.
I see this as an acknowledgment of what is possible when a woman is trusted to discern her own needs, feel safe enough to voice them, and respected enough that they’ll be heard. When I asked for my dance classes, I heard ‘yes.’ When I asked for more voice lessons, I heard ‘yes.’ A different wig, a pair of fake teeth not made out of rubber, ‘yes.’
And all these things, they require effort and they cost more money, but my bosses never presumed to know better than I did about what I needed in order to do my job and to honor Gwen Verdon.
And so I want to say thank you so much to FX and to Fox 21 Studios for supporting me completely and for paying me equally because they understood that when you put value into a person, it empowers that person to get in touch with their own inherent value and then where do they put that value? They put it into their work.
And so the next time a woman, and especially a woman of color – because she stands to make 52 cents on the dollar compared to her white male counterpart – tells you what she needs in order to do her job, listen to her. Believe her. Because one day she might stand in front of you and say thank you for allowing her to succeed because of her workplace environment and not in spite of it.”
The 71st Primetime Emmy Awards aired on September 22, 2019 on Fox.
71st Primetime Emmy Awards Winners:
- OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES
Game Of Thrones
OUTSTANDING COMEDY SERIES
OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
Jodie Comer as Villanelle in Killing Eve
OUTSTANDING DIRECTING FOR A DRAMA SERIES
Ozark • Reparations, directed by Jason Bateman
OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Billy Porter as Pray Tell in Pose
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
Julia Garner as Ruth Langmore in Ozark
OUTSTANDING WRITING FOR A DRAMA SERIES
Succession • Nobody Is Ever Missing, written by Jesse Armstrong
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister in Game Of Thrones
OUTSTANDING VARIETY TALK SERIES
Last Week Tonight With John Oliver
OUTSTANDING DIRECTING FOR A VARIETY SERIES
Saturday Night Live • Host: Adam Sandler, directed by Don Roy King
OUTSTANDING VARIETY SKETCH SERIES
Saturday Night Live
OUTSTANDING WRITING FOR A VARIETY SERIES
Last Week Tonight With John Oliver
OUTSTANDING LIMITED SERIES
OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
Michelle Williams as Gwen Verdon in Fosse/Verdon
OUTSTANDING TELEVISION MOVIE
Bandersnatch (Black Mirror)
OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
Jharrel Jerome as Korey Wise in When They See Us
OUTSTANDING WRITING FOR A LIMITED SERIES, MOVIE OR DRAMATIC SPECIAL
Chernobyl, written by Craig Mazin
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES, MOVIE OR DRAMATIC SPECIAL
Ben Whishaw as Norman in A Very English Scandal
OUTSTANDING DIRECTING FOR A LIMITED SERIES, MOVIE OR DRAMATIC SPECIAL
Chernobyl, directed by Johan Renck
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES
Patricia Arquette as Dee Dee Blanchard in The Act
OUTSTANDING COMPETITION PROGRAM
RuPaul’s Drag Race
OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
Phoebe Waller-Bridge as Fleabag in Fleabag
OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Bill Hader as Barry in Barry
OUTSTANDING DIRECTING FOR A COMEDY SERIES
Fleabag • Episode 1, directed by Harry Bradbeer
OUTSTANDING WRITING FOR A COMEDY SERIES
Fleabag • Episode 1, written by Phoebe Waller-Bridge
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
Alex Borstein as Susie Myerson in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Tony Shalhoub as Abe Weissman in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel